Play-callers on the Line
Being an Expeditor (aka Expo) in the kitchen is not a job that should ever be taken lightly. It can have the same value or impact as a great dishwasher. Some may laugh at that, but without these two positions being held by competent individuals, you don’t have a foundation for a solid crew and successful service.
Services can be fucking wild. This New York Times article writes about how being an expo is akin to being a Quarterback. They are the play-callers. Watching as everything gets punched in alongside the kitchen. There are so many different factors happening during the dinner rush that the expo has to be aware of what's happening at all times. Watching each dish as they come to the pass, dealing with audibles and along with the Chef, play-calling the flow of service. I’d challenge anyone who thinks they can expo without any experience, to do so at a high end level and see how they fare.
An expo has to almost have the same qualities as the Chef themselves, firm but fair. You can’t hesitate to speak up. During service, communication is as crucial to success as a Chef’s knife skills or a Servers wine and food knowledge. And the nucleus between the two worlds of BOH and FOH are the Expo.
From the 18 year old hostesses rocking that Expo line, to the 20 year veteran Chefs, it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you are up to the task. Between chit times, courses, allergies and off-menu tastings, the expos head is always on a swivel. When they see 20 minutes too long on a chit they have to let the Chef know to get their crew in line and work on getting it up. A server comes to the pass and says table 9 has these set of allergies, so what can we do to accommodate them?The expo is quite literally calling plays and audibles as they happen.
I’ve always appreciated a great expo. When everyone else is in the weeds during service, the expo is pulling a Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, solving each and every chit’s equation to make sure the ship runs smoothly. I would urge any expo to read this article because you are more valued than you think. You play a massive role in ensuring service runs smoothly and all our tables are properly serviced. You are the last set of eyes that checks plates are up to par, looking great, and allergy accommodations are provisioned for. You fix kitchen hiccups if mods are missed, and are the superhero/heroines if FoH needs something on the fly. You run that bridge between Back and Front of house and if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have the stellar services that we do, ensuring quality food with quality service to every person that comes through that door. Thank you, to all the Expos out there, for all the good work that you do.
Now, can I get some HANDS PLEASE?!