Food is part of the Google myth: All you can eat, three meals a day, with plenty of room for your friends and family. No more. Following the curtailment of dinner service, Google is now restricting employees to two guest meals a month. Contractors and temps will not be allowed any guests at all. Google HR chief Laszlo Bock announced this change in a memo obtained by Valleywag. Some Googlers, we've heard, treated their families to free dinner every night; others took large amounts of food home with them on Friday nights, to last the weekend. The move is consistent with Google management's war on abuse of the company's perks; cofounder Sergey Brin, especially, has complained about Googlers' sense of entitlement. Yet it's likely to spark grousing. Googlers outside engineering are often poorly paid, and sneaking food home amounts to part of their salary. Google seems caught in a vicious circle of worsening morale: Discontent sparks abuse of perks; crackdowns on perk abuse sparks discontent. Read the memo to see Google's latest schoolmarmish turn:

Hello everyone, There has been a lot of concern and debate on campus about abuse of the guest privilege in the cafes. We wanted to take the opportunity to review our guest policies and ask for your help in enforcing them. 1 - Every Google employee and intern in Mountain View is allowed two meals per month in our cafes for personal guests. We understand that there may be an occasional month when you have special visitors in town and you exceed two personal guests (4 family members visiting from Omaha?) but we trust you not to exceed more than an average of 2 personal guests per month. 2 - After reviewing the number of guests on campus each day, we have decided to limit the privilege of bringing personal guests on campus to part- and full-time employees and interns only. We know that this will be disappointing to our temps, vendors and contractors, but we feel that it is a necessary step to alleviate the over-crowding and congestion on campus. 3 - Everyone is responsible for signing in guests (business or personal) at lobby reception and all guests are required to wear visitor badges visibly while on campus. This holds true for lunch and dinner. Much of the abuse of the guest meal privilege in Mountain View is occurring at dinner time. To help us maintain security, please refrain from bringing guests on campus on weekends and late evenings. 4 - Prepared meals in containers are provided at dinner time for people who are working late on campus. We know that there has been a lack of clarity about this, but the intention of this meal service is not for people to grab meals "to go" on their way out the door, or to "stock up" on multiple meals. 5 - Anyone bringing a group of business guests to a cafe for lunch should bring them after 1 pm to avoid our peak lunch hour. To help us to monitor and enforce these guest policies, we will be adding a simple step to the process of signing in guests on campus beginning later this year. When visitors sign in at reception, they will be asked to identify themselves as a personal or business guest, and to indicate whether they are having a meal in one of our cafes. If they are, the word "MEAL" will appear on their visitor badge. Our on-site meals are intended to foster community building among employees. We want there to be enough room in our cafes for employees and teams to enjoy meals together. Abuse of the guest privilege creates over-crowding and congestion, at great expense to the company. This is an incredible perk that we benefit from each day. Please do your part to use this privilege appropriately and honestly. Many thanks, Laszlo

(Photo by blmurch)