What Does It Mean in Short Order? Understanding Quickly

Have you ever heard the phrase “in short order” thrown around in conversation and wondered what it actually means? It’s not the most common phrase out there, but it’s still an important one to understand. In short (pun intended), it means that something will be done quickly or soon- typically within a short amount of time. While it might not sound like a life-altering phrase, it can be incredibly useful in a variety of situations.

For example, you might hear someone say “I’ll have that report done in short order” or “I’ll be there in short order” to indicate that they’ll get it done quickly. This can be especially helpful in situations where time is of the essence, like when a project deadline is looming or there’s an emergency that needs attention. By using this phrase, people can communicate that they’re prioritizing speed and efficiency in their actions.

So, why is it important to understand the meaning of “in short order”? Well, for starters, it’s always helpful to be able to decipher the words and phrases that people use in everyday conversation- especially if you’re in a professional setting. Additionally, knowing the meaning of this particular phrase can also help you communicate better with others. If you want to express that something needs to be done quickly, using the phrase “in short order” can convey that sense of urgency.

Definition of Short Order

Short order is a term used in the restaurant industry to refer to the type of cooking that involves preparing food quickly and to order. Short order cooks are responsible for preparing meals in a short amount of time as orders come in, often using pre-prepared ingredients and simple cooking techniques.

Most commonly, short order cuisine is associated with diners, fast food chains, and food trucks, where customers order food that can be prepared within minutes. Common types of short order meals include burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, omelets, and pancakes.

  • Pre-prepared Ingredients: Short order cooking often involves pre-cut, pre-cooked, or frozen ingredients that can save time and ensure consistency in the dishes prepared.
  • Simple Cooking Techniques: Short order cooking involves simple cooking techniques such as grilling, frying, or sautéing. These techniques involve quick cooking times and are easy to learn.
  • Streamlined Kitchen Setup: Short order kitchens are generally small and compact, with limited equipment. This setup can help to minimize costs and facilitate quick cooking times.

Short Order in Quick Service Restaurants

Short order in quick service restaurants refers to the preparation of food that is quick, convenient, and of high quality. Typically, quick service restaurants are known for offering affordable meals that are prepared and served within a short period. This type of food preparation entails having a limited menu that is composed of items that can be made rapidly while maintaining a consistent standard of quality.

  • Speed: Short order cooking must be fast and efficient in order to meet the demands of the customers. This means that the kitchen must be organized, well-staffed, and equipped with the necessary tools and ingredients. The ability to quickly prepare and serve meals is what separates short order cooking from other types of cooking.
  • Cookware: The success of short order cooking depends heavily on the quality of the cookware that is used. For example, pans must be heavy-duty and durable, easy to clean, and have a non-stick surface for easy cooking and flipping. Similarly, griddles must be large, flat, and evenly heated to ensure that food is cooked quickly and evenly.
  • Ingredients: The ingredients used in short order cooking must be fresh, of high quality, and readily available. Short order cooks must be adept at working with a limited range of ingredients, quickly figuring out how to substitute or adapt recipes based on what’s in stock.

Restaurants that specialize in short order cooking serve customers quickly and efficiently without compromising on the quality of their food. The ability to provide fast service, combined with delicious and affordable food, is what makes quick service restaurants popular with both young and old customers.


Cookware Importance
Pans Heavy-duty and durable, easy to clean, and have a non-stick surface for easy cooking and flipping.
Griddles Large, flat, and evenly heated to ensure that food is cooked quickly and evenly.

Short order cooking is an essential component of quick service restaurants. It allows these restaurants to quickly prepare and serve delicious meals to their customers, all while keeping prices affordable and maintaining consistent quality. By using high-quality cookware, fresh ingredients, and efficient service, short order cooks are able to keep customers coming back for more.

Advantages of Short Order Cooking

Short order cooking refers to a type of cooking where food is prepared quickly in high-volume, fast-paced settings such as diners, cafes and fast-food restaurants. While some might view short order cooking as a less refined cooking style, it offers several advantages over other cooking methods.

  • Quick and efficient service: Short order cooking is designed to get food prepared and served quickly, which makes it ideal for busy establishments with high volumes of customers. This results in faster table turnarounds, which can increase revenue and profits for restaurants.
  • Flexibility: Short order cooking offers chefs the chance to experiment with menu offerings, making it easy to change things up or add new dishes without disrupting the overall flow of the kitchen. Chefs who practice this style of cooking are often able to rely on their instincts and creativity to create unique dishes which keeps things interesting for customers.
  • Quality and Consistency: Despite the fast pace of short order cooking, chefs are often highly skilled and are able to prepare dishes with high quality and consistency. Since dishes must be prepared quickly, chefs must ensure they have a solid handle on cooking times, temperatures and portion control which is vital to achieving consistent results every time.

