For all who do not know, working in the Front of House (FOH) of a restaurant and the Back of House (BOH) of a restaurant are different worlds. I’ll start with the front of house because this is the one that most people see when they go out to eat.
When you work in the Front of House you are on your best behavior. As a server, takeaway, or host, you smile, are polite, the whole nine yards. You watch what you say, what you look like, you are a perfect citizen. We even have specific acronyms that we are taught when starting. The biggest one we promote is C.R.O.W. That stands for Customer Right Of Way, meaning the customer has the right of way no matter what. You’re carrying a hot plate that is burning your hand; you let the plate burn your hand until the customer goes past. Now, that is an extreme scenario, but they drill it into your brain that you let the customer go first. I run into situations all the time where a male customer and I run paths and they want to let me go. What I found was as long as I try to make them go first, then give in to the “ladies first” line, I don’t get in trouble.
Another thing in front of house is your look. Everything has to be crisp and clean. Aprons are spotless, shoes have no scuffs, belts are on, shirts are tucked, hair is pulled back, and so on. Even in the dead of summer at work and the A.C stops working, we are expected to look our best. The look goes beyond our appearance too. We cannot look angry, we are supposed to smile when we are in the front of house. Having a bad day? Feeling under the weather? Oh well! You have to grin and bear with it while on the clock.
Now, there is this magical place where once you walk through, all the front of house rules no longer apply. This place is the kitchen, or also known as the back of house. In the back of house all rules don’t apply. Here is where you are part of different jobs. In here, you can be apart of silverware rolling, running food, packaging up takeaway, and being expo. Being expo is the person who sets up the trays of food to be run to the table. I like to expo. I can be in the food window, be in a t-shirt and not have to care about the customers. Yes, I care that their food is correct and that everything is on their plate, but I don’t have to cater to their every need. The back of house is the best place to hide from customers. You have an annoying table that needs everything under the sun? A table won’t stop talking to you? You forgot about someone’s salad and don’t want to face the guy who ordered it? The back of house is right for you.
There are few cons when working in back of house. The worst is the heat. Once you work a few shifts back of house you understand the saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. Another con has to be the constant yelling that goes on. If you’re expo it’s a lot of the times you. The back of house is a great pace to get yelled at as well. Your managers have no problem yelling at you for royally messing up, and what better place to do so than the kitchen. Other than that, I have come to love the haven that is the kitchen.
To those workers out there who do not have a place to hide for their back of house please let me know where you can hide to let off steam!