Foodservice Industry Language


The foodservice industry has its own unique language and slang used by staff members. Even with so many tricky phrases to learn, clear communication is crucial for serving the best food quality and avoiding miscommunication. Review these common phrases used in the foodservice industry to keep you on your game.

  • 86 – Whenever a kitchen runs out of a particular menu item, the dish is considered “86.”
  • Back of the House – The areas of the operation for staff members only, including the dish room, wait station, kitchen, and storage areas.
  • Bar-back – The assistant to the bartender that typically restocks liquor cabinets, runs glasses to the wash room, and pours drinks for the wait staff.
  • Cremate or Kill It – Cooking food extremely well done and overcooked at a guest’s request.
  • Expeditor – The staff member who groups plates together by table number to be picked up by servers and delivered to the diners.
  • Front of House – The areas of the establishment guests are allowed, including the dining room and bar.
  • In the Weeds – Refers to whenever a restaurant is extremely busy or overwhelmed.
  • On the Fly – This phrase is used when something needs to be prepared right away.
  • Sharking – Luring an employee to leave one establishment to join another.
  • Table Turn – The length of time it takes to complete a full revolution of service, including seating, dining, getting the check, and resetting for the next group.
  • Turn & Burn – The act of turning a table quickly to accommodate a long waiting list.