Re: Common Meals payment/reservation options?
From: PatZy (
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2021 09:17:41 -0700 (PDT)
We have 19 units/29 people and do our meals billing quarterly.  People sign up 
on paper in the common house, creating more traffic and chance encounters 
there.  Menus are announced online with signups solicited by a specific date as 
determined by the lead cook.  Lately 16-ish show up for meals on average, which 
are M (6:30, meat) and Th (6, fish or vegetarian).  We varied the times because 
some working folk cant make it till the later time, and some early eaters can’t 
wait till the later time -this way everyone can participate at least once a 
week.  We have about 18 meals per meal team signup rotation - it’s about as 
many dates as we can fill with participants signing up for 3 days as lead cook, 
prep cook, or setup/cleanup.  We would never in a million years get away with 
everyone having to be lead cook (nor would we want to!).  At the end of each 
quarter we tally up the number of meals, determine the average cost, and round 
up to the nearest quarter.  Everyone is alerted as to how much they owe and 
once enough have paid, lead cooks get reimbursed (this system an entirely 
separate bank account from HOA dues/expenses).  One person enters all this into 
a spreadsheet, no special program. We have an agreement that meals wont cost 
more than $7 but I don’t think we have ever charged that much, with possible 
exception being post-covid to refill the coffers that had been used during 
lockdown.  We started with a fixed per-person cost for lead cooks but quickly 
found that it was stressful for them to try to stay within that, and that we 
really didnt have to stay within it every time because some meals will cost 
$3/meal and others might be $7, but it all evens up in the end.  This system is 
easy, with a minimum of accounting and money-changing-hands events.  

Patzy Boomer
Mountain View Cohousing Community
>> On Mon, Sep 27, 2021 at 5:17 AM Valerie Paul <valerie.paul [at]> 
>> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> At Bay State Commons (move-in Q1 2022!!), we are working on our meal
>> planning and are interested in hearing about what other communities are
>> doing these days for meal accounting and pricing.
>> I've reviewed past threads and have a good sense of the systems various
>> communities have used in the past but there's nothing very recent and
>> technology is changing so fast it seemed reasonable to put the questions
>> out there again.
>> How do people sign up for meals?
>> How do you collect payment?
>> How much do you charge for meals (if you do)?
>> Does the meals team have a separate bank account?
>> We are also looking at co-ho specific software options and are interested
>> in peoples' feedback. (Maybe off list?)
>> Thanks in advance!
>> Valerie

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