In-depth Food Service Glossary of Terms

From culinary terms and kitchen equipment, to food safety, point of sales systems, and marketing and accounting terms, discussing the food services industry with other professionals can often end up sounding like a foreign language to those not familiar with all the terminology. Nothing is worse than being the but of jokes or getting an as assigned task wrong the first few days on-the-job because you did not want to admit you did not understand what someone was saying.

Accreditation – Certain jobs in the food services industry can require accreditation or employers will prefer to hire accredited employees for them. One example is a baker, who can become accredited through the Retailer’s Bakery Association. Accreditation is often achieved through written and hands-on tests.

Actual Cost Pricing – This method for determining menu prices is most often used by caterers. It takes the total budget amount and divides it into percentages for labor, overhead, food cost,and profit. The four percentages must equal 100 percent.

Add-on items – Primarily used in restaurants, these are menu items that customers order in addition to their entree such as salads, beverages, and desserts.

Airline Food Service – A sub segment of the transportation food services segment, the retail sales equivalent for airlines is defined as the value of all meals, including nonalcoholic beverages, on domestic and international flights originating in the United States. Technomic calculates the number of meals as a function of the number of revenue passenger miles flown in the United States by domestic and foreign airline carriers.

A la carte – Applicable to all types of food service operations, à la carte is a menu or portion of a menu on which each item is ordered separately and has its own price.

All Other Retailers – The “all other retailer” segment represents sales of food and nonalcoholic beverages for immediate consumption at establishments in general merchandise stores such as Sears and Kmart, in drug stores such as Walgreens, and in other retail hosts like liquor stores. Sales of food and beverages at convenience stores and supermarket in-store delisare looked at as separate categories. In addition to major national organizations, small chains and independents are also included.

Allumette – A kitchen term that refers to a knife cut often used for potatoes. The slices measure 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch by 2 1/2 inches.

All-you-care-to-eat – A segment of the restaurant industry in which customers prepay a fl at rate, and then have access to the dining area where the food is available in unlimited supply.

Alsace – A region of France located on the German border that originated Franco-German cuisine adopted by the United States and other countries, such as quiche.

Apicius – This is the name of the Roman citizen credited as the author of the first cookbook ever written, in the first century.

Apprentice – In an apprenticeship, students work full time under a master chef and go to school part time. They are paid salaries. Many programs, like the one through the American Culinary
Federation offer apprenticeships.

Area Treatment – The design and decor of the areas of a restaurant or cafeteria where food is served.

Artisan Breads – Artisan breads is the term used for breads that were originally created internationally by skilled bakers. They may take training and skill to successfully bake, especially on a consistent basis. In the United States artisan breads achievedamazing popularity in the 1990s, and are still very popular at bakeries and restaurants today. Many of them are now well knownbreads like foccacias and baguettes.

Artisan Wines – Similar to artisan breads, this term refers to wines that originated outside the United States, most often in European countries by specially trained or educated winemakers. These wines are usually the product of skilled winemakers.

As Purchased – This kitchen term refers to the weight of a food product, typically a cut of meat, before trimming or removal of unwanted parts.

Assembly/Serve System – Used most commonly in cafeteria or non-restaurant settings, fully prepared foods are stored, assembled, and reheated.

Au Gratin Oven – Also known as a finishing oven, this piece of kitchen equipment is an oven with a hinged door attached to the top of a broiler.

Back of the house – This term is also written and spoken as “back of- house,” and refers primarily to all operations and employees in a restaurant or food services establishment that take place or work in the kitchen or away from the public eating area.

Bain-Marie – A kitchen term that can refer to a hot water bath or the vessel used for the hot water bath. The hot water bath is used to keep foods hot.

Baker’s Table – This table for the kitchen is usually built with raised sides or curbing, usually four to six inches tall that reduces fl our spillage during the baking process. It may also have tilt out bins for ingredient storage.

Banquet Bart – This mobile piece of equipment is typically used for buffet-style dining. This cart may be insulated or non-insulatedand typically comes equipped with shelving or racks for plates, and an electrically powered heating or refrigeration device.

Bar Corkboard – This term refers to the under-counter workspace in bars. It is also known as a sink work board and it contains sinks, drain boards, cocktail mix stations, ice storage chests, beverage coolers, and glass washers.

Bars And Taverns – Considered a category of the food services industry, the United States Census Bureau defines them as “establishments known as bars,taverns, night clubs, or
drinking places primarily engaged in preparing and serving alcoholic beverages for immediate consumption. These establishments may also provide limited food services.” Technomic, a food services consulting and research company, says that bars and taverns represent the smallest primarily commercial segment of the industry.

