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FOH (Front of House) and Other Common Restaurant Terms

a photo of a server in foh (front of house) bringing a table their food

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The restaurant industry uses many terms, such as FOH and BOH, that take some time for others to learn. Often, they are a shorthand for entire concepts that take a great deal of forethought. In a fast-paced business, jargon is a way for restaurant owners and managers to quickly convey detailed ideas.

One common restaurant term that’s important for people in the industry is “front of house.” This term is often abbreviated FOH. Most people eating at a restaurant have no idea what this term means or its significance. However, for a restaurant, how workers manage the front of the house is the critical difference between success and failure.

What FOH (Front of House) Means

Simply stated, the front of the house is any action area of the restaurant that customers interact with. It is the area that generates revenue for the business. In layman’s terms, the front of the house is the area where patrons order and eat their food. Every other part of your restaurant business must run smoothly for the customers to get what they want and keep coming back.

The moment your customers walk in the door or enter the waiting area, they are in the front of the house. This will include the table where the host or hostess greets patrons and either puts them on the list for a table or escorts them to their seats. Furthermore, the front of the house includes the tables where customers order their food and enjoy their meals. If your establishment offers carryout, the counter where people dine and pay is also part of the front of the house.

Who Works in the FOH?

When someone talks about the FOH area, you would usually associate it with the following staff:

  • General manager
  • Host or hostess
  • Servers
  • Bartenders
  • Food runners

As a restaurant owner, you need to think very carefully about your customer-facing experience. From the ambiance to the menu to the service, this is the very essence of your business. If you succeed here in creating a memorable and enjoyable experience, you’ll be headed for profit in the restaurant industry.

This is why you need to follow best practices for your front of the house experience. The most effective ways to manage your operation are through communication and automation. One method of creating efficiencies for your restaurant is using a labor management system with features that not only manage shifts but also allow managers on different shifts to communicate with each other.

Other Restaurant Jargon Terms

Almost equally important to the front of the house is the back of the house, or the BOH. This is your kitchen and storage area, where the workers are out of view of the customers. Effective communication and partnership between the two parts of your restaurant will lead to a pleasant dining experience. Restaurant owners will also be familiar with the term “on the fly.” In many situations, workers will need to improvise or come up with a solution on the fly to satisfy customers. For example, a server may need to communicate with the BOH to prepare a dish à la carte, which is an individual item with no sides.

The Key to a Successful Restaurant

Restaurant slang is actually important to your operation. While many people with experience in the industry already understand these terms, it’s always good to train new hires on the jargon your staff uses. These terms offer a way to quickly communicate concepts when all your employees are working under pressure in a customer service business.

Some of these terms have to do with your shifts and how you manage them. In fact, your labor metrics are one of the keys to profitability for your business. To reap maximum revenue for your business, you need to have the right level of staffing to match both busy and quiet times.

One way to improve on efficiency, which leads to a customer-friendly front of the house experience, is through TimeForge’s feature-rich labor management system. Contact us today, and we’ll explain how our solutions can keep your restaurant running smoothly and your patrons coming back. 

And did you know? TimeForge not only accommodates different positions and pay rates, but you can also set different sections for job positions, such as FOH and BOH.

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