In honor of my second-to-last shift at the restaurant, here are ten random restaurant terms that are now permanently in my mental dictionary.
1. CORNER! We say this so much at work, to prevent collisions every time we blast around corners, that I say it sometimes when I'm not at work. Like when I'm at home, going into my room. Corner. Definitely a sign that I spent too much time waitressing this summer.
2. 86 tomatoes. This strange phrase, which I still don't exactly understand, means there are no more tomatoes. So if a notice on the whiteboard says 86 Jack Daniels or 86 food, we're all out.
3. Warning! As in, I've got a warning on a baked lasagna, shouted to the line cooks in the kitchen, to let them know that a ticket for baked lasagna is going to be fired soon.
4. Bar run. Kind of like a grocery run, this means a trip over to the bar to collect drinks. Except if you're slammed, and have no time to grab the drinks yourself, you shout, Can anyone do my bar run??
5. Double sat. When the host staff seats two tables in your section at the same time. Could possibly be triple sat if it's busy or there's a miscommunication at the front desk, and always means your next fifteen minutes are going to be sweaty.
6. Two-top. Slang for the number of customers at one table. If it's slow: I only have one two-top! Or if you get a table that's so huge you can't count it: This big-top is killing me!
7. Dying food. As in, food is dying in the window! meaning food has been sitting too long under the heat lamps and needs to go out asap.
8. Upsell. A big part of my job. Have you ever noticed that servers don't just take your order? They sell you random things off the menu, like appetizers or bar drinks, all part of a big marketing scam to rack in more cash at the end of the night. Would you like a glass of merlot with that?
9. Check average. Goes along with upselling. If you upsell enough appetizers and bar drinks, your average per-guest meal price shoots up from say, $10 (if they only order a basic entree) to $14 or $15 dollars. It's like a badge of honor: my check average is 16 tonight! Or a badge of horror: I had so many kids tonight, my check average is barely 8.
10. On the fly. If a ticket got rung up wrong, or if a customer thinks their pasta is too dry, you race to the window and shout, I need that alfredo sauce on the fly! and, hypothetically, the line cook drops everything and gets that alfredo out at the speed of light.