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Hospitality Phrases, Acronyms and Words to Make You Sound Like an Industry Pro
Hcareers / SEPTEMBER 13 2021

Every industry has its own lingo and language that makes it easier for the people working in it to communicate. Hospitality is no different!

While some terms are shared across segments of hospitality, others are specific to hotels or food and beverage operations. Understanding these phrases will make your conversations clear and efficient, and save you precious time on a busy day! 

Hotel-Specific Terminology and Abbreviations

Rack Rate

The official published price of a hotel room before any discounts or negotiations.

Average Daily Rate (ADR)

Hotel room rates can vary based on season and day of the week. This can make it difficult to calculate the profitability of a hotel room. To make accurate projections, hotels use an average daily rate to estimate the revenue earned by each room on average.

Corporate Rate

Corporations may negotiate a discounted corporate rate for their employees. These lower rates build loyalty and make the hotel a preferred brand for the corporate client.

Occupancy Rate (OCC)

The percentage of occupied rooms in the hotel at any given time. The occupancy rate is a major indicator of the health of your hotel.


This hotel industry term refers to the total number of rooms, suites, villas, or apartments in a hotel. A hotel with 300 total guest lodging spaces is a 300-key hotel. 


Short for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions. This sector of the hospitality industry is highly profitable and takes advantage of a hotel’s conference spaces and banquet facilities. 


RFP is short for Request for Proposal. Event planners will send this document to hotels or conference centers, outlining the needs for their events. The hotels will then respond with a proposal that describes how their venue can meet the event requirements. 


Pre-con is short for pre-conference meeting. A large conference can have many moving parts and dozens of key players that have to work together to make it a success. The pre-con is the chance for the team to gather at the conference site to walk through the space and work through the details. 

Restaurant or F&B Terminology


Short for Food and Beverage.  In a hotel, F&B may be an entire department devoted to room service and restaurant operations overseen by a Director of F&B.

Mise en Place

This French phrase (pronounced mee-zon plahs) translates to “everything in its place,” and it’s the philosophy of all good cooks and chefs. To prepare your mise en place, or meez for short is to make sure you have everything you need for your shift and that your station is set up for efficiency and productivity. It’s a kitchen term, but everyone in hospitality would do well to work by this guiding principle. 

Expeditor or Expo

The expo is the person in the kitchen who acts as a liaison between the kitchen and the dining room. This key player calls tickets to the kitchen and pulls finished plates into completed orders. They also give each plate a final look before sending them out into the dining room.

On the Fly

When someone requests something “on the fly,” they need it urgently. It’s often used when a dish is returned to the kitchen and re-made. The expeditor may call “Ribeye, medium rare, on the fly,” to replace one that was overcooked. 


This abbreviation is short for “point of sale.” It’s the term for the terminals that restaurants, cafes, and other food establishments use to ring in orders.

First In, First Out

This rule prevents waste in kitchens and bars. It’s the concept of using the older product before newer one. To make it easier, most establishments require a) dating everything, and b) organizing shelves by date, with older products in the front and newer in the back. 

Full Hands

The longer version of this hospitality phrase is “full hands in, full hands out.” It’s a reminder for service staff to always bring something with them, whether they’re moving from the restaurant floor to the kitchen or the kitchen back to the floor.


When a restaurant is unable to make an item, it’s said to be 86’d—aka out of stock or unavailable.

All Day

“All day” is a commercial kitchen term that means “total.” It’s how chefs and expeditors tally the number of a single dish currently needed. They may say, “Four heirloom salads and six salmon, all day.” It helps the cooks to keep an accurate count of how many dishes they need to be working on.

In the Weeds

When a server or cook is “in the weeds,” it means they’re overwhelmed and need some help. 

General Hospitality Terminology


Short for Front of House. This includes all guest-facing spaces, like the bar, dining room, host stand, and lobby.


Short for Back of House. This includes all non-guest spaces, like kitchens, laundry rooms, offices, break areas, and storage. 


Short for Manager on Duty. This is usually the floor manager on an individual shift. 


In a restaurant, squatters are guests who stay at the table long after their meal is finished. In a hotel, squatters are guests who stay in their room after their checkout time. While this is a common hospitality term, it’s not a very polite one and is best kept away from guest ears. 


Walk-ins are guests that don’t have a reservation. In a hotel, walk-in guests may have to pay higher rates due to the last-minute nature of their stay.