"In the weeds."


Being able to effectively and succinctly communicate while your team is critical. Whether you're just starting out in hospitality or you're looking to test your industry knowledge, here are common terms for keeping things quick and concise.


6 Pan
9 Pan

Pans being called by the fraction of a full hotel pan that they are

“Can you grab me a 6 pan?”

“There’s a 9 pan of it over here.”

86 (Eighty-Six)

To remove an item from an order or from the menu because the kitchen or bar is out of it.

“86 Octo (Octopus)”

All day

To note the total quantity of an item on multiple tickets.

“Fire two filets medium rare, one salmon. Fire one filet medium rare, one filet medium. Three medium rare all day!”

Back of the House

The back of the restaurant, the kitchen and storage areas, where the chefs, cooks, prep people and dishwashers primarily work.

Bar Key

Bottle opener


Term to let another member of the staff know you are behind them.

Bev Nap

Small square paper napkin on which a beverage rests.


Table of a lot of people.


Being very behind schedule, overwhelmed with work.


A large plastic pan used for storage of perishables and non-perishables.

(The name is from the company that makes the containers; also referred to as a Lexan.)

Chef de Partie


Station chefs; in the brigade system, these are the line cook positions, such as saucier, grillardin, etc.



To have the closing shift followed by the opening shift the next day.

Comin’ Out

Term to let another member of the staff know you are leaving the kitchen.


To give something away for free, short for “complimentary.”

Usually done by owners or managers to get surprise and delight important customers or to smooth over problems.

“Table 12’s chicken was raw! Comp the whole table desserts and coffee!”


Term to let another member of the staff know you are rounding a blind corner.



Term that describes a guest as a statistic; typically used at the beginning of and end-of night head counts.

“I did 50 covers tonight.”


Cremate it
(or Kill it)


To almost burn something or be very overcooked; extra extra well done.

“Table five wants his burger cremated.”



Generally used with meat products, but many dried goods are packed this way to retain freshness. Cryovacing is a process used to remove any excess oxygen from a bag, and then the bag is heat-sealed to make it airtight.


When a server has been cut off from taking tables to do side work and finish the shift.


A table with only two seats.


Working two shifts in a row.

Double/Triple Sat

When more than one table is seated in a particular station at the same time.


Server has put food on a table.

“Two salads down!”

Alternative meaning - last guest/table has been sat/no more seatings.

"Are we down yet?" 


Taking a long time, usually the result of being weeded.

“My entrees are dragging.”

“My busser is dragging.”


Start cooking the accompanied item.

“The mussels are almost done, better drop the calamari.”

Also, to present a customer with the bill or a dish.
“Drop the check.”
“Entrees have been dropped.”


The ticket/information submitted to the kitchen so the cooks can cook orders of food.


For food or drink to lose quality due to sitting around waiting to be picked up (e.g., ice melting into a drink and causing it to be watered down, food drying up for sitting under the heat lamps for too long).

“Are their apps clear? Their entrees are dying.”

Expediter / Expo

The person who coordinates all orders in the kitchen.

Family Meal

The staff meal either before or after a shift.


Begin to cook.

“Fire mains on table four!”

Food Cost

The amount a menu item costs to prepare. See Food Costing 101 for more.


A guest who is a self-proclaimed food enthusiast/connoisseur.

(Often the bane of cooks and chefs, an amateur cook/chef who is aspiring to be a professional.)


Signifies a table’s order is ready, and that any available server should take it out. Usually called out by cooks and chefs.


A common response to imply that something is understood.

Hockey Puck

A very well done hamburger.


To leave something off a dish.

Hot Behind

Someone is coming behind you with hot pans, dishes, etc., so move out of the way.

In the Weeds

Way behind, overwhelmed with work. Pertains to situations in both the front and back of the house.


A large plastic pan used for storage of perishables and non-perishables.

(The name is from the company that makes the containers; also referred to as a Cambro.)


The workspace of the kitchen.


