Generally you can deduct 50% the cost of your unreimbursed business-related meals and entertainment while traveling away from home, however, the limit does not apply to expenses reimbursed under a U.S. Government expense allowance arrangement. You can deduct a higher percentage of your unreimbursed business-related meal expenses if the meals take place during any period subject to the Department of Transportation's hours of service limits. The percentage you can claim is 70% for certain railroad employees (such as engineers, conductors, train crews, dispatchers, and control operations personnel) who are under Federal Railroad Administration regulations. You can either use actual cost or standard meal allowance. If you use the actual cost, figured at 70%, you can include tips at 15%. Anything you tip over 15% is can not be claimed. The meal can not be extravagant. The standard meal allowance tables can be found at. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p1542/ar02.html#d0e362
If you use the actual cost method you must keep a written record of the actual amounts spent on meals, the dates, time, and places of travel. If you use the standard meal allowance, you must also keep a record of the date and times of travel.
You can also deduct incidentals, such as cab fare to get to a restaurant to eat your meals.
I hope this answers your questions for you. Let me know if you need further assistance.
The maximum daily allowance varies, and it depends on the locations (states) that you travel to. Since you travel to several different locations during the normal course of your employment, I included the IRS site that has the per diem tables. Per diem rates are generally based on the originating and destination points. If you do not want to claim the destination points in between, you would use maximum rates from Ogden to Ogden, and in that instance the maximum daily meal allowance is $39.00 a day. When using maximum M&IE rates, be sure to look at the block to the right. On the first day and the last day of travel you can only claim 3 quarters per diem. On these days the amount that you can claim is $29.25. If your originating point is not Ogden the maximum rate can be found using the link below:
I hope this helps to further clarify how the standard meal allowance is figured. Let me know if you have additional questions.