Glossary of Restaurant Terms

Hone’s comprehensive glossary of restaurant accounting and bookkeeping terms to help restaurant owners and operators make smart decisions for their business.  

Glossary Category

3rd Party Sales

Revenue generated by third-party services, such as food delivery platforms or online ordering systems. These sales are based on an agreed upon split between the service provider and the restaurant, and are unique to each individual agreement.


A slang term used conversly to the popular “86” term. Whereas “86” means an item is no longer available, “68” is used to inform the staff that a previously “86’d” item is now avilable again.

86, 86’d

A slang term used among restaurant staff to inform each other that a particular item is no longer avilable either permenantly or temporarily. It could be due to the item being sold out, unavailable, or discontinued. “86 the Caprese Salad” means that there are no more Caprese salads available to sell.

Accounting Periods

Specific timeframes (e.g., monthly, quarterly, annually) during which financial transactions are recorded and financial statements are prepared.

Accounts Payable

Amounts owed by a restaurant to its suppliers or vendors for goods or services received but not yet paid.

Accounts Recievable

Amounts owed to a restaurant by its customers for goods or services provided on credit.


Accrual is an accounting method that records revenue and expenses when they are earned or incurred, rather than when cash is received or paid. It ensures that financial transactions are recorded in the period they relate to, regardless of when the actual cash exchange occurs.


The process of gradually reducing the value of an intangible asset, such as a patent or copyright, over its estimated useful life by allocating its cost over time.


Resources owned by a restaurant that have economic value, such as cash, inventory, equipment, furniture, and accounts receivable.

Balance Sheet

A financial statement that provides a snapshot of a restaurant’s financial position at a specific point in time, showing its assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity.


“Back of House” refers to the areas and staff dedicated to kitchen operations, food preparation, and storage. It includes positions like chefs, line cooks, dishwashers, and other kitchen staff members.

Break Even Point

The level of sales or revenue at which a restaurant’s total costs equal its total revenue, resulting in neither profit nor loss.


Commonly utelized small metal cups often used for sides of sauces, butters, and accompaniemnts on dishes.

Campers, Camping Out

The less than favorable title given to guests when they linger at a table well after they are actively ordering food or drinks. The act of “Camping Out” is frowned upon by restaurant staff as it prevents the use of that table for another party of guests who may be waiting to sit down.

Cash Flow Statement

A financial statement that shows the inflows and outflows of cash during a specific accounting period. It categorizes cash flows into operating, investing, and financing activities.

Chart of Accounts (COA)

A structured list of all the accounts used by a restaurant to record financial transactions. It provides a systematic framework for organizing and classifying financial information.

Chef Mike

A casual and somewhat comedic term for a microwave. “Let Chef Mike cook it” means that you should microwave that item. Typically representative of lazy or unskilled kitchens.


The physical copy of an order, either hand written or printed. In some systems orders placed from a service POS will send different parts of that order to print at different stations. A single “order” may result in multiple “chits” printing at multiple locations.


A set of shifts scheduled back-to-back as a closing shift at night followed the next morning with an opening shift.


Short for “complimentary” this is the general term for the act of giving away food, drink, or merchandise. It is good policy to maintain a “comp tab” for your service staff to accurately track and monitor how much food and drink is being given away, aswell as WHY.

Controllable costs

Expenses that can be directly influenced or controlled by restaurant management, such as labor costs, food costs, and utility expenses.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

The direct costs incurred in producing the goods sold by a restaurant. It includes the cost of ingredients, raw materials, and any other costs directly related to food and beverage preparation.


Covers refer to the number of individual customers served in a restaurant. It is a common term used to track customer count and calculate various metrics, such as average check size and revenue per cover.

Dine n’ Dash

Direct Operating Expenses

The expenses directly associated with the day-to-day operations of a restaurant, such as food and beverage costs, labor expenses, and rent.


Dupes, short for duplicates, are printed copies of tickets generated in the kitchen or bar. They contain the details for the ordered items and their preparation instructions including special notes and modifications.

Earnings before income, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA)

A measure of a restaurant’s operating performance, calculated by subtracting operating expenses (excluding interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) from gross sales.


Abbreviation for Federal Employer Identification Number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). It is a unique identification number assigned by the IRS to a business for tax purposes.


Anagrams for “First In, First out” and “Last In, Last Out”. Both used interchangably as a standard practice of rotating your starage items to ensure perishable items are used in the order they were recieved. This practice protects against spoilage, waste, loss, and foodborn illnesses.


FOH refers to the area of a restaurant that is visible and accessible to customers, such as the dining area, host stand, and bar. It includes positions like servers, hosts, bartenders, and other customer-facing staff members.

Food Cost Percentage

The ratio of the cost of food sold to the revenue generated from food sales, expressed as a percentage. It helps determine the profitability and efficiency of a restaurant’s food operations.


Abbreviation for Federal Unemployment Insurance, which is a payroll tax imposed on employers to fund unemployment benefits.


