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An Overview of Restaurant Lingo for Servers

By Tom Seest

Do You Know the Lingo? Mastering Restaurant Server Vocabulary

Restaurant servers play an essential role in providing guests with an exceptional dining experience. From serving beverages and meals, communicating with diners, upselling easily, creating memorable celebrations, and keeping the dining area clean and safe; restaurant servers make a significant impactful statement about how important guest service really is!
As opposed to offices and retail jobs, restaurants typically utilize a specific language used among front-of-house staff members in communicating among themselves – this can make life confusing for newcomers who do not yet speak the lingo of front-of-house service workers.

Do You Know the Lingo? Mastering Restaurant Server Vocabulary

Do You Know the Lingo? Mastering Restaurant Server Vocabulary

What Appetizers Does a Restaurant Server Know?

Appetizers are small dishes intended to stimulate appetite before the main course of a meal is served, making it easier for diners to digest it later.
At restaurants, appetizers can either be hot or cold and usually accompany meals or are part of an event such as a wedding reception, cocktail party, or dinner.
Hors d’oeuvres can take many forms, from hors d’oeuvres and canapes to mixed appetizers (such as Scandinavian smorgasbord, Spanish tapas, Greek meze, Egyptian Mazza, and Russian zakuska) that should be both attractive and delicious for guests to savor.
Waldorf salad, for instance, features diced apples, celery, and walnuts mixed together with mayonnaise for an appetizer option. Chips and dips also make a tasty choice that provides ample opportunity for experimentation by offering bite-size pieces paired with different condiments to explore new tastes and flavor combinations.
Sweet and savory appetizers are popular choices for restaurants. These delectable dishes often combine meat, cheese, or other savory ingredients into delectable snacks that provide customers with a delightful snack option.
Noting the difficulty for those with food allergies can make starters an effective way to introduce people to new types of cuisine, though. Shellfish allergies, in particular, may cause serious reactions in some individuals.
Restaurant cooks must ensure guests with sensory sensitivities are kept comfortable by not serving shellfish and not mixing allergenic starters with allergenic starters, and that any food being served is properly labeled and kept separate so as to prevent cross-contamination with other items on the menu.

What Appetizers Does a Restaurant Server Know?

What Appetizers Does a Restaurant Server Know?

Sides

Side dishes are an integral component of any satisfying restaurant menu, helping to complement a dish while making dining more fulfilling without adding too much weight to your dining experience.
Rice can make your entrees more hearty and satisfying, while salads add nutrients and flavor.
An hors d’oeuvre is a delicious appetizer served prior to a main course meal that serves to whet your appetite and set the stage for what lies ahead. These bite-sized treats typically consist of colorful, tasty bites that will surely tickle your tastebuds and satisfy hunger pangs.
Restaurant staff members can quickly become overwhelmed by all of the tasks required in a day, leaving newcomers vulnerable. Missed details or forgetting how best to perform tasks may occur as a result.
An effective way to ensure that servers remain attentive is to give them access to an array of relevant and interesting information, so customers have an exceptional experience and increase profits. By doing this, your servers can ensure customers receive exceptional care while helping increase your bottom line.

Sides

Sides

Entrees

Restaurant business buzzwords abound. Most are used to convey information about the meals being prepared and served daily, while some serve to distinguish different kinds of cuisine from one another. An understanding of these buzzwords will go a long way toward keeping both servers happy and patrons satisfied with your service.
Be wary that sometimes the most crucial buzzwords may not be immediately obvious, such as entrees – similar to subs. To ensure your customers enjoy an exceptional dining experience, it’s essential that they understand exactly what they’re ordering and when their meals will be ready – one common complaint among patrons being left waiting is for food preparation delays that exceed promised timeframes.
Be wary that the restaurant industry is highly competitive and cutthroat; some businesses may try to capture your business with costly promotions and marketing efforts targeted at specific demographics. Others may use gimmicks like LED-lit signs to draw customers in; these costs can add up quickly but could help your establishment stand out from its competition.

Entrees

Entrees

Desserts

Dessert, more commonly referred to as the final course or just dessert, is typically the sweet treat eaten after eating a main course meal. It typically features sugars, milk products, or other food products with sweetening agents added in order to make them appealing and appetizing.
Dessert is a term applied to many food items, from cakes and cookies to biscuits, gelatins, pastries, ice creams, pies, puddings, candies, and fruit. In Western cultures, these types of dishes are often served at the end of a meal as an end-of-meal treat.
Common desserts are distinguished by their decadence, texture, and consistency. They may be soft or firm in texture, baked or unbaked, and made up of various ingredients like sugars, flour or starch components, fats, and dairy products that add moisture and tenderness.
Some desserts require eggs as leavening agents in order to allow the dessert to rise, providing additional structure and texture while imparting its rich flavors and textures.
Other desserts can be jellied, meaning they have been thickened using gelatin or another thickening agent. Jellies typically feature fruits like strawberries and blueberries, but other types can also be used.
There are also unique varieties of desserts that are popular across different regions, like Vla, which is a Dutch custard dessert with vanilla, chocolate, and caramel flavorings.
Restaurants typically provide their customers with an assortment of desserts that cater to the tastes and demands of their customer base, especially at fine dining establishments, which typically provide higher levels of service and presentation than local diners might.

Desserts

Desserts

Drinks

Restaurant drinks play an integral role in providing guests with a memorable dining experience, from commemorating special occasions or providing relief after meals to contributing towards atmosphere enhancement and increasing profits.
Restaurant customers tend to request drinks such as cocktails, martinis, daiquiris, and whiskey highballs as the most requested drinks. These are easy drinks for staff members to prepare quickly while customers request them often.
At restaurants, many diners enjoy sampling new beverages; therefore, it’s essential for servers to possess knowledge about these beverages so they can offer customers a range of choices and make the most of their menu.
At restaurants, guests can choose from a range of drinks, and each has its own distinct taste. These beverages may include alcohol-infused beverages such as fruit juice or wine cocktails; those made with syrups, soda water mixes, or any number of mixers may also be offered as options.
Example of syrup used in beverages: some add sweetness while others provide sour flavors; grenadine can even add color and fragrance.
Alternative ingredients that can enhance a drink include citrus and lemon flavorings, ice cubes, garnishes, and sugar or honey as ingredients to be added.
A great restaurant will feature an ample bar where staff members can prepare and serve drinks to customers quickly. This allows for reduced wait times while better meeting customer demands.
Servers often find themselves dealing with clients who have an alcohol abuse issue, requiring patience, tact, and firm control in their approach. This can be an emotionally charged experience.

Drinks

Drinks