What do the Terms “Back of House” and “Front of House” Mean? 7 Facts

Hospitality and tourism are two of the most diverse fields where you can find work. You’ve probably heard of the terms “front of house” and “back of house,” whether you’re looking for your first hospitality job or you’re a seasoned pro.

But there are some important differences between positions in the front of house and the back of house. Find out the answer to this question, the challenges that both sides of hospitality face, and which one is right for you in this article.

What is the Front of House?

Simply said, the departments in the front of the house are guest-facing. They interact directly with visitors and perform operational activities such as check-in and check-out. Front-of-house personnel frequently work in shifts, with some covering nighttime hours to ensure that there is always an employee accessible to help a visitor who requires assistance.

What positions make up the front of house team at hotels?

Front Desk Agents: Typically, these staff have the greatest contact with guests. Agents at the front desk check visitors in, manage inquiries throughout their stay, and check them out. Since clients frequently approach the front desk with inquiries about other departments, the front desk employees must be able to interact effectively with the whole hotel team.

What do the Terms "Back of House" and "Front of House" Mean?

Bellman: The responsibility of the bell crew is to assist visitors with their bags upon arrival and departure. Occasionally, bell employees are also responsible for storing baggage, delivering supplies to guest rooms, and assisting with valet parking.

Concierge: A concierge helps hotel visitors plan activities during their stay. Concierges frequently make meal reservations, organize excursions, get concert tickets, and arrange transportation on behalf of guests.

General Manager: The general manager of the hotel supervises the whole workforce and everyday operations. While a general manager often has an office, he or she spends a significant amount of time talking with customers and addressing concerns at the front desk. Depending on its scale, a hotel may additionally employ an Assistant General Manager, a Director of Rooms, or other executive team members that work in the front of house with the front of house manager.

How Managing the Front of House Works

Front-of-house management of a restaurant entails overseeing a variety of commercial operations, including:

  • Service to clients
  • Hiring, training, and managing employees
  • Creating and supplying the dining area and bar
  • Organizing menus, advertisements, and other events

The success of any restaurant hinges on customer service. Every management must teach their front-of-house team to provide superior customer care. Everyone is kept safe and content when the staff is empowered to confidently manage problems as they arise, such as a customer who has consumed too much alcohol. Ensure that your team is prepared to address complaints calmly and with courtesy when they inevitably arise.

Again, the design of your dining room and the planning of your menu are centered on customer service. Every front-of-house choice must be seen from the customer’s vantage point.

There are various methods to express gratitude to clients for their patronage. And it need not cost you a lot of money, or in certain situations any money. Personal attention, particularly from the owner or manager, may go a long way toward making consumers feel unique.

Hiring for the Front of the House

There are several positions within a restaurant, and every single one, from the owner to the dishwasher, is vital to the restaurant’s operation. Waiting tables, bartending, hosting, and even correctly bussing tables all need specialized skill sets that not everyone possesses.

The dining room and bar staff at a restaurant must be personable, organized, and quick on their feet. Experience is preferred, however the ideal candidate can learn fast through on-the-job training.

Stocking the Front of the House

The front of the house is the only area that guests see, therefore it should be compatible with the restaurant’s theme or idea. It should be efficiently planned, balancing atmosphere and seating capacity.

Certain types of FOH equipment are crucial to the smooth operation of a restaurant. A well-stocked wait station will have everything required for servers and hosts to give exceptional service.

While the choice of seats helps optimize the dining room’s arrangement, it is also necessary to consider toilets and waiting spaces. There are additional technological considerations, such as establishing a point-of-sale (POS) system to monitor sales. ​

What is the Back of House?

While front desk roles are crucial, they cannot manage a hotel by themselves! Frequently unseen by guests, the back of house personnel ensures that everything runs well behind the scenes. They have limited contact with visitors since they operate in offices separated from guest areas or in bedrooms while guests are absent. Typically, back of house (boh) staff work during standard business hours.

What do the Terms "Back of House" and "Front of House" Mean?

Frequently, the restaurant management bridges FOH and BOH.

Which positions would you find in the back of house in hotels?