Efficient Use of Ingredients

One of the key components of successful short order cooking is the use of ingredients. Chefs who specialize in this type of cooking are well versed in using ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens, thereby reducing costs and waste. The ability to build dishes around everyday ingredients is an important aspect of short order cooking, and one that often results in more efficient use of ingredients.

Ingredient Quantity Required (per dish) Cost (per unit)
Eggs 2 $0.10
Bacon 2 slices $0.25
Toasted bread 2 slices $0.10
Butter 1 teaspoon $0.05

As shown in the table above, a simple breakfast dish like eggs and bacon with toast can be made with just a few common ingredients, resulting in an efficient use of ingredients. By focusing on using commonly found ingredients and planning menus around them, chefs can create dishes that delight customers while minimizing food waste and reducing overall costs.

Short Order Cook Job Requirements

Short order cooking is a fast-paced and demanding occupation that often requires long hours spent working in hot, cramped, and noisy kitchen environments. A short order cook must have a deep understanding of food safety procedures, customer service principles, and the ability to multitask and time management skills.

Skills Required for Short Order Cooks

  • The ability to communicate effectively with colleagues and customers
  • A strong attention to detail and precision in cooking
  • Physical stamina and strength to stand, bend, and lift for long periods of time
  • The ability to work in a team and follow directions
  • An understanding of basic kitchen equipment and food preparation techniques
  • Flexibility and adaptability to changing work environments and customer demands

Education and Training

While there are no set educational requirements for becoming a short order cook, many employers prefer candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent, relevant restaurant experience, or culinary education. It is also common for aspiring short order cooks to complete on-the-job training programs or apprenticeships to gain practical experience and develop their skills under the guidance of experienced cooks and chefs.

Employment Outlook and Salaries

The employment outlook for short order cooks varies depending on the region, season, and industry demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average hourly wage for short order cooks in the United States is $12.29 as of May 2020. However, this can range from minimum wage to upwards of $20 per hour for highly skilled and experienced cooks.

Industry Annual Mean Wage (2020)
Full-Service Restaurants $26,420
Limited-Service Eating Places $24,710
Special Food Services $25,380

Overall, short order cooking can be a fulfilling and challenging career for those with a passion for food and a willingness to work hard and learn on the job.

History of Short Order Cooking

Short order cooking can be traced back to the early 1900s, when diners were becoming increasingly popular in America. These diners were typically small establishments that served simple and affordable meals quickly to patrons. In order to keep up with demand, cooks had to develop a style of cooking that was quick, efficient, and delicious. This style of cooking became known as short order cooking.

The Five Characteristics of Short Order Cooking

  • Speed: Short order cooking is all about speed. Cooks need to be able to produce meals quickly, and often work in a chaotic and fast-paced environment.
  • Accuracy: Despite the fast-paced environment, cooks must also be accurate in their cooking. They must know the perfect cooking time for each item, and be able to produce it consistently.
  • Precision: Precision is key in short order cooking. Cooks must be able to multi-task, while still delivering each item perfectly cooked and presented.
  • Consistency: Providing customers with a consistent product is important in any type of cooking, but especially in short order cooking. Customers come to diners and other short order establishments because they know exactly what they are getting.
  • Creativity: While the other four characteristics are important, creativity is also key in short order cooking. Cooks must be able to take basic ingredients and turn them into something delicious and visually appealing.

The Evolution of Short Order Cooking

As diners and other establishments that focused on short order cooking became increasingly popular, the style of cooking evolved. In the 1950s, for example, the “short order cook” became an iconic figure in popular culture. This led to a demand for more specialized short order cooking equipment, such as flat-top grills and fryers.

Today, short order cooking continues to evolve. Many cooks now use sous-vide cooking techniques and other modern methods to produce consistent and delicious meals quickly.

Short Order Cooking in Today’s Society

Pros Cons
Quick service for busy customers Can be unhealthy
Affordable prices for customers Often limited menu options
Creates job opportunities for cooks and servers Can be high stress for cooks

Despite its pros and cons, short order cooking remains an important part of our society. Whether it’s grabbing breakfast on the go or enjoying a quick burger for lunch, diners and other establishments that specialize in short order cooking help keep us fed and on the go.