The main course of guests' meals.


To combine two or more containers.

No Call/No Show

An employee who does not show up and does not call ahead to inform the team know.

A reservation that does not show up and does not call to inform the business.

Nuke It

To microwave.

On the Books

The total people that have made reservations for the night.

On the Fly

Refers to emergency status; immediate need; takes priority over all other things.


A group of people at a table.


Point of Sale - the hardware and software system used to send orders to the kitchen, cash out guests, etc.

Pump It Out

Getting food out quickly.


To promote a specific menu item in hopes of getting more orders.

“Push the duck, we have 15 orders.”

Also refers to the busiest time of the night.

“The Push tonight is at 7:45 and 8:45.”


A dish that needs to be remade on the fly.

“Refire table three. Now!"


A person who visits several times a week or month.


Abbreviation for “reservation.”

Can refer to either a reservation (e.g., “Customer wants a 730 resos tonight”) or the number of people dining in the restaurant on a particular evening (e.g., “350 resos on the books tonight”).


Silverware rolled into a napkin.


A staff member who takes food to a table.


Term referring to an employee being fired; usually employees are considered sacked after a major screw up.


The specific tables waited on by a particular server.


The preferred term for waiter or waitress.

“Could you find my server, please? I need a refill on my soda.”

Set Up

A set of cutlery and napkins, sometimes glassware.

“I need 2 extra setups for table 4.”

Shelf Life

The amount of time in storage that a product can maintain quality and freshness.


The period of time staff is scheduled to work.

Shift Drink

A free drink for staff from the manager when the shift is over. Usually as a reward for hard work (or an unofficial apology for a night of triple seats).


When the amount of money taken in at the close does not match the money in one’s till.


The additional work given to front of the house staff to do after or before their shift (e.g., refilling salt and pepper shakers, polishing silverware).

Sizzle Platter

Heavy grade metal oval plate that is used to reheat or cook something in a high temperature oven.


The act of leaving without doing side work.


Busy, but not as out of control as “in the weeds”.

See “In The Weeds”.


Wine Steward or Wine Waiter.


Sauce on the side.

Sous Chef

Generally the second in command in a kitchen.

Split ‘X’-ways

Usually referring to how a to divide a check.

“They want it split 5-ways.”


To make a particular item last through an entire shift.


To substitute one menu choice for another.


Name given to the entire group of people dining.

“What’s going on with Table 6?”


The physical printout in the kitchen of a table’s order.


A job interview that lasts 8-12 hours, allows you get a firsthand view of what life on the job would be like by actually doing the job.


Three shifts in a row on the same day.


To replace a finished party with a new party.

Turn & Burn

Turn a table quickly because the table is needed for a later reservation.


Number of times a table has had the full revolution of service from being seated to getting the check.

Two / Three/ Any number-Top

The specified number of people at a table.

“The four-Top is looking for you.”


Refers to a menu item up in the window, ready to go to table.


To convince a guest to choose an option that costs more.


To tell a guest a menu modifications that is not printed.

“We’re going to verbal the change on the chicken tonight. Will be back potatoes tomorrow.”

Verbal Tip

Praises from a customer in lieu of actual money.


A very important customer.


To take off the check with no financial loss to the restaurant.

Wait station

Area for waitstaff to keep silver, coffee, or water.


A refrigerated room for cold storage of perishable items; also a soundproof room for Chef scream therapy.

Weeded / In the Weeds

To be backlogged, overwhelmed, behind in your duties.


The cheapest liquor of a certain type.

Well drinks

Well drinks are made from the inexpensive house liquors on hand.


A shelf, usually heated, where the food is placed after preparation and awaiting delivery to the table.

Yes, chef

A response to indicate "I understand." The appropriate response to any question or statement said by the Head Chef.

En français, "Oui, Chef."


This compilation is a small sampling (and a work-in-progress!). If you'd like us to add one that you and/or your team use, please email us at [email protected]!