Marketing: The marketing department is responsible for preserving the hotel’s reputation and brand. Marketing duties may include the distribution of email newsletters, management of social media, and the conception of special offers.

Revenue Management: Depending on the hotel, a property may have a single revenue manager, a revenue management team, or a distant corporate revenue manager. Revenue management establishes prices, handles partnerships with OTAs, and conducts promotions and controls on room availability.

Housekeeping: Possibly the most significant crew in the hotel. Without janitorial staff, there would be no clean rooms! The duties of a housekeeper include cleaning rooms, washing laundry, cleaning public places, and so on.

Finance: Accounting to payroll, the finance staff of a hotel supervises all financial aspects of the hotel’s operations.

You may have also encountered the phrases front of house and back of house while discussing the restaurant sector or the food and beverage division. Front of house in F&B comprises positions such as waiters and hosts, whereas back of house includes chefs and stewards.

In this way, both sides of the hotel sector are often comparable. In a restaurant, the front of the house may consist of wait staff, bussers, sommeliers, or anybody concerned with the dining experience as a whole. Although technically not part of the FOH or BOH teams, successful restaurants frequently have active restaurant owners who bridge the gap between front- and back-of-house service.

Back of house at a restaurant may include kitchen workers such as line cooks, chefs, and dishwashers.

Back of House Terms

The personnel of a restaurant utilize language to communicate. These popular phrases can be heard in the back of the house

  • 86 – A dish gets removed from the menu when the necessary components are no longer accessible. When things are discarded, the kitchen staff will promptly notify the service crew.
    In the Weeds – Refers to being incredibly busy and unable to keep up with demand. The kitchen workers and servers will state that they are “in the weeds” to alert others of their difficulty and request assistance.
  • On the Fly – If an order must be cooked at the last minute, it is considered “on the fly” as opposed to anything that has been prepared beforehand. No of the occasion, spur-of-the-moment orders are prepared quickly to satisfy customers.
  • Back of the home is a bustling location with heated surfaces and food being carried about. When traversing the kitchen, it is usual to say “behind” when passing behind another individual. This is especially essential while handling food.
  • After being served on a plate, food is transported to the window. The space features warming lamps to maintain the temperature of the meal until the server arrives. Food can get dry and unappetizing if it is left out for too long.

Back of House Positions

Employees in the back of the home occupy one of the following positions:

Kitchen Manager – Responsibilities include supervising the kitchen personnel and ensuring compliance with safety regulations. In addition to hiring new back-of-house workers, the kitchen manager occasionally aids in the kitchen when necessary.

Other than the kitchen manager, the head chef is the most senior member of the kitchen crew. They are responsible for directing the rest of the back-of-house workers, preparing the menus, and managing the expenditures associated with food orders.

A sous chef works under the direct supervision of the head chef. They will assist with monitoring the kitchen crew and any other tasks assigned by the head chef. When the executive chef is absent, the sous-chef assumes charge.

Line Cook – Line cooks operate in a variety of kitchen jobs. They are classified by kind of cooking technique. For instance, fry cooks and pastry chefs are two quite distinct sorts of line cooks.

Dishwasher – Dishwashers will be responsible for the timely washing of all dishes, cutlery, and glasses. They are also responsible for cleaning the kitchenware used by the culinary staff, such as pots and pans.

Importance of Back of House

Although they are sometimes ignored, the personnel working behind the scenes at a restaurant is just as crucial to the visitor experience as the dining room employees. When a restaurant’s kitchen is open, it is simpler to observe the entire process, from order to plating.

Whether or not food preparation is on show does not decrease the importance of the rear of the home. The job tasks include balancing quantities for plating, ensuring meals are cooked to specifications, including any special requests from guests, and adorning plates in a way that is both visually and gustatively acceptable.

Add to that the cooking, serving, storing, and sanitizing tasks that must be performed in the kitchen. To prioritize productivity, a good capacity for multitasking is required. All of these factors contribute to the hospitality required for a great eating experience.