Batonnet – A kitchen term that refers to a knife cut that measures 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 – 3 inches. The uniformity of slices makes a dish more attractive and assures more even cooking.

Beard James – A well known authority in food services, he is the author of many books, had his own catering business and restaurant, and was the first person in the industry to have a television show. He died in 1985. Since then the James Beard Foundation of New York awards chefs, food and beverage professionals, broadcast media, journalists, and authors working on food, and restaurant architects and designers awards that are so prestigious they have been called the Oscars for the food industry by Time magazine.

Béchamel – A cooking term that refers to a basic white sauce made of milk, butter, and fl our (roux). It is the basis for many other sauces such as Mornay sauce beef cart . A mobile cart used for keeping meat at serving temperature in the dining room while a server or other employee slices it for customer consumption.

Beer System – A method used in some restaurants or bars for beer dispensing. The kegs of beers are kept in a refrigerated location and a system of pressurized, insulated, and refrigerated lines transports it to dispensers at the bar.

Biological Hazard – Not just a medical term, in the food services industry this term refers to the potential contamination of food by pathogenic microorganisms.

Blanch – A cooking process usually used for fruits or vegetables. The food product is immersed in boiling water for a brief period of time. Sometimes this process is followed by an immersion in ice to stop the cooking process.

Blast Chiller- A refrigeration unit that circulates cold air. The benefit to using it is that it can reduce the temperatures of hot foods very quickly.

Bolster – A kitchen term that refers to a part of cooking knives. The bolster is the part of the knife that joins the blade to the handle.Its purpose is to add weight and balance, keeping the chef’s hand steady.

Bottle Trough – A bar term that refers to the trough mounted to the bar work board where frequently used bottles of alcohol and mixers are kept.

Boulangerie – A term that originated in France, it refers to a bakery that specializes in bread and rolls.

Bouquet Garni – A French cooking term that refers to a bundle of herbs tied together and put into a pot to boil for stock or soups. They are then removed before the dish is served. There is no one recipe for bouquet garni, it may vary according to the dish it is seasoning. A soup garni may consist of herbs such as basil, burnet, thyme, chervil, rosemary, peppercorns, savory, and tarragon.

Branded Concept – A term that refers to an operation’s marketing campaign. This is a campaign that communicates an identifiable and consistent brand to consumers over time.

Branded Product Costs – An accounting term for franchisees, this refers to the costs of products it is necessary to buy to maintain the franchise or license agreement.

Breading Machine – A piece of kitchen equipment that coats food items with breading mix.

Brix – A kitchen term that refers to the percentage of sugar in a product that contains syrup or other sugar solution.

Broadline Distributor – A distributor that carries a complete and broad line of products to serve the food service industry including dry grocery, frozen, tabletop, equipment and supplies. Some broadliners carry perishable food items such as meat, dairy, and produce. A typical broadline distributor can carry 8,000 to 12,000 stock-keeping units. In addition to products broadliners also offer credit terms and other services that can add value to the food service operator.

Broker – A wholesaler who brings buyers and sellers together.

Brunoise – A name for a knife cut that produces small, uniform pieces, measuring 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch.

Buffalo Chopper – A piece of kitchen equipment that is used to fi nely chop food items. Food can be either cooked or raw.

Business And Industry – This is a segment of the food services industry that feeds employees in offices, factories, and plants. According to Technomic, a large extent of this service is handled by contract feeding companies such as ARAMARK, Service America, and Canteen.

Bussing  A word used to describe the act of clearing away used plates and silverware from a table in a restaurant dining area. Sometimes this job also entails preparing the table for the next customer.

Buying Groups – Companies that consolidate purchases and provide support for their distributor members. Most often small, medium, and even some large broadline distributors are members of a buying group. Technomic says most buying groups carry their own members’ distributor-label products.

By-The-Ounce – This is a strategy employed by several restaurants in different segments. Customers prepare their own salads, soups, or other foods and are charged by the ounce. Other restaurants use this strategy for steaks. The customer chooses the cut of steak and is charged by the ounce.

Cafeterias/ Buffets – According to the United States Census Bureau, this segment of the food services industry consists of food service operations that serve patrons in a continuous line. The menu consists of various foods that are prepared and ready as customers move through the cafeteria line.

Caramelization – Cooking term that refers to foods with high sugar content that are cooked at high temperatures, usually 300 degrees or higher, to release the sugars and brown.