Difference between Short Order and Fine Dining

Short order and fine dining are two different types of foodservice styles that offer distinct experiences for diners. Short order restaurants are typically casual eateries that serve fast and simple food, while fine dining restaurants offer more formal dining experiences with sophisticated menus and high-quality service. Here are some of the key differences between the two:

  • Menu options: Short order restaurants usually have limited menu options that are easy to prepare and serve quickly, such as burgers, sandwiches, and fries. Fine dining restaurants, on the other hand, typically offer a wide range of menu options, with high-end ingredients and complex preparations.
  • Price point: Short order restaurants are generally more affordable than fine dining establishments, as they offer simpler fare and more casual service. Fine dining can be quite expensive, as diners are paying for a high level of service, ambiance, and culinary skill.
  • Service: Short order restaurants typically offer a more casual and laid-back service style, with counter service and self-seating. Fine dining restaurants have highly-trained servers who provide attentive and personalized service.

While short order restaurants might be the go-to for quick, convenient meals, fine dining establishments provide a more luxurious experience for diners willing to splurge. Fine dining is often reserved for special occasions, but it can also be an excellent way to treat yourself or impress someone special.

If you’re curious about the difference between these two foodservice styles, consider trying both to see which one suits your preferences and needs.

Short Order Cooking Techniques

Short order cooking techniques refer to the ability of a cook to prepare multiple dishes with speed, efficiency, and accuracy. In the fast-paced environment of a short-order kitchen, time is of the essence. Therefore, short-order cooks must use various techniques to ensure that food is prepared quickly without compromising on taste and quality. The following are some of the essential short-order cooking techniques every cook should know.

Quick Cooking Techniques

  • Sautéing: This involves cooking food in a small amount of oil or fat over high heat. It is ideal for preparing meats, vegetables, and seafood dishes.
  • Grilling: Grilling uses high heat to cook meats, vegetables, and other foods quickly. It brings out unique flavors and gives food a crispy texture.
  • Baking: This technique involves cooking food in an oven or other enclosed space. It is perfect for preparing bread, pastries, and baked goods.

Cutting Techniques

Mastering the art of cutting food efficiently is critical in short order cooking. Here are some of the cutting techniques every cook should know:

  • Chopping: This involves using a chopping motion to cut food into small pieces. It is ideal for vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
  • Dicing: This technique involves cutting food into small, uniform cubes. It is ideal for ingredients like onions, carrots, and celery.
  • Julienning: This technique involves cutting food into long, thin strips. It is perfect for vegetables like carrots and zucchini.

Organizational Techniques

Organizational skills are essential for short-order cooks. Proper organization ensures that a cook knows exactly what to do at every stage of meal preparation. Here are some organizational techniques every cook should use:

  • Mise En Place: This is a French term that means everything in its place. It involves setting up and organizing all the necessary ingredients and equipment before cooking begins.
  • Cooking In Batches: Preparing food in batches can help save time and ensure that every dish is cooked to perfection. It also allows a cook to focus on one set of dishes at a time.
  • Clean As You Go: Cleaning as you go ensures that a kitchen remains organized throughout the cooking process. It also saves time and effort when it comes to post-cooking clean-up.

Timing Techniques

Timing is critical in short-order cooking. Every dish must be ready at the same time to ensure a seamless flow of customers. Here are some timing techniques that every cook should use:

Technique Description
Stacking This involves stacking finished dishes on top of each other to keep them warm.
Setting Timers This involves setting timers to remind oneself of certain tasks during the cooking process.
Organization Proper organization ensures that a cook knows exactly what needs to be done and by when.

By implementing these techniques, cooks can ensure that customers receive high-quality food quickly and efficiently. It is an art form that requires practice, dedication, and focus. By mastering these techniques, cooks can excel in their profession and create an enjoyable dining experience for their customers.

7 FAQs About “What Does It Mean in Short Order”

1. What is the meaning of “in short order”?

“In short order” means to do something quickly or promptly.

2. Can “in short order” be used in a formal setting?

Yes, “in short order” can be used in a formal setting as long as it is appropriate for the context.

3. Is “in short order” a common phrase?

Yes, “in short order” is a commonly used phrase in the English language.

4. Can “in short order” be used interchangeably with “in a rush”?

Yes, “in short order” can be used interchangeably with “in a rush” to convey a sense of urgency.

5. Can “in short order” be used to describe the speed of a process?

Yes, “in short order” can be used to describe the speed of a process, such as a service being completed quickly.

6. Is “in short order” always used to describe something being done quickly?

Yes, “in short order” is used to describe something that is done quickly or promptly.

7. Can “in short order” be used to make a request?

Yes, “in short order” can be used to make a request for something to be done promptly.

Closing Thoughts

Now you know what “in short order” means and how it can be used in various situations. Whether you need to convey a sense of urgency or request prompt action, utilizing this phrase can help you to communicate your intentions clearly. Thanks for reading and be sure to visit again for more language insights.