Abbreviation for General and Administrative expenses, which include the indirect costs associated with running a restaurant, such as office supplies, utilities, insurance, and management salaries.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles(GAAP)

A set of standardized accounting principles, standards, and procedures that provide a framework for financial reporting, ensuring consistency and comparability of financial statements.

Gross Sales

The total revenue generated by a restaurant from all sales before deducting any discounts, returns, or allowances.


A commonly used call from an expediter to request that service staff who have free hands come to the window/pass to run food out to guests. “Hands Please!” would be the typical phrasing.

House Accounts

Accounts created for regular customers who have a credit arrangement with the restaurant. The customers are billed periodically for their purchases.

House Bank

A cash reserve maintained by the restaurant for making change and handling small cash transactions.


Abbreviation for Human Resources Information System, which is a software or system used to manage employee data, payroll, benefits, and other HR-related processes.

In the Weeds, Weeded

Being “in the weeds”, or “weeded”, describes the situation when an individual, or entire staff, is overwhelmed and struggling to keep up with service. Somone “in the weeds” is behind schedule, unable to complete orders quickly, or running out of supplies.


The stock of goods (food, beverages, supplies) held by a restaurant for use or sale.

Labor Cost %

A key performance indicator used to measure the percentage of a restaurant’s total revenue that is spent on labor expenses. It is calculated by dividing total labor costs (including wages, benefits, and taxes) by total revenue, and then converting that number to a percentage by multiplying it by 100.


The financial obligations or debts owed by a restaurant to external parties, such as loans

Liquor Cost

The cost of purchasing alcoholic beverages for the restaurant, often expressed as a percentage of liquor sales. Liquor cost for a period is starting inventory + purchases – ending inventory

Menu Engineering

The strategic analysis and optimization of a restaurant’s menu items to maximize profitability and customer satisfaction.

Menu Item Velocity Reporting

The analysis and reporting of sales data for individual menu items to identify the popularity and performance of each item.

Mis en Place

French term that translates to “everything in its place.” refers to the gathering and arrangement of all ingredients, tools, and equipment needed to be prepared for work. Meant to ensure efficiency while working.


Abbreviation for Master Service Agreement, which is a contract that outlines the terms and conditions between a service provider and a client.

NA Bev

Abbreviation for Non-Alcoholic Beverage.

Net Operating Income

The profit generated by a restaurant from its core operations, calculated by subtracting operating expenses from gross sales.

Net sales

The revenue generated by a restaurant after deducting any discounts, returns, or allowances from gross sales.

Note Payables

Written promises to repay borrowed funds at a specified future date, typically with interest.

Occupancy Expenses

The costs associated with renting or owning a restaurant space, including rent, property taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses.

On Fire

On the Fly

Open Menus

Asking how many “Open Menus” there are is asking how many guests are seated that have not ordered yet. typically asked by the kitchen staff it is meant to give the Chef and their team an idea of how many orders they may expect to see in the near future.

Operating Expenses

The costs incurred in running a restaurant’s day-to-day operations, including labor expenses, rent, utilities, marketing, and administrative expenses.


Owner: The individual or group of individuals who own and operate the restaurant.

Party, Party Of

Meaning “group” it is the term for guests and their group size. A group of four is called a “Party of Four”. Somewhat interchangable with the term “top”, although Party is the more acceptable phrasing when speaking to guests. “Top” is usually used as slang among staff.

Period End Review

The process of reviewing and reconciling financial records and transactions at the end of an accounting period to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Petty Cash

A small amount of cash kept on hand by the restaurant for minor expenses, such as small purchases or reimbursing employees for small business-related expenses.

P&L Statement

Abbreviation for Profit and Loss statement, also known as an income statement. It summarizes a restaurant’s revenues, expenses, and net profit or loss over a specific period.


Abbreviation for Point of Sale, which refers to the system or software used to process sales transactions, record customer orders, and manage inventory.

Prime Cost

The total cost of direct materials (food and beverages) and direct labor (wages of kitchen and service staff) involved in producing the restaurant’s goods or services.

Prime Cost as a Percentage of Sales

The ratio of prime cost to total sales, expressed as a percentage. It helps assess the efficiency of cost control measures in the restaurant.

Run, Ran


Sitting inventory

The inventory of food and beverages that are currently in stock and available for use in the restaurant.


Styled Out, Styling


SUI stands for State Unemployment Insurance, which is a program that provides temporary financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs. Employers are typically required to pay unemployment insurance taxes to fund these benefits.


SUTA refers to the state unemployment tax that employers are required to pay to fund unemployment benefits for their employees. It is a tax levied by the state government and varies from state to state.


In a restaurant, a ticket refers to an order or a bill generated for a customer. It typically includes details of the food and drinks ordered, any modifications or special requests, and the corresponding charges.

Turn & Burn

Turn Tables

Variable costs

Costs that fluctuate with changes in the level of business activity or production, such as food costs, beverage costs, and labor costs.


Walked, Walking, Walking Out