Casual Dining Restaurant – The casual dining restaurant is a sub segment of the full-service segment. In full-service restaurants, patrons receive table service, versus ordering at a counter. In casual dining restaurants, establishments have table service, full bar service, and focus on lunch and dinner dayparts. Check averages are between $10 and $25 per person.

Chain/Multiunit Operators – Chain or multiunit companies are those that operate more than 10 food service establishments and maintain some degree of centralized control. Chain/multiunit operators manage both commercial and noncommercial

Chapati – A flatbread that originated in India and which cooked on a hot griddle.

Check Averages – Used as a measurement and defi ning factor most often in the food services industry, this term refers to the average dollar amount of checks at a particular restaurant. chemical hazard Applicable to all food services operations, this term refers to the potential contamination of food by other chemicals found in an operation’s facilities such as cleaners and pesticides.

Colleges and Universities – Colleges and universities represent a market in the food services industry. Included in this group are public and private two-year and four-year colleges and junior college programs. The key food service areas are board contracts in dormitories, cafeterias, snack shops, and special function services.

Combi-Ovens – These ovens offer a bit more versatility; they can cook foods with dry/convection heat or steam heat.

Comfort Foods – Menu items intended to remind customers of old fashioned, traditional, home-cooked American meals.

Commercial Establishments – In the industry this term refers to public establishments, which could be housed in freestanding buildings or included in or part of another establishment, with the objective of preparing, serving, and selling meals and snacks for profit to the general public. This is how this part of the industry is distinguished from noncommercial establishments.

Commissary System – Used primarily by food service operations with multiple locations, a central production kitchen controls the cooking and food supply and delivers the food to the other locations.

Contract Food Services – Used most commonly by non-restaurant operations, this refers to companies that offer cafeteria or food services to their employees, but have contracted with outsider vendors to supply the food and/or service. convenience store (petroleum-based) Convenience stores represent a portion of the food services industry, because they often sell and serve food and beverages. Technomic further breaks this category into petroleum based, and traditional convenience stores. The petroleum based segment consists of convenience stores that are part of gas stations.

Convenience Store (traditional) – Higher margin grocery stores that do not have a broad inventory or product offering and are not part of gas stations.

Conventional Supermarket – Supermarkets are considered part of the food services industry when they sell ready to eat foods in delis or bakeries. Technomic, a fact-based research and food services consulting firm says supermarkets offer a full line of groceries, meat, and produce and earn at least $2 million in annual sales. These stores typically carry at least 9,000 items. Most of these full-service stores also offer a service deli and bakery.

Conveyor Ovens – Ovens used frequently for pizzas and subs, they are set at one temperature and a conveyor belt moves the food through the oven so it is consistently baked each time.

Cook/Chill Method – A cooking method most commonly used in institutions such as hospitals and prisons, food is prepared by conventional methods and then chilled or refrigerated until time for use.

Cook/ Freeze – A cooking method used in institutions such as prisons or other non-restaurant food service preparations, like cook/ chill or ready/prepared, food is prepared by conventional methods and then chilled or refrigerated until time for use.

Cook-Hold Oven – An oven that cooks foods slowly. The benefit of this is that the food retains more moisture, shrinks less, and is more flavorful.

Costing – An important part of budgeting, forecasting, and planning, this is the process used to determine an operation’s costs and potential profits.

Critical Control Point – Part of the HACCP food safety process, any point in a food system where loss of control could pose an unacceptable health risk.

Cross-Contamination – In kitchens cross-contamination can occur when bacteria in one food is transferred to others through cutting boards, knives, unclean countertops, or hands.

C-Stores – Another name for cash and carry convenience stories.

**Custom Sandwich -**A menu item that allows customers to custom build their sandwiches from a published list of ingredients. Usually the term refers to cold sandwiches only.

Cycle Menu – A strategy of many restaurants, usually ones in the full-service segment, in which a set of planned menus is cycled through during regular time periods such as winter, spring, and fall.

Danger Zone – In the food services industry this term refers to the United States Food and Drug Administration’s determination that foods at temperatures between 41 and 140 degrees are at higher risk for contamination. It was found that bacteria rapidly multiply in foods in this range of temperatures.

Dayparts  In the food services industry this term refers to the various meal times throughout the day, such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner dayparts. Not all restaurants serve customers during all of these dayparts. Dayparts are viewed as different markets for restaurants.

Direct Subsidy  Restaurant accounting term which refers to money used to offset the difference between food service sales and expenses.

