“You’Ve Been Sat!” and Other Restaurant Lingo Curiosities

To an outsider the dialogue used amongst workers in the food and beverage industry may seem a little bizarre. With phrases like “Ugh! You just double sat me and I’m already in the weeds,” and “That’s two boy scouts all day,” it’s no wonder. A restaurant’s staff is split into two categories: “BOH” (back of the house) and “FOH” (front of the house), meaning people who work in the kitchen and people who work “on the floor” (the dining room), respectively. For the most part, jargon used in a restaurant can also be split into BOH and FOH.   Although grammatically erroneous, the use of restaurant lingo is very effective in saving time.
A restaurant’s kitchen has area specific names. For example, the “window” refers to the location were food is placed when it is ready to be taken out to guests. The large refrigerated room in which perishables are kept is called the “walk-in”, similar to the term “walk-in closet”. The “line” is all the people in the kitchen that are preparing food.   “Expo,” the area where food orders come in, got its name from the term “expeditor,” not from exposition as one might think. The word “expedite” means to make something happen faster than usual. For this reason, the name “expeditor” was given to the person who coordinates the kitchen by calling out food orders to their respective cooks.
The “BOH” uses various expressions and short phrases in order to quickly communicate to one another what needs to be done. Previously, I mentioned that the “expeditor” coordinates the kitchen. Consequently, it is he or she that does most of the instructing. To catch the attention of the “line” and signify the start of a new order the “expeditor” hollers, “Walking in!”   He or she will ask the cooks to “fire” or “drop” certain foods, implicating that those items need to be made. To avoid confusion, if there are several orders of the same item being made at the same time, the “expeditor” will state the quantity and item type followed by the phrase all day; as in,...