Front of House Technology: How to Accomplish More With Less
Front of house (FOH) technology can allow restaurant wait staff to accomplish more with less. The restaurant industry consists of many solutions that streamline front of house operations. Unlike back of house functions, a restaurant’s front of house features directly impact the customers.
Accomplishing more with less is ideal for efficiency and productivity. In turn, restaurants will be able to establish excellent customer service. Sounds like a win-win to us!
Let’s learn all about front of house operations and which restaurant tech solutions can enhance this sector of your business!
Front of House: What Does Front of House Mean?
Front of house is a term used to describe a particular section of a restaurant. It’s the section that involves direct correspondence between staff and customers.
Imagine you’re a customer dining out–any staff member you interact with is a front of house employee. However, if you’re a working professional inside the kitchen, most of your team members will be back of house employees.
FOH Meaning Slang
The FOH meaning also includes numerous slang terms. All the following terms are used across front of house operations to describe various situations:
- Campers: Parties who linger for an extended period of time, which is an issue for upcoming reservations and table turnover rates.
- Chef’s Table: An exclusive table with privacy and a view of the kitchen.
- Comp: Short for complementary, referring to something that’s free.
- Corner: A term used when a server is carrying dishes while turning a corner, to avoid an oncoming collision.
- Covers: The number of meals served to seated guests. If five parties of three each have one dish, that would be fifteen covers.
- Cut: When the manager ends a staff member’s shift due to slow traffic.
- Double: When an employee works two shifts back to back.
- Grat: The term short for gratuity, that some refer to as the tip.
- Huddle-Up: A meeting that takes place before a shift where the manager discusses upselling initiatives, sold-out items, and more.
- In the Weeds: An inability to catch up due to an overwhelming amount of work.
- No Call No Show: A party that doesn’t call to cancel a reservation and doesn’t show up.
- Party: The group of people sitting at each table.
- Pick Up: The act of handling duties for a table not assigned to you, especially when the table’s server is “in the weeds.”
- Push: an effort to sell something in particular. This is usually a profitable menu item or a best-seller.
- Reservation: Refers to the act of reserving a table. Reservations are booked time slots for individual parties.
- Run: Retrieving food or drinks from the kitchen and bringing them to the appropriate table.
- Table Service: The dine-in option where a server is assigned to each table. This dining style is the complete opposite of a buffet.
- Tasting Menu: A selection of menu items carefully chosen by the chef. In many luxury restaurants, this is another term for a chef’s tasting menu.
- Turn and Burn: A term used when making an effort to speed up the table turnover rate.
Front of House Restaurant Technology
Front of house technology allows professionals to increase productivity with fewer tools on hand. In a traditional setting, restaurant staff must manually track various operations and systems. Not only can this lead to work overload, but it can result in errors.
If you’d like to discover how you can accomplish more with less, continue reading about four of the best front of house technology options!
1. Integrated POS Systems
With the right POS system, business owners don’t have to manually track customer data metrics, such as cart values and favorite menu items. Instead, they can use sales reports to find answers. Such information will help guide restaurant marketing strategies, menu engineering, and other updates.
A POS platform is also the software necessary to efficiently manage a restaurant loyalty program. When loyalty programs first became popular in restaurants, customers would have to bring a punch card to gain and redeem rewards. This method raises issues when it comes to tampering with the card or losing it. With a POS platform that syncs relevant data, points can automatically be stored and redeemed when possible.
An all-inclusive POS platform can also assist an understaffed eatery. With scheduling software built into the system, the restaurant manager can assign the right number of team members to each shift. In doing so, employees can prepare for their jobs more efficiently.
2. Kitchen Display System
It might seem as though a kitchen display system (KDS) is a back of house solution. After all, various types of chefs utilize this tool to sort and complete orders. However, they would not be valuable if front of house employees did not have mutual access.
You see, kitchen display systems streamline the communication between servers, hosts, and chefs. After waiters input orders, they appear on the kitchen’s screens. The same series of events takes place when ordering via apps, tableside devices, and QR codes.
Using a kitchen display system is the fastest way to inform chefs about which meals to prepare next. It also makes the wait staff’s jobs more straightforward, too. Instead of reporting back to the kitchen with every new order, or even interrupting the back of house staff while they’re working, they can simply add new items in chronological order to the KDS.
Another great concept surrounding kitchen display systems is that chefs have each order as a reference. Digital copies can be more legible and descriptive than handwritten orders from the wait staff. So in theory, a KDS can help chefs ensure the accuracy and tweaks of each dish.
3. Tableside Devices
If you’re wondering how you can do more with less, consider gathering inspiration from pay at table restaurants. Tableside devices allow customers to accomplish numerous tasks independently. During this time, staff members can monitor more pertinent tasks.
Two of the most common reasons why consumers use tableside devices are to order menu items and pay the bill; however, both of these tasks take time for the server. But instead, each request can enter the KDS as soon as a guest taps the order button on their device. At this time, it’ll also enter the restaurant POS platform so that it gets added to the bill.
If a restaurant is trying to limit the labor cost, tableside devices can be a valuable solution. Since there will be fewer tasks that the wait staff needs to handle, they can all tend to more tables. A higher number of parties with fewer staff members is a recipe for greater profits.
4. QR Codes
A custom QR code is a simple yet powerful front of house tool. They allow customers to view the menu types and place orders without their server present. Similar to tableside devices, QR codes eliminate the need for a large staff.
It’s also convenient for restaurant staff to have editorial access to the digital menus. If you ever run out of an ingredient, discontinue an item, or come up with a new dish, there’s no need to print out new menus each time. Just update the QR code menu from the business’ account.
Frequently Asked Questions About Front of House
No matter what your role is inside a restaurant, understanding front of house slang and technology is a necessity. Read on for a brief overview about the topic.
What Does Front of House Mean?
The term “front of house” refers to the staff members and operations that directly involve customers. In a restaurant setting, the front of house consists of dining room functions and wait staff duties.
What Is a Front of House Position?
A front of house position is one that directly interacts with customers. On the flipside, back of house employees are those that work behind the scenes.
What Does Front of House Mean In a Restaurant?
Front of house in a restaurant refers to customer-facing operations. To name a few, front of house roles in a restaurant include the wait staff, bartenders, and hosts.
What Is Front of House vs. Back of House?
Think about it this way–front of house functions consist of all customer-facing operations, while back of house duties consist of the “behind the scenes.” You can also view it as front of house being where the service takes place, while back of house is where food preparation happens.
Why Is It Called Front of House?
It is called “front of house” since relevant areas of the restaurant are physically located in the front of the building. This term also refers to all of the public-facing sectors of the business. For example, the waiting area, dining room, and bar are all front of house sections.