Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 3, 2006 11:00 PM

name for order wheel used in diners & delis & coffee shops [moved from General Chowhounding]

Hi, I am searching for the name of the wheel-type tree/tool/lazy-susan that servers use to slip in their orders. It has a number of spring-loaded clamps or pins that keep the order in place. It is usually made of stainless steel; it spins laterally and is usually set on the counter or window to the kitchen. I am working on a novel, and I keep referring to it as a metal tree, which I know is WRONG. Please help, if you can. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is going to sound silly, but it is actually just called an "order wheel" ...

    See link:

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      This is both amusing and delightful. All things should be so simply named. Thanks so much!

      1. re: cuppamud

        I think I deserve an advance copy of the novel for this ...


        Anyhow, good luck with it ... hope it is food inspired.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          It is food-inspired, actually. The main character works in a bakery and cafe and loves making pastry. The working title is "The Sea Swallower" (swallowing the sea: metaphor for sorrow).

          Thanks for the good wishes and thanks, again, for your help!

    2. We have always called it a wheel, and the order is called a ticket.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JalamaMama

        Thanks, JalamaMama. It's good to be precise and exact esp. in a novel; I'll make macro changes and replace "order" to "ticket". Do you know if they still say an entree is "86'd" if they've run out of it? Does that term still ring true?


      2. the term 86 is current & used when the bar/rest. has run out of a dish or (usually alcoholic) drink-- there is an "86 list" in some places, some servers carry a slip of paper with the 86 list or it is posted in the service station (where the server electronically places a table's order)-- sounds like your fictional place is old fashioned & uses the wheel (wheel of doom), so service station would just have menus & water pitchers. also if a patron's business is unwelcome he/she is 86ed & not allowed by the staff into the establishment.

        6 Replies
        1. re: soupkitten

          Thanks for the insights/details, soupkitten. This is great! I especially like the "wheel of doom" and will work that in the story. Yep, the cafe is an old-fashioned kind of place, where tickets are still ripped out manually.

          1. re: soupkitten

            "86ing" guests is part of the lore of that term, but we've always used the term "barred" when guests are not welcome back.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              it's definately "86ed" & the customers understand when told they have been 86ed-- not sure they'd get it if told they were "barred" from the bar LOL!
              never heard anyone use the term "barred" for "86ed"

              1. re: soupkitten

                perhaps it's a regional thing. i've worked in restaurants in boston for 17 years, and that's what we call it.

            2. re: soupkitten

              Yeah, 86 is such a common term that it is often used in the restaurant in other ways. If Jim is fired on Tuesday, then someone may write "Jim" on Wednesday's 86 board/list. (They may also write patience, energy, or decent servers/cooks, whatever.) It's a part of daily vocabulary.

              Also extremely common are the terms "fire" and "all day" . to "fire" is to start making a course or an entree: "Fire apps for table 3," "don't fire 3's entrees yet; they asked to wait a while," "fire desserts for 3." (yes, it's used even when there is no heat involved. I don't it's ever used for drinks, though.)

              "All day" is how many total orders you have working: "I need two Filets for table 3 and 6 all day." or "How many sea bass do we have left? "ten all day". Once I took out of town guests to get cheesesteaks, and we were counting how many we needed--I tell my husband, who was doing the ordering, "we're looking at 6 all day" and a friend nervously asked, "all day? we're going to eat again later, right?"

              1. re: nc213

                nc213, thanks! These are gems. Love the story.

            3. While we're on the subject of regional restaurant slang -- when I worked at a restaurant after college in Minn., the terms used to describe a server who couldn't keep up with his/her tables were "in the weeds" and "slammed".

              Are there more terms out there? And soupkitten, I have convincingly worked in the term "wheel of doom" in a kitchen scene, so thanks for that.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cuppamud

                In the weeds is another constant term. It's also used as "weeded."
                Sometimes servers or bussers will come to help you out and offer to be a "weed-whacker."

                1. re: nc213

                  Haw! That's terrific; I love that. Weed-whacker.

              2. Kitchen Confidential reveals lots of kitchen jargon.

                1 Reply