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How to properly serve & types of table service


As waitstaff, you are members of the world’s most outstanding team. Because of this, there are both expectations and opportunities regarding your knowledge and performance:

  • You are each truly exceptional within a very competitive business arena.
  • This means that you must stand out as competent and knowledgeable.

Below are the time-tested basics of classic table service:

  • Food is properly served from the diner’s left side, and plates are removed from the diner’s right side.
  • Water and other liquids are poured from the right.
  • Coffee and tea are served from the diner’s right.
  • So as not to hit your guest with your right elbow, serve all foods with your left hand.
  • Place your fingers beneath the plate to support it. Your thumb will rest on the rim of the plate.
  • Whenever practical, the server stands to the left of the guest when taking the order.

You may experience a variety of styles of table service used in restaurants worldwide. They are listed below:

Plated Service:

 Plated Service is also called American Service.

  •  This most informal service is fast and efficient.
  • The food is plated in the kitchen and served directly to the diner.
  • This is the most common type of service found in restaurants and at large dinner parties.

English Service:

  •  English Service is also called service à l’anglaise (in the English manner).
  • In English Service, a server presents the food to the left of the diner, on a platter. The server then serves the diner directly from the platter, using a serving fork and spoon.
  • English Service is generally used for banquets because portions can be controlled based on the number of guests expected.

French Service:

  • French Service is also called service à la française (in the French manner).
  • In French Service, each guest is presented on his or her left with an arranged platter.
  • A serving spoon (bowl up) on the right, and a serving fork (tines down) on the left, are on the platter.
  • The guest serves himself or herself, taking the fork in the left hand (to keep the food steady) and the spoon in the right hand, bowl up (to lift the food).
  • The guest will place the serving fork and spoon back in their original positions, on the serving platter, as a matter of courtesy to the next guest.

Russian Service:

  •  Russian Service is also called service à la russe (in the Russian manner).
  • This service originated in the early 19th century.
  • The servers present decorated whole fish, meat, poultry or game to the guests with great flourish, on a platter.
  • In view of the guests, the meal is then carved up on a side table that has a burner.
  • Individual plates are then served.
  • While generally rare to find today, this very high-end service is found in a number of ultra-fine restaurants around the world.

Knowledge and planning will always lead you to success in cultivating a special guest experience.

Excerpts of blog taken from the book: Hospitality Management – People Skills & Manners on and off the Job. Copyright © 2015 Lyn Pont, PhD

“Pont’s book is a must-read for anyone considering a career in hospitality.”

— Isadore Sharp, chairman and founder, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

See the book at: www.HospitalityManners.com

Visit Lyn at: www.MannersForBusiness.com

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