Display Cooking **-**This term refers to a restaurant design, first started in California where the kitchen and food preparation is visible to the patrons; also known as open kitchen design.

Drug Stores – Drug stores can be considered part of the food services industry when they sell food products. A drug store is defined by the United States Census Bureau as an establishment that sells prescription drugs. It may also sell a variety of additional items related to health care, beauty and skin care products, and other household items. Some of these establishments may also feature a soda fountain or lunch counter.

Du jour Menu – Many operations offer this current day menu, giving the operation the opportunity to provide seasonal or more creative or profitable fare.

Dunnage – Rack A platform used to store cases or bags of food in a cold storage unit or storeroom. The platform may be mobile or stationary, solid or louvered.

Durable Equipment – Restaurant equipment that becomes a permanent part of the facilities. This term can refer to equipment used in service, preparation, or storage of food.

ECR – Electronic cash registers that also maintain data of all products sold.

Edible Portion – This is a kitchen term that refers to the weight of a menu item after it has been trimmed, prepared, and cooked.

Escoffier Auguste – The name of a French chef who lived in the late 1800s through the early 1900s who revolutionized the workings of kitchens and created many famous recipes such as Peach Melba. He also wrote the book The Culinary Guide in 1903.

Expendable Equipment – This term refers to small items used in food services that are frequently lost or broken and will need to be frequently replaced. Examples of these items are plates, silverware, and kitchen utensils.

Factor Pricing – A method for determining menu pricing. This method takes your target food-cost percentage (how much you want to make on this item, most establishments target a percentage of 10 to 20 percent), and divide it into 100. For example if you want to make a 20 percent profit, take 20 and divide it into 100. Your factor is 5.00. Then you multiply this factor by the actual food cost of an item. If the cost of a steak on your menu is $3.00, multiply it by your factor $5.00 and the menu price of that item is $15.00.

Family Value Marketing – A pricing strategy in restaurants or other food service established aimed to appeal to parents’ budgets.

FF&E – Abbreviation that stands for furniture, fixtures, and equipment in a food service operation.

Fine-Dining Restaurant – A subsegment of the full-service segment, these establishments emphasize dinner and check averages are typically more than $20 per person. These restaurants are also known as white tablecloth restaurants.

First-In-First-Out – Used by a variety of food services organizations, this is a food inventory method that is used to ensure that products are used in the order they arrive at the location.

Flow Of Food – This term applies to all food service operations, and refers to, from start to finish, how food enters a restaurant or food service operation, and the path leading to its final destination.

Food Cost Percentage Pricing – A method for determining menu pricing. Of all the pricing methods, this one is the most widely used. It takes the price of an item and divides it by the target food cost percentage. For example if you have a burger on your menu that costs you $1.00 to prepare, and your target food cost percentage (how much you want to make on this item, most establishments target a percentage of 10 to 20 percent) is 25 percent, $1.00 divided by 25% = $4.00.

Food Merchandiser – Used frequently by restaurants that sell items for customers to take home like desserts or other baked goods, or by cafeteria-style restaurant formats, this term refers to refrigerated or heated cabinets with glass doors or ends.

Food Service – Management Firms or Contract Feeders This term refers to companies that operate and manage food service facilities within and/or for other establishments (usually noncommercial establishments like prisons) for the purpose of making a profit.

Forecasting – The estimate of the quantity of food needed for a day or other specified time period.

Front of the House – This term is also written and spoken as “front-of-house,” and refers primarily to all operations and employees in a restaurant or food services establishment that take place or work in the public eating area.

Full-Service Restaurants – Restaurants that offer a relatively broad menu along with table, counter, and/or booth service. Customers are waited on at their tables rather than walking to order counters. These establishments primarily offer meals for immediate consumption at their locations, but customers can also order food for take-out. garde manger This entry-level position in the kitchen is responsible for preparing cold foods.

General Merchandise Stores – These businesses are sometimes included in the food services category when they sell food. The United States Census Bureau defines these stores as retail stores that sell a broad variety of products across a number of categories, including dry goods, clothing, furniture, house wares, hardware, and food. Variety stores, department stores, and warehouse clubs are included in this category. According to Technomic, general merchandise stores and drug stores are often combined to form the general merchandise/drug segment.

Grade – In the food services industry meats, poultry, and eggs are given grades to designate their quality. The higher the quality of the product, the higher the grade will be.

Gray Water – This is a kitchen term that refers to wash water and other water that is disposed of through sink drains.