How to Manage Back of House

The management of a restaurant must lead by example. This requires equal management of the front and back of the house. Consistently providing customers with a pleasant eating experience, which eventually results in improved profitability. Keeping the kitchen staff’s supply of ingredients stocked begins with a system for inventory management.

Additionally, it will reduce food waste during manufacture and subsequent purchases. Ensure that the kitchen is organized for functionality and efficacy. It must be well-organized, with separate preparation stations for meats and vegetables to prevent cross-contamination.

also makes sense to place products within easy reach of the line cooks or chefs. Above all else, the kitchen must be kept clean. To minimize misunderstanding, it is important to have a clear line of communication with the dining room employees when handling the back of the house.

Technology Used in Back of House

Restaurants of today rely heavily on technology. Every year, new and innovative technologies are introduced to enhance working environments and eating experiences. This includes the following: Applications for digital inventory Profit margins are dependent on accurate inventory levels.

What do the Terms "Back of House" and "Front of House" Mean?

A computerized program will produce a more precise figure than a manual count when it comes to counting products. Mobile apps and handheld devices are capable of scanning barcodes and transmitting the data directly to the main inventory software.

Additionally, voice-activated apps are on the increase. Temperature measurements for meals that are digitized As food rotting may lead to foodborne diseases, it is crucial for a kitchen to maintain the proper food temperature.

Digital food thermometers, which are safer and more accurate, have supplanted their analog counterparts.  Using their mobile smartphone in conjunction with a digital food temperature reader, a chef may receive automatic food notifications.

Automated task administration A significant portion of the kitchen staff’s jobs include multitasking. No matter how minor, errors may have significant repercussions.

Keeping track of tasks with automated task management solutions reduces errors. Each employee’s responsibilities are recorded and tracked more precisely than with paper checklists. A bonus use for an automated work list is health inspections.

Computerized handling of food recalls FDA food recall notices may not always reach restaurants in a timely manner. This may result in consumer disease if the food has expired. Now, restaurant operators have fast access to food recall notices. When food has to be recalled, computerized food recall systems deliver alerts and explain methods.

What do the Terms “Back of House” and “Front of House” Mean?

In the restaurant industry, “back of house” and “front of house” are used to distinguish between distinct parts of a restaurant. The kitchen and other support employees operate in the back of the home. The front of house is where diners are seated.

Different sorts of employees work in each department, and rivalries can arise between back-of-house and front-of-house employees, especially in large, popular restaurants.

In general, the back of house is a staff-only location, however tours may provide limited public access. The rear of the house is where food is stored and produced, and generally contains additional staff rooms such as a break room and a changing area.

Cooks, expediters, and dishwashers typically operate behind the scenes, unnoticed by the general public. In the majority of kitchens, the back of the house maintains a rigorous structure, with each employee performing a designated duty.

Waiters, waitresses, and hostesses engage with visitors in the front of house. These employees are considered “on the floor” since they are the restaurant’s visual representatives. Floor personnel are expected to be kind, knowledgeable, and well-groomed, as their demeanor impacts whether or not guests enjoy themselves.

Some employees frequently go between the rear and front of the home. Bussers and runners, for instance, transport food and plates between the kitchen and the floor. As they must respond to requests from the kitchen and the floor workers, their duties may be quite stressful.

In addition, they engage in client interactions, as restaurant patrons may not always recognize the distinction between waitstaff, runners, and kitchen staff.

In some restaurants, the public may be able to view a portion of the kitchen. As cooking may be a dirty and tense endeavor, not all kitchen employees find this enjoyable. Diners, on the other hand, appreciate being able to observe food preparation, especially when stations such as the grill and sauté are frequently visible.

In addition to being distinguishable by their tasks, restaurant staff members are frequently distinguished by their uniforms. Staff members in the kitchen often wear chef’s trousers, complete coats, protective hair covers, and closed-toe shoes.

Their attire is intended to be comfortable and functional throughout lengthy shifts of cooking, rather than fashionable. The majority of front-of-house workers wear restaurant-issued uniforms or attractive personal attire to improve the restaurant’s ambiance.

Bussers and runners frequently wear aprons and attire that is more indicative of the kitchen than the dining room.

