A few Restaurant Industry terms you must know

Find concise explanations of key terms used in the dynamic world of dining.


A dining option where customers can order individual dishes from a menu, rather than a set meal or course-based service.


The operational area in a restaurant where food is prepared, cooked, and plated, typically including the kitchen and staff areas, not visible to customers.

A self-service dining format where customers serve themselves from a variety of dishes set out on a table or series of tables.


A service option where customers order food in advance and pick it up from the restaurant to consume elsewhere, often packaged for convenience and transport.

Catch weight, also known as variable weight, refers to the precise measurement of an individual food item at the time of purchase.

A service that prepares and delivers food for events, meetings, and private functions, often including setup and service options.

A delivery-only kitchen preparing food for online orders. Often hosts multiple brands for maximum efficiency.

Cloud POS is a restaurant software accessed online, offering flexibility and remote access compared to traditional on-site systems.

A centralized cooking facility that provides production space and resources for multiple food service operations, often supporting food trucks, small restaurants, and caterers.

An innovative dining model that leverages technology to minimize physical contact between staff and guests, enhancing safety and efficiency through digital menus, ordering, and payment processes.

A payment method that allows customers to pay for their meals without physical contact, typically through digital wallets or contactless credit/debit cards.

A financial metric that represents the total cost of ingredients and food items that a restaurant consumes to generate its food sales.

A critical food safety issue where harmful bacteria, allergens, or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, potentially causing health risks.


A system that seamlessly combines various delivery platforms and services into a restaurant's operations to streamline the process of receiving, preparing, and delivering online orders.

An electronic version of a restaurant's menu, presented on digital screens or accessible via smartphones, enhancing guest interaction and operational efficiency.

A key leadership role focused on managing the front-of-house operations to ensure a high-quality dining experience for customers.


The process of organizing and assigning work shifts to restaurant staff to ensure optimal operation and service delivery.


A hybrid dining model blending the convenience of fast food with the quality and atmosphere of casual dining, offering higher-quality food in a more upscale setting without full table service.

A fundamental inventory management principle ensuring that the oldest stock (first in) is used before newer stock (first out), crucial for reducing waste and ensuring food quality.

Upscale dining establishments offering top-quality food, premium service, and a luxurious atmosphere, catering to guests looking for an exquisite dining experience.

A critical financial metric that measures the cost of ingredients relative to revenue, guiding pricing strategies, menu design, and overall profitability in restaurant operations.

A critical aspect of restaurant operations focusing on handling, preparing, and storing food in ways that prevent foodborne illness and ensure consumer health.

The sector of a restaurant that guests directly interact with, including the dining area, bar, and reception, managed to ensure exceptional service, ambiance, and customer satisfaction.


A delivery-focused cooking facility that operates without a storefront or dine-in space, exclusively preparing food for online orders.

A voluntary payment made by customers, over and above the bill amount, as a token of appreciation for service, typically given to service staff.

A key financial metric representing the revenue remaining after deducting the cost of goods sold (COGS), essential for assessing the restaurant's profitability and operational efficiency.


A strategic promotional period offering discounted food and beverages to attract more customers, increase sales, and boost customer loyalty during typically slow business hours.


A critical operational process that involves tracking and managing the restaurant's stock of food, beverages, and supplies to optimize costs, reduce waste, and ensure a smooth service flow.

A financial metric that measures how often a restaurant’s inventory is sold and replaced over a specific period, providing insights into the efficiency of inventory management and sales performance.

A key financial ratio indicating how swiftly a restaurant's inventory is sold and replenished, showcasing effective inventory management and accurate demand forecasting.


Digital systems enhancing kitchen operations by electronically displaying orders, boosting accuracy, efficiency, and communication between front-of-house and kitchen staff.

A designated area in a restaurant's kitchen where ingredients are prepared before cooking, crucial for ensuring efficiency, organization, and consistency in food preparation.


A line cook is a culinary professional responsible for preparing and cooking food according to the restaurant's recipes and standards, playing a crucial role in ensuring timely and consistent dish preparation.

Loss prevention in restaurants involves strategies and practices designed to minimize financial loss due to theft, fraud, waste, and errors, ensuring the restaurant's profitability and operational efficiency.


Menu engineering is the strategic process of designing and analyzing a restaurant's menu to maximize profitability by categorizing items based on popularity and profitability, optimizing pricing, and enhancing menu layout to influence customer choices.

A system allowing customers to place orders via mobile devices, enhancing convenience, efficiency, and overall dining experience while increasing operational efficiency and revenue.


A financial metric representing the total earnings of a restaurant after all expenses, taxes, and costs are deducted from total revenue, crucial for assessing overall financial health and performance.


A service model where restaurants offer food delivery to customers through online ordering platforms, integrating technology to expand reach and streamline operations.

A set of standardized protocols and tools that allow different software applications to communicate and integrate seamlessly, enabling enhanced functionality, flexibility, and innovation in restaurant management.

The recurring costs necessary to run a restaurant, excluding the cost of goods sold, crucial for budgeting, financial planning, and profitability analysis.

Operational efficiency is a strategic restaurant management approach to maximize productivity, cut costs, and improve the dining experience through optimized processes, resources, and technology.

Overhead Restaurant Rate is a financial metric representing the total operating costs of a restaurant, excluding direct costs of goods sold, essential for pricing & profitability analysis.


A systematic approach to managing restaurant inventory that ensures optimal stock levels for uninterrupted service without excessive surplus.

An innovative payment solution allowing customers to pay for their meals directly at the table using digital devices, enhancing convenience and efficiency.

A system allowing customers to complete their payments directly at their table using portable devices, enhancing convenience, efficiency, and security in the dining experience.

Diverse transaction options in restaurants, facilitating convenient, secure, and efficient customer payments for dining experiences.

Point of sale systems are software & hardware solutions that facilitate transactions and manage inventory in retail and hospitality sectors.


A contactless ordering system where customers scan QR codes to view menus, place orders, and make payments via their smartphones, enhancing convenience, efficiency, and safety in dining.

Fast-food establishments prioritizing speed, convenience, and affordability, serving ready-to-eat foods via counter service, drive-thru, or delivery.


A systematic approach to curating, standardizing, and maintaining the quality and consistency of dishes across a restaurant's operations.

A digital tool that allows customers to book tables in advance, manage reservations, and optimize seating arrangements, enhancing customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.


A system for scheduling and managing staff shifts to ensure optimal coverage, efficiency, and productivity, enhancing overall restaurant operations and employee satisfaction.

A work schedule strategy in restaurant management, dividing employees' workdays into two distinct segments to cover peak service times efficiently.


A systematic process for guests to book tables in advance, enhancing dining experience planning and restaurant operations efficiency.

A dining experience where guests are seated and served at their table by staff, highlighting hospitality, menu knowledge, and personalized service.

A metric that measures how quickly tables are cleared and reset for new customers, crucial for maximizing seating efficiency, revenue, and customer satisfaction.

A service model where waitstaff take orders, process payments, and provide customer service directly at the table, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction.

A service offering where customers order food for takeaway, providing convenience and flexibility in dining options.

A service model where restaurants partner with third-party platforms to offer delivery services, expanding their reach and convenience for customers.