Gremolata – This kitchen term refers to a condiment that is made with minced parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. It is usually paired with veal but also goes well with fi sh and seafood.

Gross Margin – Accounting term that indicates the amount derived by subtracting the unit cost from the unit price, or total cost from total price.

Gross-Profit Pricing – This method of menu pricing is appropriate for established organizations with several months of history, and after an item has been on the menu prior to knowing its actual costs. This is calculated using the following information: past revenue in dollars, past gross profit in dollars, past number of customers, and the item’s actual food cost. The revised menu cost is determined by dividing the gross profit by the number of customers. The result is an average gross profit per customer. Add the average gross profit per customer to the item’s actual food cost and the final result is its menu price.

Group Purchasing Organizations – Organizations of the food services industry whose main function is to consolidate purchases and provide support for their food service distributor members. Most small, medium, and even some large broadline distributors are members of a group purchasing organization. Additionally, most GPOs carry their own members’ distributor-label products.

Hazard Analysis – Used in all food service operations, this is a system for food safety that details safe food handling procedures and potential hazards to food safety. It identifies potential food safety hazards so that key actions known as Critical Control Points (CCPs) can be taken to reduce or eliminate risks of hazards occurring.

Home Meal Replacements – Becoming a more popular strategy at many restaurants in all segments, menu offerings designed by restaurants that families can take home and eat together.

Indirect Subsidy – An accounting term that includes all the costs of operating a facility, including rent, security, property taxes, insurance, and other overhead.

In-House Management – Mainly used in food service operations other than restaurants, this term primarily refers to facilities that own and operate their own food service departments. For example, a hospital or large company that provides cafeteria services to its employees.

Julienne – A commonly used knife cut, slices measure 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch by 2 1/2 inches.

Just-In-Time Inventory Control- Used in many food service operations, this is an inventory management system that looks at suppliers’ and customers’ demands over time and works to reduce inventory costs.

Kitchen Brigade System – This is a term that refers to a method of organizing kitchen staff members created by Auguste Escoffier, a French chef in the late-1800s and still used by most food services establishments today. It is an organizational chart for the kitchen, and defines jobs and a chain of command with the chef at the top of the hierarchy.

K-minus- Industry term used to refer to a food service facility that does not contain a kitchen. Instead a central kitchen prepares the food and transports it to the facility.

Layout – Used primarily in kitchens, this refers to a plan for equipment placement in a given room.

Limited Service Restaurant- Establishments whose patrons generally order or select items and pay before eating. Food and drink may be consumed on premises, taken out, or delivered to customers’ locations. Note: This segment consists of quick service, cafeterias, and buffets.

Maitre D’hotel – Often shortened to maitre d’ can be responsible for a wide range of duties, from seating guests, to overseeing servers, and handling customer complaints. Most often the maitre d’ ensures that guests are seated as promptly and comfortably as possible and that the turnover of seating during operating hours is smooth.

Manning Chart – A chart that graphically depicts the staffing needs of a food service operation. The chart includes job titles, functions, and time schedule.

Marketing Channel – This term refers to the entire cycle of food delivery, from the growers of food products to the final customer ordering and receiving a menu item at the restaurant.

Market Segmentation- Used to determine an operation’s customer base, this is the process of separating customers into distinct groups based on factors such as geographic location or demographics.

Matzoh – A type of Jewish unleavened, baked flatbread.

Meal Solutions – Similar to home meal replacements, a term that refers to menu items offered by restaurants that families can take home and eat together.

Menu Explosion – Used by management or owners to determine kitchen equipment needs in new or remodeled kitchens, this is a process that calculates the amounts of food prepared for each menu item in a specific kitchen.

Menu Matrix – A menu matrix is used to determine the amount of products sold in a restaurant, and is typically used to determine food costs.

Menu Pattern or Meal Plan – This term can be used by all categories of the food services industry and refers to an outline of each menu category and the number of selections offered in each category.

Mid-Scale Restaurant – A sub-section of the full-service category, mid-scale restaurants offer table service but limited or no alcohol beverage service. Check averages are in the $6 to $10 per person range.

Mirepoix – A cooking term that refers to a mixture of chopped carrots, celery, and onions, which are used in many soups, stews, and sauces.

Misbranded – The food industry must comply with the Food and Drug Administration regulations. The FDA dictates what needs to be on the label of food products. An item is considered misbranded if the information on the label is not complete or is misleading.

Modular Equipment – Kitchen equipment that is the same height, color, and design. Each piece can be purchased and used separately, or in various combinations.

