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Food & Beverage Service Terms

a carte

(noun) dishes chosen by the customer from any part of the menu A la carte gives you a wide choice, but costs more. 


(noun) the statement of what was ordered for a meal, the cost of each item, and the final total The bill is usually presented in a special folder, or on a dish. 


(noun) dishes of food arranged on a table for customers to help themselves A cold buffet will be provided instead of lunch for the conference delegates. 

butter pat

(noun) a small amount of butter served in a dish to the table Place a basket of bread and a butter pat on each table. 


(noun) small pastries with a savoury topping, served with drinks Trays of canapés were offered with drinks during the reception. 


(noun) a container for serving house wine at table I'll have a carafe of house red. 


(verb) to remove all food, plates and cutlery from a table at the end of a meal Clear the table quietly when dessert is finished. 


(noun) a customer The restaurant has a good number of regular clients. compliments of the house free to the customer ('on the house') We would like to offer your party a bottle of champagne, compliments of the house. 


 (noun) a container for holding salt, pepper, butter and sometimes mustard Put a cruet on each table. 


(noun) a client in a restaurant, or any other business Look after the customers well and they will come back again.


(noun) the last course of the meal, usually something sweet For dessert, we have a range of home-made ice-creams. 

dessert spoon

 (noun) an oval spoon, used for dessert Put the dessert spoon above the place setting


(noun) a customer in a restaurant In this restaurant, we have one waiter for every six diners. 

dining area

(noun) the part of the restaurant where the tables are arranged The dining area should not be close to the kitchen. 

dinner plate

(noun) a big plate for the main dish of the meal Arrange the main dish and vegetables attractively on a dinner plate and present it to the customer. 


 (noun) the main course of the meal, after the starter The entrées are listed after the hors d'oeuvres 


(verb) to meet and welcome customers Greet customers with a smile as soon as they come into the restaurant. 

hors d'oeuvres

(noun) the first course of a meal, usually something small Pate and hot toast is a nice hors-d'oeuvres to start the meal. 

house wine

(noun) wine at a lower price The house wine in this restaurant is worth trying. 

main course

(noun) the main dish of the meal, after the starter I'd like the special for my main course. 


(verb) to keep up service Your job is to maintain the take-away counter 

maitre d'hote

(noun) the head waiter The maitre d'hote is in charge of all the waiting staff. 


(noun) the list of dishes served by a restaurant We'd like a drink while we look at the menu. 


 (noun) a square of paper or cloth for wiping fingers and lips at the table Check that each place setting has a neatly-folded napkin. 


(noun) ingredients placed on the table to add to a meal, such as salt, pepper or tomato ketchup Put condiments on each table. 

order pad

(noun) a small notepad carried by each waiter, for taking orders When you write the order in the order pad, be sure to list the starter and main course separately. place 


(noun) a table place for one person, with cutlery, plates, glasses and a napkin Set this table ready with six place settings. 


(verb) to show a bottle of wine to the customer for approval before opening it. Present the bottle so that the customer can clearly see the label. 


 (noun) a small china dish for serving individual portions of butter Butter is served at the table in a ramekin. 


(noun) an official statement that a bill has been paid Here is your card and receipt. 

salad servers

 (noun) a matching pair of long spoons (tongs) especially for serving salad Use salad servers only for salad and not for other dishes. 


(verb) to bring customers' orders to the table Orders must be served within ten minutes of being ordered. 


(noun) the process of being served and brought food in a restaurant If the service is good, a customer will leave a generous tip. 

service area

(noun) the part of the restaurant where waiters deal with bills and orders, and where items for the tables are kept ready. Keep the space around the service area clear for quick access. 


 (noun) a square of paper or cloth for wiping fingers and lips at the table Help yourself to a serviette from the dispenser on the counter. 

serving spoon

 (noun) a big spoon used for serving food, not for eating with For a buffet lunch, place a serving spoon ready beside each dish. 

side dish

(noun) small dish, usually of vegetables, served with the main dish Would you like to order a side dish, sir? We have green salad, beans and chips. 

side plate

(noun) a small plate on the left side of the place setting Use the side plate for bread and butter. 

silver service

(noun) serving food from a dish on to the customer's plate at the table. With silver service, you use a fork and spoon to place the food on the plate, according to the customer's wishes. 

soup plate

(noun) a shallow bowl with a wide flat rim, especially for soup Be careful; it's easy to spill from soup plates. 

soup spoon

(noun) a round spoon, used for soup Place the soup spoon to the right of the place setting. 


(noun) the first course of a meal, usually something small I'm not very hungry, so I won't have a starter. 

table d'hote

 (noun) a fixed choice of dishes, at a fixed price Table d'hote gives you less choice, but also costs less.


(noun) the smallest size of spoon, often used to stir sugar in cups of tea and coffee Set out cups, saucers and teaspoons for forty people, please. 


(noun) small amount of extra money left for the waiter to reward good service The tip for the waiter is usually ten per cent of the final bill. 

tip (verb) to leave an extra amount of money for the waiter to reward good service How much should I tip the waiter? 

wine list

 (noun) the list of wines available at the restaurant Bring us the wine list with the menu, please.