View Full Version : How does an expediter work?

04-15-2013, 09:41 AM
How do u expedite tickets in a restaurant in tis simplest form?.....obviously tickets come in, u call out orders etc.....but how do u know when the entrees should be started etc?.....how does he timing work out.....and how long should it take?.....are there any set rules?.....ryan

04-15-2013, 09:51 AM
No set rules really, but they need to have knowledge of all food on the menu in order to call. Most places I've worked the kitchen manager typically works that job.

I miss that. I loved organizing the kitchen into a cohesive working unit.

Von blewitt
04-15-2013, 09:54 AM
In short
Order comes in -- appetiser goes out/ docket goes "on hold" ---appetiser is cleared / docket gets " called away"----- entree goes out.

04-15-2013, 10:13 AM
Thanks for asking this, I've wondered the same thing on a number of occasions. Seems like the expediter would need to have an understand of how long each thing on the menu takes so they can make sure items with very different prep times are done at nearly the same time (obviously, everyone on the line has to work towards that as well).

04-15-2013, 10:21 AM
If you have a good kitchen crew they know when to drop items. Many restaurants, at least the ones I have worked in (mostly corp ran) have computer software to "time" tickets. The software knows how long it takes to make certain items and will print a chit when the item is suppose to be done. The expediter organizes and checks the food as it is put up in the slide and sends it out when it is checked and ready.

A expediter is the final QC before the food goes out.

04-15-2013, 12:41 PM
Depends on the kitchen and menu. But typically the expo will get a ticket, and call out the table number of people, apps and entrees then the tickets start at one and ones behind it are placed next to it that way you know which is first etc. There are no rules really depends on the chef and how he wants it.

In my restaurant we have a pantry printer and a hot line printer. On the line we get all the apps and entrees, if there are cold apps to go with we tell the pantry expo when to fire then or vice versa depending on how long they take. If there are apps with entrees then we again tell the pantry when to go on the table.

Also expo is usually in charge of seeing the final plate and making sure everything is ok, but in my place every station does their own plates. But the chef is always checking things.

for example both printer would get a ticket similar to this:
server: Dave Table # 20 People: 4
Fried green tomatoes
Arugula Salad
Small Pasta

Pepper steak MR

blah bla blah

So becuase the green tomatoes take longer than it does to cook the small pasta, the pantry will tell us ok Fire small pasta on table 20. For the entree we receive a fire entree ticket from the server when there ready for the entrees and we would have to tell them Fire table 20 in order to pick up the bruschetta with the entrees. It takes about 3 minutes so whenever the hot food is about 3 minutes out then we let them know that way everything hits the window at the same time.

hope this helps

04-16-2013, 02:28 AM
It's a little different for me. I've always worked in small fine dinning establishments with only a set menu. We actually have 2 people managing the pass, one on the floor and the chef in the kitchen. The guy on the floor actually tells us when each dish has to be called as he has an idea of weather the cutlery has been put down, wine glasses changed/wine poured, table scrapped etc. He also has to know how long each dish has to take to be plated. We in the kitchen have to have an understanding of how long it takes to cook and plate a dish. Everything has to be timed to hit the pass at the same time.

04-16-2013, 02:50 AM
yeah, thats a broad ranging question. you can YouTube some videos; the "Alinea expo" is a good one. the guy explains his very complicated job. In my current kitchen we use a computer based firing system. you get a printed ticket too but each person uses this in a different way, in the end, whats fired on the computer screen is what matters. its important to give "heads" which is called out when each course walks. its short for "heads up". if a course is picked up and sent out you talk to the next persons station in line of the tasting menu to give heads up that its headed their way. thats where your printed copy comes in handy because you can group checks together. we run a single menu tasting format so its just one course after another down the line. if people forget to communicate though then things are fired and your not prepared. the success of an expo is communication. its really different in each kitchen. very broad ranging

04-19-2013, 09:19 AM
An expediter is the final QC before the food goes out.

This is how it was back in the day (as an under 30, can I say this?), when I was doing it. Finishing touches, asking servers and bussers the diners' progress on apps to see if things needed to be held off/pushed through. Oh, also lots of calling servers "lazy asses", and the cooks "no good beatniks".

Chef Niloc
04-22-2013, 10:27 AM
A "true expediter" will call out the orders to the line cooks, give the cooks " all days" I.E " order in surf n turf MR (mid-rare), that's 8 all day, 4 MR, 3 M, and one WD, I'll take the Well done and 2 Med rares any time (or might say " 2 mid rare and well done are fired or (picked up)
He also will will also anser questions and or approve spacial orders from the wate staff, call for restocking itmes to the prep guys. He has to think of how to fix " problems " that may come up, has to do it fast to! Lot of mental multi-tasking involved in this position. Probably the hardest and most stressful station in the kitchen during service

NO ChoP!
04-22-2013, 04:37 PM
In a kitchen with hiarchy, the chef will usually expedite. I run the expo side on the busy nights/ weekends at the country club. We give an Amuse to each table, have a soup/salad course, an appetizer and an entree course. It is up to the expo to time things properly.