Molé – A Mexican sauce concocted with many spices, vegetables, and even chocolate; it may have originated in Spain in the late 17th century, or with the Aztecs.

MTO – Abbreviation for restaurants that provide menu items to their clients that are made to order.

Noncommercial Establishments – Another term for institutional food services, this refers to all nonpublic facilities where meals and snacks are prepared and served to support the population of the facility, and not as its main source of revenue or business plan.

Nonselective Menu – This term refers to menus that offer no choices in each category. order wheel Metal or wood wheel with clips used by cooks and servers to track customer food orders.

Organic Foods – The United States Food and Drug Administration defines organic produce as that which “is grown without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bio engineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a government approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer meets the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it reaches the supermarket or restaurant must be certified too.”

Other Noncommercial – This classification of food service operations is primarily used by Technomic. It defines this category as follows: a significant number of other establishments that offer food service either for profit or in charitable establishments. This segment is composed of several small groups that usually offer some kind of food service, usually cafeteria-style. They are typically child care centers, penal institutions, or religious organizations like convents. other retail hosts Many retail businesses sell food and beverages as a part of their business model. This segment includes miscellaneous retailers (liquor, bakeries, etc.) and does not represent a large percentage of the industry.

Participation Ratio – This number allows operators to determine the ratio of people that are actually using the facility during any specific day part or time period. It is calculated by taking the total population in the facility’s area and dividing it by the number of customers.

Participation Stimulators – Another term for marketing or other efforts to drive more customers in the door, such as special events, sales, or offers.

**Pellet -**This term refers to a preheated metal disk that is used to maintain the temperature of an individual portion of plated hot food.

Per Capita Spending – A calculation that allows the food service operator to determine how much money each person spends at his or her operation in a given population and time period. It is calculated by taking total food sales over the specific time and dividing it by the available population.

Perpetual Inventory – This term refers to an ongoing record of the quantities of each food product that are available in an operation’s storage facilities.

Personal Chefs – Personal chefs began making an appearance in 1991. While the term could apply to chefs that work for an individual household full time, its more recent and prevalent function is that of a chef that prepares full meals for several clients and delivers them to the homes. Personal chefs also prepare the meals in the homes of the clients.

Physical Inventory – Food services operations often conduct a physical count of all items available in their storage facilities to make sure they match with facility records.

Plate Presentation – A kitchen term that refers to how a dish is presented to a customer. The more well-presented an item is, the higher the customer perceives its value.

Plating – This is a kitchen term that refers to the process of putting a customer’s food on the plate and includes adding sauces or garnish. Plating is an important part of the presentation of the meal.

Poaching – Kitchen term that refers to a cooking process used to prepare delicate foods like eggs or fish. The food is lightly simmered in a liquid, which can be milk, water, or broths.

Point-of-Sale Terminals (POS) – This is a combination of cash registers and computers that keeps track of items sold. Today’s POS systems can provide a great deal of helpful information and safeguards.

Poori – A fried flat bread that originated in India.

Portion-Pak – Small individual-size portions of condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise, in disposable packaging.

Potentialized Food Cost – This calculation allows operators to determine where their food costs are exceeding their ideal costs for each item. Given an operation’s menu matrix, an ideal food cost is noted for each item.

Pre-Portioned – Food items such as meats or vegetables that are sold fully trimmed and portioned and ready to prepare.

Primary Market – Part of the food services industry marketing channel, this is the most basic source of food supply, the growers or processors.

Primary/Secondary Schools Food Service – Primary/secondary schools food service encompasses all public and private primary and secondary school feeding. Total consumption is based on school purchases and government contributions, which together compose the total dollar value of food. The key components are: lunch participation, breakfast participation, milk programs, commodity contributions, and à la carte feedings.

Prime Cost Pricing – A common method for determining menu pricing, this technique takes labor costs into account. To use this method you need: total labor cost as a percentage, the labor cost for the specific menu item, actual item food cost, and target food cost as a percentage. To use this method, first add the cost of labor to prepare it to its food cost. Then determine what percentage the item’s labor cost is of your total labor cost, and you have the item’s labor percentage. Add this percentage to your target food cost percentage (the percent of profit you wish to make from the item). This sum is your prime food cost
percentage. Divide the total item cost by the prime food cost percentage, and the result is the menu price.

Prix Fix e Menu – Menu that offers the complete meal, with everything included in one price.

Production Schedule – This planning vehicle used by most operations is a thorough list of the menu items that will be prepared for the day, as well as a list of any advance preparation needed.

