Front of House / FOH

What is Front of House / FOH?

Definition of Front of House / FOH in Construction

In the retail world, there are several common terms that can confuse the average layperson.  One of those terms is FOH or front of house.

The front of house or FOH, is all of the space available to the customers or the public. Whether it is the majority of the space, such as in a retail store, or a minority of the space, such as a dry cleaning store, the front of house is normally the area that is more architecturally stimulating and inviting.

Think of the stores that you have been in. The concept also relates to car dealers, dry cleaners, or almost any type of retail or service building that you would come in contact with.

The front of house or FOH, is an important aspect of any retailer’s sales incentives. There are normally models displaying clothing, display racks of products as well as the point of sale or POS. The POS is the cash register or area where you exchange your payment for their product. The FOH also will have any public restrooms, fitting rooms, or other public needs such as manicure areas, hair cutting booths, etc.

In many instances, when a retail store is under a scheduling deadline, the FOH is the first to be completed. Insofar as the area is in the public view, it directly influences sales and advertisement for the retailer. The area must be substantially finished to allow the store to open without any negative reaction by the customers. The FOH is much more important to the customer than it is to the employee, who is more interested in their accommodations, such as a lunch room that is located in the back of house or the BOH.

In most instances, the FOH will incorporate the entry to the store from the exterior, any public elevators and all access stairs to accommodate multiple sales floors within the FOH. The FOH will also have all required safety features such as sprinklers, fire alarms and exits clearly identified due to the liability of public access to these areas. All of these safety features must be completed, inspected and a certificate of occupancy provided, prior to any use of the FOH.