Early in this blog’s history, I started a series of waiter’s terms. It’s been a while since I’ve added to it. I’ll continue to try to update periodically. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find links to the original articles.
No-show – can either be a reservation that doesn’t show up or a fellow server who forgets a shift or quits and just doesn’t show.
No call, no show – specialized version of the above. When a server forgets a shift and can’t even be contacted. Many times cause for immediate termination. Usually cause for suspension. Very rarely, extreme circumstances can act as mitigating factors.
Ramekin – a small dish used for baking individual portions of something. Usually made of oven proof porcelain or glass, can be various sizes and is sometimes pressed into service as a holder of cheese or sauce.
Banana boat – a specialized elongated ramekin. Named because this is the dish that you find a banana split served in, and also because, obviously it’s somewhat banana and boat shaped.
Bullet – a small metal ramekin used for very small portions of concentrated sauces. Looks like an oversized thimble or a small metal shotglass. Alternately, what a chef often wants to put in the head of a waiter.
Decanter – large glass vessel used to aerate wine after opening. One of the costliest pieces of smallwares to break. So don’t break it.
Captain’s Pad – the pad used to write down orders. A true captains pad will have a grid which gives dedicated space to the various courses. Alternately, where stewardesses go to overnight sometimes.
Double down – also known as a double bump – see definition for double bump in Pt. 2 below
Upselling – the act of inducing a guest to try something that they wouldn’t have normally ordered, like an appetizer or a dessert (or even coffee). Can also mean moving them to a nicer and higher-proced product (such as selling Grey Goose vodka instead of the well brand).
Flip – also known as turn, this means to get rid of one table and get a new table. If a table has three sets of guests in a shift, it has three turns or is flipped three times., even though, technically it’s only turned or flipped twice, if you get my drift. When used as a noun, turn refers to each “seating” in a server’s station, e.g. “I only had two turns last night”.
Bistro table – small, usually round table used for smaller meals and/or bar use. Taller versions of this are called bar tables and their heigh accomodates bar stools. Bistro tables are usually only large enough to crowd four people around them and doesn’t have room for full meals without serious crowding. Can serve two people full meals with little difficulty. Occasionally you’ll find larger bistro tables on patios that can seat four for full meals or 6 people for lighter meals or bar food. Personally, I don’t call them bistro tables because they are too large. I prefer to simply call them:
Round top – exactly what it sounds like. Shorthand for a round table. Variation of x (insert number here) – top (see pt 1 definition below). Oddly enough, square tables are rarely referred to as square tops, but I suppose that they could be.
Banquette – a variation on a booth. It’s a long bench that has individual tables placed in front of it. The tables can be combined to make alongtable or separated.