Productivity Rate – A measurement of the productivity of a specific employee or work group. There are various ways to measure productivity, such as sales dollars achieved per labor hour or meals served per hour.

Pulper – A piece of kitchen equipment that grinds garbage and waste, it is usually floor-mounted.

Punch List – Detailed checklist of all the equipment that will go into a facility, which is then tested to ensure equipment meets specifications before the facility actually opens.

Quick Casual – This segment of the restaurant industry is a sub segment of the limited-service restaurant segment. Restaurants are typically attractive and comfortable, and they serve freshly prepared (or foods perceived to be freshly prepared), wholesome quality, authentic foods in a reasonably fast service format. Check averages are usually in the $6–9 per person range.

Ready-Prepared – A cooking method most often used in institutions such as prisons, in which food is prepared by conventional methods and then chilled or refrigerated until time for consumption.

Rechaud – A term that refers to a small table with a small heater on it. In restaurants it is placed by customers’ tables to keep hot foods hot while customers are eating other items.

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) – Determined by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., this term refers to the nutrient levels needed per age group and gender for a healthy, balanced diet. The RDAs determine healthy levels of vitamins and food groups.

Remouillage – A French cooking term that means “rewetting.” Chefs use bones to make stock, and remouillage occurs when the same bones are used again to make another pot of stock.

Rethermalization- This cooking method refers to the process of bringing foods that have been cooked and chilled or frozen for later use back to eating temperatures.

Revolving Tray Oven – An oven that can use gas, electric, or oil heat, it contains a Ferris Wheel-like device that rotates trays of food. Trays are loaded or unloaded through one door.

Roux – A French cooking term that refers to the combination of fat, usually butter, and fl our used to thicken sauces and soups.

Running Rate – An accounting term for food costs, this term refers to the average, current cost of a particular item over a specific time period.

Sachet – A cooking term referring to a small, tied bag made out of cheesecloth and fi lled with herbs and spices. The sachet is dropped into pots of soups or stews for added flavor.

Salad Engineer – A member of the wait staff who has mastered the art of carrying two fixed price self-service salads on one plate without spilling.

Salamander – A shelf or cabinet mounted over the back part of a range or steam table, it uses this heat to keep foods warm.

Satelliting – This term refers to when establishments sell or deliver food to other locations or facilities.

Schedule of Releases – Used for staffing purposes, this schedule breaks down each day part into segments, and details the number of staff members at each segment, and when each segment is released from work.

Scramble System – Used primarily for cafeteria-style business models, this system separates different various points of service, such as beverage service and desserts to improve customer flow and merchandising opportunities.

Secondary Market – This term refers to the second step in the marketing channel where food products from the primary markets are distributed to their buyers.

Selective Menu- Most commonly used in restaurant operations, these menus offer more than one choice of food items in all of its categories. self-operated food service An operation that is maintained and managed in-house.

Semi-A la carte Menus – Menus that offer meals that include one or more sides, like a vegetable and salad, but other items like soups, desserts, and appetizers are sold and priced separately.

Semi Selective Menu – Used most often in restaurants, menus that offer more than one choice of food item in at least one of its categories.

Servery – The area in cafeteria where food is served to customers.

Signature Items – Many restaurants or chefs build their concepts around a signature item, which is a menu item that is prepared in a way that makes it unique, and which the operation can then charge more for.

Single Service – In food services single service refers to disposable paper products used for serving food. It includes paper plates, napkins, cups, plastic silverware, etc.

Single-Use Menu – This term refers to a menu designed for a special occasion or holiday such as Thanksgiving, most commonly occurring in restaurants, but also other segments of the industry.

Small Plate Offerings – Similar to tapas, small plate offerings are a restaurant term that refers to an alternative to ordering a full meal. Instead customers can choose a small plate of snacks that provide tastes of many menu items. The advantages are customers get to sample many menu items, and prices for the small plate offerings are typically lower than ordering a full meal.

Sommelier – The sommelier, or wine steward, is in charge of wines at a restaurant. The wine steward must be knowledgeable of all the many kinds of wines, vintages, and wineries and be able to discuss them with customers.

Sous Chef – Part of the kitchen staff, the sous chef is considered second in command of the kitchen. In smaller operations, he or she may do many things. In larger establishments, he or she will direct other specialists in the kitchen.

Sous Vide – Kitchen term referring to a production method in which food is fully cooked and then vacuum-packed.

