Every industry has its jargon. Catering is no different. To make your job as a meeting planner easier, here are some terms you should know:
A la Carte – each menu item is priced individually as opposed to an entire menu for one fixed price.
A la Minute – food that is prepared to order, not pre-assembled or pre-cooked and held in hot boxes. An option in some hotels for small VIP groups.
Corkage – a fee charged per bottle for opening and serving wine brought in by the client or a sponsor.
Cover – this term actually has three meanings. One, it is the cloche or lid that keeps the food warm. Two, it is the place setting on the table (flatware, glasses, napkin, etc.). Three, it is the number of people served – “We had 500 covers tonight.”
Dead Stock – this is left-over wine stock (bottles) ordered by the crate for a special event that has taken place.
Dualing Menus – this is another term for Split Entrees. Instead of having an eight ounce steak, you can have a four ounce steak and a four ounce piece of fish (surf and turf). This is a good way to introduce exotic items to a meat and potato crowd. It also allows attendees to ‘trade’ an item they do not like.
Ganging Menus – this is when two or more groups in-house serve the same menu. Chefs love this, because they can get quantity discounts when purchasing larger quantities of specific items, such as filet mignon. It is also easier in the kitchen and often requires less labor to have everyone working on the same menu. So, you can often get some of these savings passed on to you.
Intermezzo – an intermission in meal service just before the main course. Sorbet is usually served, to cleanse the palate.
Market Price or AQ (As Quoted) – used in place of a set price on a menu item where the price shifts seasonally or where prices fluctuate greatly.
Napery – tablecloths, overlays, runners, napkins and other linens used on the dining table.
Silencer – padding under the tablecloth used to quiet the clatter of dishes, cups and flatware. (A must when having speakers during a meal.)
Tasting – a meeting with prospective clients where menu items are sampled.
Written by Patti Shock.