Talkin’ the Talk: Restaurant Terms to Know

So you’re ready to start your restaurant. You’ve gone through the long and arduous process to find a location, purchase it, renovate it, get the equipment (the only easy part if you came to us), get a name, and now you’re ready to open the doors. You’ve got your staff hired, and they know the restaurant business. And if they know the restaurant business, then there’s a good chance they know some terms that you should know as well. So, while most terms are fairly obvious, here are some more unique terms that are worth knowing if you’re going to run your restaurant:

-Back of House/Front of House: these are two different areas, but are closely related. Simply put, the back of house is the area like the kitchen and waiting stations, where customers don’t tread. Front of house is the dining area and the rest of the restaurant. That was easy…

-Eight-six: You may have heard this term in other contexts, but it’s used when you are out of an item. Example: “The tuna is 86, they have to order something else.”

-Expo: Expo is short for expedite. The job of the expediter (usually a manager) is to make a busy situation unbusy, like if the bar is back up on drinks, they would hop in and get what they can, organize tickets and items on the list, or whatever is needed.

-In the weeds: Again, another term used in other contexts, this means your restaurant is swamped. While businesses like being busy (because it means people are spending money), this can be expressed with this term.

-Plating: This is used for putting food on a plate. Example: “I need this steak plated and taken out!”

-Sharking: If you own a restaurant, be kind and don’t shark, or lure an employee away from a competing business. If a really good server or cook comes to you, that’s one thing, but don’t be that guy who goes sharking others from competitors. It’s just mean.

-On the fly: This means “get it done now!” Example: “I need a medium rare steak on the fly!”

Most other terms are fairly common sense and you’ll learn them quickly, but here’s a good list to get you started.

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