I had a past life.
A time before EDU.
Back in the day I worked in restaurants. Actually, I ran a restaurant too.
Some people called me chef, to others I was a kitchen manager.
It was a great pastlife.
Then life changed, so did I. And I left the biz to become a teacher.
I arrived back in high school with a tonne of tools and knowledge. And it took me most of my first year as a teacher to unlearn my methods of mass production in order to see my students as children and not as staff members or mini-adults.
After I let go of my restauranteur-lockdown-money-driven mindset I was able to ease into actual teaching. And I gotta tell ya, teaching hospitality is way harder than creating or expecting hospitality.
But that is for another post.
Here, I am coming back to some of the jargon that weaves its way into my pedagogy, still to this day. Some as direct quotes in my classroom, others as reflective #thoughtfuel.
I will leave you to decide their relevance to your context.
back-up! = call to bring items from storage, fridge, or back kitchen
This can also be used with ‘jump in’ if an extra cook is needed in a cooking section.
callback / call me back = repeat it back to me
At one time you may have noticed this at Starbucks. Cashier would call out an order, barista would call it back. Helps with accuracy and reduces waste.
cuts / doing cuts = sending staff home
Often management will begin to send staff home as soon as rezees start to taper off. This is a magical sensibility to possess. The data points are constantly shifting. Cut too early, you could find yourself understaffed. Cut too late, your target budget numbers will be missed.
covers = number of people fed [kinda]
Sometimes this becomes loose and can mean the number of people that walk in the door, or the number of mains served, or sometimes even the number of bills paid.
full hands in, full hands out = always have your hands full
This can be as simple as carrying dirty plates to the dishwasher, then bringing clean plates back into the servery. Or, it can be a complex concept of always looking for a task to keep yourself busy.
fifo = first in, first out
Primarily this is in reference to stock rotation. The most pressing use of this rule is with refrigerated items, as they perish easily.
fire = to start cooking
‘Fire, one salmon, one caesar, and an order of fries!’
hit = arrive or connect with
‘Have the drinks hit the table yet? I gotta fire their mains!’
in the weeds = in trouble, getting behind in the orders
This is usually in reference to the confusion felt by having too many tasks to do at once.
jump in = help out
This can also result in a section take over if the individual is too deep in the weeds to make it out alone. There is a bit of shame that goes along with having someone jump in and help out.
over = a shift that covers two different meal services
Only a few staff would work this shift. The shift is meant to fill the quiet times that follow lunch but preceded dinner service. All areas of the establishment use over and split shifts to optimize labour costs.
rezee count!? = [reservation count] number of upcoming potential covers
This is a primary data point for a restaurant. And it is constantly morphing. Everything from break times, prep, to stocking a station, and labour costs is dependent on this variable.
runner! / hands! = I need servers or help over here!
When food or drinks need to hit the table people need to be called into action. Sometimes a quantity is added. ‘I need two runners!’ or ‘Four hands please!’
rush = sudden flow of customers into the restaurant
This phenomenon is usually references an unpredicted event that can lead to getting slammed and having your staff feel like they are totally in the weeds.
slammed = the emotional, inertial, and logistical effect of a rush
time to lean, then time to clean = [see full hands]
When in doubt, clean something.
side duties = work not associated with serving food
Servers, in addition to sales and bringing food to the table, are also responsible for cleaning and stocking the restaurant. For cooks, this could mean cleaning or stocking their section. Generally speaking, no one likes these tasks.
split = a work day that is broken into two distinct pieces
In restaurants that have both a lunch and dinner service, staff members may be at work all day but work several hours at lunch and then again at dinner.
throwdown / throw me down = ‘fire’, but more informal