On the Line / Hiring / What is an expeditor in a restaurant?

What is an expeditor in a restaurant?

Restaurant expeditors have fast-paced, high-pressure roles in restaurant service. The job can be fun and rewarding for those with the right set of skills.

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What is an expeditor in a restaurant?

A restaurant expeditor – also known as an expo or food runner –  ensures that guests orders are fulfilled correctly by the line, then runs the order directly to the party or to the host stand for takeout and delivery pickup. The name expeditor comes from the role they play in expediting service by running food to guests as soon as they come up in the window.

Expos are essential to a quick and smooth meal service. They ensure a party's orders are coursed correctly, and that every item is plated correctly and matches the guests specifications on the ticket. They also communicate questions and updates between service staff, kitchen staff, and restaurant managers. 

What are a restaurant expeditor's duties and responsibilities?

A restaurant expeditor's duties and responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that orders are fulfilled accurately according to the ticket
  • Coursing and plating orders correctly
  • Delivering food from the kitchen to tables
  • Communicate with the line, with attention to special requests and allergy information
  • Communicating 86’d menu items to front of house staff
  • Assisting the service staff 
  • Adhering to food safety standards

How much are restaurant expeditors paid?

Restaurant expeditors or food runners are hourly employees. They earn an average of $10 to $14 dollars an hour, and their shifts are typically shorter than other service staff. Servers will often tip out an expo or runners who support them during meal service.

What are the qualities that make a good restaurant expeditor?

Good expos and food runners are detail-oriented multitaskers. They need strong communication skills to mediate between service and kitchen staff and ensure that each guest their order perfectly.

Expeditors should be self-motivated and assertive, able to navigate the personalities of staff to expedite service. They also need to have customer service skills for when they help servers run food to tables.

How to become a restaurant expeditor

Becoming an expo starts with food service industry experience, though it can also be a great entry level role to begin a career in the back of house. Restaurant management will often promote hosts or bussers into this critical role.

Prospective expeditors or food runners should highlight any fast-paced, multi-tasking experience they have from previous roles in or outside of restaurants.

Be open to the training process and make sure that you can show managers, kitchen staff, and servers that you have the skills for the job.

How to hire a restaurant expeditor

When looking to hire a food runner or expo, make a list of the skills and experience you expect candidates to have. 

Start by asking servers, hosts, bartenders, and other service staff if they’d be interested in a part-time food running position. Hiring an expo from the current staff ensures that they know how to work with the team and are familiar with the restaurant’s standards.

Post a job ad for restaurant runners on online job boards. You’re likely to get a wide variety of candidates to choose from. Interview the applicants with customer service or food service experience. And, verify applicants' skills before hiring them. Be patient in training new hires to take on all the responsibilities of the role.

When interviewing applicants, ask about their knowledge of the service industry and assess their interpersonal skills. Offer jobs to the candidates that have the best combination of experience and qualifications.

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