Hey customers, want to know the meaning of common restaurant words? Look no further! Be careful, it’s not all pretty.
In the weeds- This is when we are so busy we can’t think straight. These are the times that we might be sweating in your food. Sorry about that.
Cut- This is when we finally get to stop taking tables (stop earning money) while we continue to work for another 30 minutes to sometimes an hour for free doing our side work.
Side work-this typically includes clean up/restocking duties such as cleaning the drink machine, re stocking ice, wiping down menus, stocking straws and to-go cups and lids, washing tea and water pitchers, restocking sugars, sweet and lows and equals (also called “sugar caddies”). This is generally 30 minutes to an hour after your shift. It is very common to have side work before and during your shift as well.
Real job- This is what many servers dream about and sometimes, temporarily find. (See our “real Job” Article)
Double- This is where we work two shifts in one day (lunch & dinner), generally with a several hour lunch but sometimes straight through.
Double/triple sat- This is when the host stand sits us twice or even three times in a relatively short amount of time. Unless you are a very skilled/experienced server, this can really put you in the weeds fast. Waiting tables is like a very delicate balancing act.
Grazing- this is where we sneak around and grab food in the back and eat it. Some managers are cool with is and some are not. Either way, it still goes on. We walk 5-20 miles a day; it takes fuel to keep up the stamina.
86- to get rid of/ we are out of. If you 86 the onions you are saying you don’t want onions. If you 86 prime rib, it means we are out of prime rib.
Regulars- These are the people that are in the restaurant so much everyone knows their name and what they like to eat. This is sometimes good and sometimes bad, it generally depends on their restaurant manners and how they tip.
Canadians- well I’m not sure I should tell you this one.
Tip out-this is what we pay to the host stand, busboys, bartenders, food runners, team workers… this is generally based on our sales, not our tips. In other words, if you don’t tip, we now get the privilege of paying to wait on you.
Top- this is the amount of people at a table (2 top, 5 top, 8 top…)
Taking out the trash- This is generally code for “out side smoking”. Back in the days it was done in the kitchen.
Sexual harassment – this is generally acceptable practice in a restaurant setting. Things that would cause a million dollar settlement in any other industry are done multiple times per day in every single restaurant across the country.
Campers- This is when your table sits at the table after they meal is done. If we are slow, it’s not too much of a big deal, but when busy this is costing us money. Please compensate appropriately for this. In other words TIP US MORE!!!!
Crop Dusting- This is something that happens when you least expect it.
Pay Check- This is the worthless piece of paper that we trash every other week. We trash it because most servers only make $2-$3 per hour and taxes get it all.
Sick- This means nothing at all. Get to work, we need you, period!
Verbal tips- This is when you tell us how great we are. Generally this is followed with a lousy tip. “Please hold all verbal tips; let’s stick to cash only” is on our Black “Hey You” T-shirt.
Break- Sorry but we don’t know what this means. If you want to know the meaning of this word you will have to ask an industry that follows labor laws.
Bus Tub Buffet- This is the act of eating off of someone’s plate, after they are finished. It would amaze you at how common this is.
Liquid funk- I don’t think anyone knows for sure what this is but it a watery liquid that is almost constantly on the floor in the back of every restaurant. I would guess that it is a combination of melted ice, mop water, spilled drinks, washed hands drippings (we don’t dry our hands) mixed with miscellaneous food particles (could be pre or post table food). As it mixes with more and more things it gets thinker and thicker. Yummy, don’t slip and fall.
Dead- This is another way of saying the restaurant it extremely slow.