How to talk like a cool restaurateur …

Sure, you can toss around terms like “daypart” and “value added” with the grayest of long-timers. But a vocabulary update could be needed if you want to stay current on industry lingo.  The standard glossary is being recast in terms and phrases that read like Greek to the uncool, as any attendee of COEX and other recent industry conferences can attest. Especially the cut-ups who sat in the back.

Here are a few words to master if you don’t want to sound so yesterday:

Occasions.  The term is rapidly supplanting “daypart” because it better reflects the eat-when-you-want mindset of younger consumers. If you don’t want a wedgie from cooler foodservice pros, stop referring to “the snack daypart.” It’s an afternoon occasion, bro.

Eater types. Formerly known as customer types. There’s a movement, sparked by Datassential research, to group consumers into four specific eater types: Basic eaters, or the uninspired refuelers who’d eat nothing but cold cereal if it didn’t require so damn much prep; quality essentialists, or the consumers who don’t mind pouring the milk because the cereal is good that way; progressives, who want to try squirrel tartar or some other cool thing that only people dressed all in black would eat; and experientialists, the sports diners who view dining as entertainment.

Zip-code beers. Hyper-local craft beers, or the micro-brews picked by casual chain restaurants when headquarters lets them customize their beer menus.

Stepped-down pricing. What restaurant chains should demand from a supplier that developed a menu item specifically for them. The initial wholesale price of that product should reflect the vendor’s research and development costs, which can drive up the charge by as much as 20 percent, COEX attendees learned. But once those expenses are recouped by the supplier, the price to the chain should drop accordingly.

Mash-ups. If you’re prone to using terms like “galoshes” or “spectacles,” pay close attention here: Do not, under any circumstances, refer to the blending of restaurant flavors, service styles or cuisines as “fusion.” Any halfway-current restaurateur might kick you in the bloomers for a lapse of that magnitude. Now, say “mash-up” 10 times and have an Irish mojito.


More from our partners