As much as service staff may try to shield their guests from the lingo used around the restaurant, it is their second language and sometimes they may slip up a bit. Be in the know the next time one of your dutiful servers drops a restaurant bomb. Here are a few definitions to help you be a bit more hip the next time you hear a tidbit of slang.
86’d- Once the kitchen or bar run out of a certain item, you may hear staff running around communicating to each other, “86 mussels,” or “86 Coors Light.” This means there is no more of an item in house either for a temporary time period or for the entire evening.
The Well- The service area of the bar where the ticket printer generates the servers’ drink orders and one bartender is typically assigned to produce these drinks in a timely manner.
The Rail- The counter of the bar where guests order from the bar staff. On a busy evening, one tender will take care of the guests seated or standing “on the rail” while another tends to “the well.”
Up or Down- In reference to a martini or a manhattan, “up” is shaken or stirred and then strained into a cocktail glass while down is slang for “on the rocks.”
All Day- The total number of items needed to “sell” a ticket or tickets. For example, if there are five tickets on the kitchen printer with four steaks listed amongst the tickets, the lead on the line will call for “Four steaks all day.”
Back of the House- The kitchen staff and chefs.
Front of the House- The service staff and management.
In the Weeds- Falling behind or being swamped. If a server is sat with five tables at once or the kitchen or bar receives a large number of tickets at the same time, they will likely be in the weeds. Typically, another staff member or management will be called upon for help to get out of the weeds.
Covers- The number of people a staff member is serving at a given point in time. For example, if a server has a table of four and a table of two, they have six covers.
On the Fly- Rapido. As in, we needed that item yesterday and please expedite its service to the table.
Selling a ticket- When a ticket transmitted to the bar or the kitchen is ready to hit the table.