Voice of the Restaurant Industry
Reported by foodem.com, the online wholesale food marketplace-
Anyone who has worked in a restaurant is familiar with the chaos of a kitchen manager shouting, “Hold your orders! [insert most popular appetizer] is 86′d!” Talk about a wrench in the gears. Once a restaurant has run out of a popular dish, its back to the tables hoping the #2 suggestion fits the bill. In the midst of all the chaos it causes, have you ever wondered where the phrase, ‘86′d’ came from? Here are some popular theories:
- To alert patrons that the police were raiding New York's infamous Chumley's during prohibition, staff would yell, "86 everyone!" To let patrons know the police were entering through the 86 Bedford St. doors so they could scurry out the back (booze in tow!).
The famous 86 Bedford St. entrace of Chumley's in NYC (Source)
- 86 refers to the intricate code soda fountain clerks used to communicate service situations in their parlor. Code 86 indicated an item was out of stock and code 98 indicated the assistant manager was 'on the prowl.'
- Item #86 on New York's Delmonico's menu was the prime cut of steak. Due to it's popularity, the item often ran out.
- During The Depression standard soup cauldron's held a maximum of 85 cups of soup. The 86th person in line was out of luck.
- In the days of the old west there were two kinds of whiskey: 100 proof and 86 proof. When cowboys were given 86 proof (typically reserved for the women in the saloon), it meant they were excused for the night.
- Article 86 of the NYC liquor code prohibits visibly intoxicated individuals from consuming more alcohol. Once you're 86'd in NYC- you're done!
No matter how the term 86 was originated, it is important to avoid it. Wholesalers, that means you should be stocked in products your customers order the most. Here’s a list of top ordered dishes in restaurants to give you an idea of what to keep on hand to help your customers and their customer avoid an ‘86’ situation:
7. Side Salad
5. Fish and Seafood
3. Mexican Food
2. French Fries