Specialty Distributor – In the food services industry specialty distributors distribute foods in a specific product category (e.g., meat, dairy, produce, equipment, beverages, ethnic foods, etc.) to restaurants or a specific segment (airlines, vending, etc.). Like broadline distributors they provide delivery, credit, sales representation and other value-added services. The main difference between specialty distributors and broadliners is that specialty distributors do not carry a full line of food service products. Instead they typically carry a broader and deeper line of products within their specialization categories.

Spoken Menu – Used most often in fine-dining establishments, this is a method for communicating the menu to customers. In this method the menu is read to the customers and offers a means of servers employing suggestive selling.

Spoodle – This is a kitchen term that refers to a utensil used for serving food. It is a combination of a spoon and a ladle. They are often used to guarantee portion sizes.

Standardized Recipe – As the name suggests, it is an establishment’s own recipe for a particular menu item. Using standardized recipes for menu items ensures quality, consistency, cost control, makes pricing easier, helps create inventory and purchasing lists, and helps in training new employees on the item.

Standards of Fill – The FDA’s standards that detail the minimum amounts that need to be contained in each product container. These guidelines are used most often by food manufacturers and processors.

**Standards of Identity -**This term refers to the FDA’s guidelines for what an item needs to contain to be able to label it a certain product. For example if a product is labeled low fat, the FDA’s guidelines dictate the percentage of fat it can contain to carry that label.

Standards of Quality – The FDA’s guidelines defining quality and describing the number and kinds of defects allowable in products, primarily canned fruits and vegetables.

Static Menu – Used in many restaurants, a menu that remains the same every day.

Straight Line System – Older, more traditional cafeteria model where customers obtain all food and beverage items in one long straight line. This is not always the most efficient system and can create long lines.

Suggestive Selling – Used most often in full-service food services operations, suggestive selling occurs when the server in a restaurant suggests particular menu items, extras, or describes daily specials.

Supermarket Food Service – A growing number of supermarkets compete with restaurants and other segments of the food services industry by providing ready-to-eat foods, typically in deli departments. All prepared ready-to-eat or ready-to-drink products from a supermarket’s deli except for bulk or unfinished items like meats, cheeses, and assembled but uncooked pizzas are considered supermarket food service. Specific deli products classified as food service include beverages, desserts, fresh salads, fried or barbecued chicken, barbecued ribs, hot prepared entrees, sandwiches, yogurt, tacos, soup, salads and other self-service bars. Additionally, restaurants, food bars, and kiosks operating within the store are classified as supermarket food service.

Sweat – This cooking term refers to a method in which vegetables are cooked in a small amount of oil and butter. Sweating is known to bring out the flavors of the vegetables, while sautéing seals them within.

Systems Distributor – A food service systems distributor exclusively serves chain restaurants and other multi-tenant operators. They only carry the items used by their chain customers, typically only 500 to 1,000 stock-keeping units. Usually systems distributors do not provide sales representation for the products they carry.

Table d’hote Menu – This term refers to a menu that lists and prices complete meals.

Tapas – Although tapas have been around in Spain for many years, they are a relatively new trend in the United States. Tapas refer to an order of small bites of food that are typically served with alcoholic beverages. They can be anything from cheeses, olives, and cured meats, to tuna. They differ from appetizers in one important aspect: they are not meant to be a prelude to an entree, but to be eaten with the drink until the person is full.

Tempered- Frozen foods that are thawed by placing them in the refrigerator. This can also refer to a technique of slowly adding hot liquids to cold ingredients and is done so the cold items will not curdle.

Toque Blanche – The French term used universally for the chef’s hat.

Transportation Food Service – Transportation food service is a segment of the food services industry that primarily refers to airlines and other transportation companies that serve food as part of their services.

Upscaled Menus – Usually used in fine-dining restaurants, menu items are designed to appeal to gourmets, usually with more expensive ingredients.

Vended Food Service – A food service facility where all food is dispensed through automatic merchandising equipment.

Vending – The vending market is defined as all food and beverage products sold through automatic vending machines, regardless of their location. Not included are other vended products such as cigarettes, cigars, bulk vending, and other nonfood items.

Verbal Menus – Another term for spoken menus, used by some fine-dining establishments. Verbal menus are where servers verbally present the day’s options to guests. This gives the servers opportunities for suggestive selling.

Whole Foods – Often confused with organic foods, whole foods are not necessarily organic, and vice versa. The term refers to foods that are unprocessed and unrefi ned, or minimally processed or refined.

Yield Test – Yield tests are most often conducted by restaurants and food processors, and determine how much of a food product is edible after it is prepared and how much is discarded.