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a ticket that entitles the bearer to meals in a specified restaurant, especially when meals purchased in this manner are offered at reduced rates.
Informal. someone upon whom one is dependent for one’s income or livelihood:
selfish children who look upon their father only as a meal ticket.
Informal. something, as an object or ability possessed by a person, that is necessary to that person’s livelihood:
The radio announcer’s voice was his meal ticket.
[huhb-uh l] /ˈhʌb əl/
Carl Owen (“King Carl”; “The Meal Ticket”) 1903–88, U.S. baseball pitcher.
(slang) a person, situation, etc, providing a source of livelihood or income

noun phrase

A person or thing depended on as a source of income, as in Magic Johnson was a real meal ticket for his team, or Her interpersonal skills will be her meal ticket when she goes into sales. This metaphoric expression alludes to the earlier practice of handing out tickets that entitle their holder to a meal. [ Early 1900s ]


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