Anyone who works in the restaurant industry knows that we have our own language. Restaurant365 has compiled the ultimate glossary of restaurant terms including the most used FOH and BOH terminology, slang, and jargon that all employees should know to seamlessly communicate within your team.
The number of guests seated at a table. A two top table has 2 people, a four top table has 4, a six tip has 6, etc.
To be all out of a menu item or ingredient and to have to take an item off the menu for the rest of the service.
A French term that means a menu item is sold by itself rather than part of a complete meal.
The cost of all the food that a restaurant spent for the same period of time. The actual food cost accounts for circumstances like imperfect portions, accidental waste, improper invoicing, or employee theft (see theoretical food cost).
The total amount of a certain dish that needs to be made (combining all the incoming orders).
A term used for the kitchen area and the employees who work in them.
A bottle opener.
Beverage napkins or napkins that are used in lieu of a coaster.
A large plastic pan used for storage of perishables and non-perishables.
Restaurant guests who have finished their meal yet remain at the table for an extended period of time.
Someone that is trained professionally in the art of food preparation and cooking.
Another name for the order ticket.
Rentable licensed commercial kitchens where foodservice operators such as caterers and food truck operators can safely prepare and store food.
A term referring to how much the ingredients cost to make a menu item.
A term used when a guest receives a complimentary item, typically due to the customer being dissatisfied.
When service begins to slow down, servers will be “cut off” from taking more tables so they can complete their side work and go home.
The times of day or mealtimes such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
A table that seats two people.
Two shifts worked back-to-back.
When more than one table is seated in a particular station at the same time.
An order ticket (same as chit). Comes from “duplicate”, from when printers print a carbon-copy of an order ticket.
Estimated time of arrival of customers, food, and deliveries
The person who reads out orders as they come in and puts the finishing touches on the food before it’s taken from the kitchen out to guests.
A restaurant that offers a hybrid of fast food elements with better quality ingredients and ambience.
First in / first out, a term generally related to perishable inventory.
Assets purchased for long-term use such as technology, kitchen equipment, furniture, and more.
The dining room.
What a menu item costs to prepare.
A percentage used to determine profitability of menu items. It is calculated by adding the beginning inventory to food purchases, then subtracting ending inventory and dividing the value by food sales.
A business where the owners grant third-party operators the rights to use the business’s name, branding, and model in exchange for fees or royalties and ongoing support in the form of advisement or marketing.
The portion of the restaurant where patrons usually are, such as the dining room, and the customer facing employees who work in those areas.
Full service restaurants that provides table service to guests and employ a server staff to take orders and deliver food.
Person responsible for planning and directing all restaurant operations. They oversee the standards of food, service, health and safety, ensure the efficient and profitable business performance of the restaurant and the optimal utilization of staff and resources, and more.
A virtual restaurant that generates food to be consumed off premise.
The percentage of revenue a restaurant operation keeps after paying for the costs of the products or services it sells.
Revenues generated before providing any discounts or refunds to customers.
A term to describe restaurant staffers who are busy to the point of being overwhelmed and are falling behind.
When an order is ready to be taken out to the guest’s table it is placed “in the window” to keep the food warm until it is delivered to the guest.
A role that includes supervising a restaurant’s day-to-day kitchen and food operations, including the hiring, training and scheduling BOH staff, food preparation, quality control, ordering inventory, budgeting, etc.
The cost of the labor needed to run your restaurant plus payroll taxes and employee benefits.
Restaurant cooks who work as a team to prep, cook, and plate food.
A communication tool used by restaurant managers to stay in sync on daily activities, customer issues, maintenance problems, and more.
Also known as gross margin, is sales minus the COGS (see above definition).
Combining two or more containers of an item into one to fill it up.
A list of everything that your establishment can serve to your customers.
The careful design of a menu meant to direct the attention of the diner to specific items to influence diner’s decisions to return desired sales.
The science of the profitability and popularity of menu items and how these two factors influence the placement of these items on a restaurant’s menu.
The measurement of a company’s profit once operating costs, taxes, interest and depreciation have all been subtracted from its total revenues.
The total amount of sales made by a business within a specific period after sales returns, discounts, and allowances.
Employees who don’t show up for work or customers who don’t arrive for a reservation.
The shorthand for any order that isn’t prepared for in-house consumption, which includes curbside service, takeout, and delivery.
Needing to be done quickly.
To be currently cooking on the line.
A managerial term about making sure that everything runs smoothly, from your FOH to your BOH.
Overhead refers to any additional factors other than ingredients that effect your margins such as rent, utilities, equipment maintenance, marketing, payroll taxes, and more.
The amount of any given inventory item that should be maintained between deliveries.
A reference to the size of a group dining at your restaurant.
This is when one server takes over another server’s tables.
The system in which the wait staff enters in the order and each sale is recorded.
COGS (see above definition) plus labor costs.
Quick service restaurants that provide counter service or drive-thru service only.
Short for “quick response,” scannable QR codes allow restaurants to launch preset landing pages when guests simply use their smart phone’s camera which can reduce waste and offer real-time menu updates.
A small, single serving bowl or cup used for cooking and serving side dishes and sauces.
Silverware rolled into a napkin, usually linen but can be paper.
To bring the plate out to the customer.
A person who deliver food to a table.
A waiter or waitress.
How long a particular ingredient can sit on the shelf before losing quality or expiring.
When a plated meal is missing a specific item such as a biscuit it is “short.”
Tasks that restaurant employees are tasked to due outside of serving customers such as cleaning service areas, refilling condiments, rolling silverware, restocking server stations, etc.
When a server leaves without doing their side work.
When a staff member works two or more separate shifts during a day.
A set number of tables that a server is assigned.
To substitute one menu item for another.
A restaurant food costs for a given period of time, according to the current cost of all ingredients. Theoretical food costs assume that for the meals sold, there were perfect portions, no waste, and no shrinkage of ingredients (see actual food cost).
When an order is keyed into a POS system, it usually prints out a ticket to alert the kitchen with the order time, modifications, and special requests.
Tipped employees contribute all their tips into a pool. The pooled tips are then distributed among all employees, often based on assigned percentages.
The number of times that a specific table has gone through the entire meal process each shift.
When an employee feels overwhelmed (see “in the weeds” above).
A server entices a customer into buying a more expensive variation of a dish.
Perishable inventory items that need to get used first so that it doesn’t go to waste.
When a customer leaves without paying.
A large walk-in refrigerator or freezer.
A heated shelf where food is placed after preparation and awaiting delivery to the table.