Low Cost Tech Helps Connect FOH with Back of House

Coordinating staff from multiple departments and shifts is a difficult endeavor. The hospitality business use hotel and restaurant software to facilitate exceptional visitor experiences. And when you include in the industry’s high rate of employee turnover, it appears unattainable!

Bringing the front and rear of the home together with conventional offline methods is definitely tricky. However, with intuitive and integrated technology, such as the Amadeus HotSOS product, the front and back of the house may communicate without difficulty.

What do the Terms "Back of House" and "Front of House" Mean?

When a hotel’s technology is not integrated, its operations are frequently inefficient and ineffectual. Deficiencies in technology integration might result in a lesser degree of customer service, restricted preventative maintenance, and personnel that spend a great deal of time performing manual operations. How precisely do integrated technological solutions resolve these issues?

Deliver Better Guest Service

Assume you are a hotel visitor who, upon entering your room, discovers that the light does not work. You phone the front desk, and the front desk promises you that someone from cleaning will be up shortly to change the light bulb. No one appears despite lengthy waiting.

You are currently experiencing a less-than-ideal stay at the hotel due to your frustration. Why did this happen? Your request is likely to have been misplaced between the front desk and the cleaning department due to the lack of a streamlined method for communicating such requests.

In a hotel employing integrated technology, the front desk agent might have made a request in their property management system, which would have been sent straight to the HotSOS housekeeping module, therefore activating that department. The cleaning crew may have been outfitted with radios that warn them when a request is received in real time.

Streamline Proactive Maintenance and Inventory Management

To return to our light bulb illustration, integrated technology may assist the hotel in ensuring that no visitor enters a room with maintenance difficulties. The hotel might install smart sensors on all guestroom and public area lighting that transmit warnings when a light bulb needs to be replaced. Without these sensors, the cleaning or maintenance crew must rely on the front desk workers to report problems as they arise, as opposed to avoiding them beforehand.

The integrated systems of Amadeus can also aid in inventory management. When a cleaner fills a cart with soap bars, for instance, the number of bars can be recorded. When inventory levels are low, the inventory management system sends notifications to the housekeeping or procurement manager so they may buy more.

Reduce Manual Tasks

Typically, a POS system (or PMS) in hotels links teams to maintain an uniform visitor experience. In addition to facilitating more effective communication, an integrated technology stack may help staff become more productive by lowering the amount of physical labor required.

It is possible to automate tasks such as pulling reports, maintaining inventory, delivering messages to visitors, and more, to save up employee time and limit the possibility of human mistake. The less time front-of-house employees spend on manual duties, the more time they can devote to providing superior service and individualized care.

What do the Terms "Back of House" and "Front of House" Mean?

Automation enables back-of-house workers to devote more time to strategic projects, as opposed to regular reporting.

To manage a great hotel and provide amazing guest service, the front of house and back of house personnel must be completely synchronized, particularly between shifts. Integrated technology, such as the solutions offered by Amadeus, is the key to ensuring that everyone is on the same page in real time and that nothing falls through the cracks.

Improving collaboration with your FOH and BOH

Each member of your crew influences how consumers view your business. Communication between front-of-house and back-of-house workers promotes the proper operation of both regions of your restaurant.

Training your front and back of house workers as a group ensures that everyone follows the same rules and norms. Let one side of the house observe the actions of the other. It also assists the team in understanding how each member impacts the client experience.

Communication transcends training alone. Offering a complimentary dinner to employees during work hours fosters camaraderie during breaks when employees may converse informally. Employees who are friendly with one another collaborate more effectively.

Conclusion

Every restaurant has a front of the house (FOH) and a back of the house (BOH). Both are important for doing well in the food business, but they work in very different ways.

Most of the time spent with guests takes place in the front of the house. It has the front desk, the area where people wait, the dining room, and, of course, the servers who take orders.

The food is prepared, cooked, and stored in the back of the house. Back of house is where almost everything that goes into making the meal for the guest happens.

Food runners, bussers, and even management, who keep an eye on everything in the restaurant, connect the front and back of the house.

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Pat Moriarty
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