Restaurant Back of the House Terms

Brief description of jobs in the back of the house

Back of the house has many different cooking positions
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If you 've never worked in a restaruant before, you might be confused by all the different terms used in the back of the house. Even on the kitchen line, there are specific positions that go beyond chef or cook. Obviously you do not have to staff your kitchen with each of these positions (some restaurant kitchens wouldn't fit half of the number of people in them anyway). Many of these positions can be done by one person, such as combining the dishwasher and the porter responsibilities into one position.


Caller- The person who calls the incoming orders to the cooks. Often times the executive chef will act as caller during the dinner rush.

Dessert Chef- The person who is charge of desserts. It's helpful to have someone dedicated to making desserts, if the desserts require special presentation. 

Dishwasher- The person in charge of cleaning dishes and often cleaning the kitchen at the end of each night. It's always a good idea to be nice to the dishwasher, to make sure they want to come back to work the next shift. 

Executive Chef- Also known as the head chef. He is the guy (or girl) who creates the specials, orders the foods, and works as the general manager of the kitchen.

Expeditor- This is a non-cooking role on the kitchen line. An expediter is the person in charge of organizing orders by table, and garnishing the dishes before the server takes them out to the dining room.

Fry Cook- This is a line cook in charge of anything that needs to be deep fried.

Grill Cook- This is a line cook in charge of the items on the char-grill or flattop grill, such as meats, chicken and fish.

Line Cook- The most common title in the kitchen is that of line cook. It refers to any cook working a particular station along the kitchen line.

Porter- A person brought in at the end of the night to help clean the kitchen.

Sauté Chef- This is a line cook in charge of anything cooked in a sauté pan.

Sous Chef - The executive chefs assistant, and next in charge.

Other areas that may have their own staff include salads and pizza, if those are a large part of your restaurant menu. Again, each kitchen is different and what works for one restaurant may look totally different in another. Positions may change over time, as business grows and menu trends change. being flexible and nimble about your back of the house staff will help your restaurant flourish. 

Understanding the different terms used in the back of the house of a restaurant can help you better plan the layout of your commercial kitchen as well as your restaurant menu.