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Types of Guest Checks

Guest checks are a vital part of service at any establishment, from a quaint cafe to a chain restaurant. They are essential to keeping orders organized, and making sure that the kitchen is staying as productive and efficient as possible. A small tool, there are surprisingly many options and features that guest checks offer. This buying guide will help to explain these features, making it easier for you to decide exactly what type of guest check you'd like to use for your business.

There are many different guest check brands out there. Below you'll find a comparison table showing these brands and how our Choice brand guest checks match up. Hopefully this chooser will help you find the perfect product for your establishment!


Receipt Stub

Receipt Stub - Located at either the bottom or the top of the guest check, receipt stubs feature perforations that allow them to be easily and quickly torn off. These stubs often include spaces to put the date, the total amount, and the number of guests. The check number is often also included.

Guest checks with receipt stubs are great for establishments that do not have a set seating chart and where customers can sit wherever they'd like. Servers can then match up the orders coming out of the kitchen with the customers holding the stub with the correct check number.


Menu Prompts - Menu prompts are abbreviations for courses that usually appear at the top of a guest check. These abbreviations may include:

  • APPT - Appetizer
  • VEG/POT - Vegetable / Potato
  • BEV - Beverage
Menu prompts help remind waitstaff to ask guests if they'd like to order appetizers, sides, etc., and of the correct order they need to enter items into the POS. However, it also helps the kitchen.

If the kitchen can see what customers have ordered for the various courses, then they can time themselves so that the dishes come out spaced perfectly.

Your waitstaff will appreciate not having to worry about getting dishes out late, and your customers will certainly be impressed with your impeccable meal service!

Table Diagrams

Table Diagrams - Some guest checks feature table diagrams in the upper portion of the page, portraying square, rectangular, and round tables. These diagrams also show numbers surrounding the tables which are called "pivot points."

Pivot points are used to match the guests' orders with the seats they're sitting in. With this handy feature, there is no need to interrupt your guests' dinner conversation. Your waitstaff can easily and efficiently serve their meals without disturbing them, enhancing customer satisfaction.


Beverage Backer - Rather than crowding the front page of your guest check with drink orders, appetizer orders, side orders, etc., some guest checks offer a beverage backer. This is located on the reverse side of the guest check and is specifically for listing beverages.

Beverage backers typically include numbered lines, so you can match a guest's drink with their seat number, making serving hassle free. This feature will help to keep your servers organized. It will also help you save money and paper, since you're using one piece instead of two!

Check Number

Check Numbers - Most guest checks contain check numbers somewhere on them. These are good for a variety of reasons:

  • Check numbers help you to keep track of guest orders, thereby keeping your meal service organized.
  • They help to keep track of inventory, so you know exactly how much of a certain dish you have left and when you have to pull it from the menu.
  • They keep track of cash flow, so you can be sure that everything is adding up by the end of the day.

Key Terminology


  • Carbon paper has an ink or pigment coating on one side.
  • Other side is coated with wax.
  • Carbon paper is located between the original sheet and the sheet that will have the copy.
  • Ink or pigment from the carbon paper tranfers the text.
  • Middle piece placed between the original and the blank paper is not used as a copy.


  • Back of the top sheet is coated with a micro-encapsulated dye.
  • Top of the bottom sheet has a clay coating.
  • Utilizes multiple sheets.
  • Pressure from writing causes dye capsules to burst, staining the clay sheet in the form of letters.
  • Only copies are made.

One Part Guest Check

One Part:

  • Great for establishments where your customers order at the counter.
  • Ideal if your kitchen staff are the only ones who really use the guest checks.

Multiple Part Guest Check

Multiple Parts:

  • Great for sit-down, full-service establishments.
  • Ideal if more than one person needs to look at the guest check.

Bound Guest Check


  • Checks combined in one book.
  • Bound end has perforations for easy tearing.
  • Great if your servers are responsible for multiple tables.

Bound Guest Check


  • Not bound into books.
  • Preferred for use with guest check presenters.
  • Great if your customers order at the counter.


A Check for Every Plate - Make sure that whatever food leaves your kitchen has a guest check accompanying it. This will guarantee satisfactory customer service, ensuring that your waitstaff knows exactly what table to go to, and exactly who ordered what. It will also help you to reduce food waste. If meals are delivered to the correct table rather than the incorrect table, then less meals will be sent back having to be thrown away.

Use abbreviations - If you have a fairly standard menu that doesn't change very often, using abbreviations can increase the efficiency of your establishment. Your waiters and waitresses won't have to spend so much time fully writing out every order. Also, chefs will be able to quickly assess an order and immediately begin making it without having to tediously read through lines of writing. Examples of abbreviations include:

  • Chx Parm = Chicken Parmesan
  • Mush Ench = Mushroom Enchiladas
  • Stk Sal = Steak Salad

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details.

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