If it's slow, and the guys are going quick, you'll hold back on firing the entrees. If it's busy, you will slow down the amuse, and the salads, while sometimes even firing the entrees simultaneously with the salads, as it should take 3-5 minutes for salads, and 15 to 20 for entrees.

Running expo flawlessly in a busy coursed fine dining setting is an art. You never want to leave your table waiting...

Now, all of this is even more exasperated in a country club setting because everyone knows one another. So, if you have 70 reservations spread out from 7-8:30, it doesn't seem like a big deal right? But, when the Smiths come in and see the Johnsons and join them for a drink at the bar, and so on, and so on; all of the sudden at 8:30 you are seating a virtual 70 top....makes for a nightmare every weekend!

Chef Niloc
04-22-2013, 11:56 PM
makes for a nightmare every weekend!

That about sums it up. I love it when I go in Friday morning and don't get to go home (or sleep) till Monday, reality becomes the nightmare.

05-02-2013, 07:14 PM
The timing system that works for me, in simple form, in certain settings...no set rules.
Ticket comes in, first and second courses get called, first courses should go out 5-7 minutes after. The time the first course goes out gets written on the ticket. Nine to eleven minutes later the entrees are fired and they should only take 6-9 minutes to finish and plate.
Ideally the total time before an entree goes out should not exceed 20 minutes after the first course goes out.
So basically and ideally no dish should take more than 6-7 minutes from fire to cook and plate....first course start to finish. Second course can get started as soon as the ticket comes in and in total shouldn't take more than 20-25 minutes start to finish. All of this is predetermined in menu development.

05-04-2013, 07:00 AM
The expediter has to control the pace of the kitchen. If the expo gets say 10 tickets at the same time and say 5 were order fired and 5 were put on hold he would have to get the order fired food out the door in the order they came in at and say the tickets on hold are held past those 5 tickets and they were sold. So he'd tell the line what's on hold and what's not and they would have to get them started based on time of the order and dish cooking time. So when those tickets on hold get fired he could send them out in a timely manner so the guest would not have to wait another fifthteen mins for mid well New York just because the server put the entrees on hold because they had apps.expo runs the line so that at points in service they don't get bottled necked with like 50 plus dishes needing to be plated in 5 mins. He has to understand how long pick up times are on dishes so that food go out together and do not sit in the window dying waiting for the rest of the food for the table..

my restaurant
Table 62 order comes in
Seat 1 chopped salad and onion soup
Seat 2 app sampler
Seat 3 seafood chowder and Caesar salad
Seat 4 buratta salad
Cheese platter share.

Table 62 entrees
Seat 1. Mid rare newyork 14 oz
Seat 2. Catch of the day.
Seat 3. Mid well filet
Seat 4. Vegetable pasta
Entrees all hold

So expo would call out the apps to work first and send them out ASAP together

Then he would tell the fish guy he has a catch but its on hold coming with a mid well filet
Then he would tell the entremet he needs a veg pasta ands coming with 62 as well coming with a mid well filet
Then expo would ask how long on that midwell filet and mr newyork

Grill guy would say he would need 15 mins on the mid well.

Then expo would tell entremet and fish station that mid well gonna need at least 15 mins and its on hold so take your time. Meanwhile the time goes bys and 10 mins has passed and he's know fish guys catch take 7 mins and veg pasta is a min pick up so hell tell them get your stuff ready but don't start they should be almost ready for entrees in the next 10mins so fish guy can start searing off his fish and entremet can start marking all his pans to start the veg for the steaks and the veg pasta. So that when the order is fired it should not take more than 5 mins for all the food to go out because pasta is usually picked up ala minute.

That way as the order was picked up the cooks can get the food ready while the Foh clears the table and by the time the table is clear the food shoulda be ready to go. Leaving a seamless timed service which would make the guest realize that they have the servers utmost attention for an enjoyable evening.

05-04-2013, 07:07 AM
Lolbusy nights we sit 70 in like 15-20 mins and guess what it's always busy where I work and we are a fine dinning setting. So every night is like a night mare. I think most my kitchen has done was 217 covers in 50 mins so imagine 80 fish 20 pastas,100 sides, 120 apps, and maybe 80 steaks and 20 lambs and each steak and lamb has their veg on the plate. All done by a 6 man line. Errrrrrrrrrrr that was a night mare

Salty dog
05-04-2013, 08:07 PM
Aahhh, I've expo'd a few lines. I miss the old terminology and style. Five was a "fistful", three was always a "trip" , then there is the "all day, working, working hard, need, NEED, "rock that filet and Jesus will have that sole up by the time the server gets here", etc............

But where I work each station gets their ticket when it needs to be fired. The servers do the timing.

P.S. I've always hated the term "fire/ing" I prefer work/ing. Just a thing.

05-07-2013, 11:51 PM
I see the server as fireing it and then I have it working haha

labor of love
05-08-2013, 12:10 AM
Im used to pulling the ticket out of the printer, then its called out to the line its "walking in". five minutes before the server needs the ticket he/she "fires" the ticket. at which point the food is "working". Capeesh? heard that?