Unit 207 Hand-out Serve Food at the table GREETING

Unit 207 Hand-out
Serve Food at the table
A warm friendly smile and pleasant greeting when you first meet customers will do much to
help them enjoy their meal.
Never leave customers waiting without an explanation, an apology, and an offer to help.
After you have greeted the customers, ask if they have reserved a table. When the answer
is yes, ask for the name, check with the reservations record for the size of the party, table
number and any special requirements.
Lead the way when you show customers to the table. You know where you are going, and
by arriving first you are ready to help customers be seated, e.g. pulling chairs out for ladies
and those with mobility difficulties and handing out the menus.
If they are not greeted when they come into the restaurant, some customers will make their
own way to a table. This causes difficulties if the table is reserved for another party, or has
not been cleared yet, or is in a part of the room where the serving staff are very busy. If the
customers are already seated and studying the menu by the time you arrive, welcome them
by saying e.g. "Good evening". In some restaurants, the staff introduce themselves by name.
You might then offer drinks or take the food order.
For customers you know by name, large parties and VIPs, you should be able to show them
straight to their table. This gives an impression of personal service that customers
Help customers who have communication or mobility difficulties, e.g. by offering a Braille
menu, moving chairs aside for wheelchairs, bringing a high chair or cushions
for children.
If the table is set for more customers than required, remove the extra place settings. Do
this quietly and with as few trips as you can.
Customer skills when taking orders
- If the customer is not ready to order, offer to return to the table
- Face the customers as they make their choices. Look at them when they speak
- Be patient if customers are indecisive or change their minds. Offer some suggestions
or try to gently guide them to a decision.
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- Do not promise what cannot delivered
- Repeat the order to check you have each detail correct
Your most valuable tools are knowledge of products and ability to adapt it to your guests’
- serve all food from the left side of the guest, except when special circumstances (a wall,
pillar) make this inconvenient for the guest.
- serve all beverages from the guest´s right side. Fill water glasses two-thirds full.
- clear from the right. This is the practice.
- serve everyone in the party the same course at the same time
- fill water and beverage glasses, replace cutlery, clear away side dishes, bring bread - before
being asked.
- serve drinks before food - many customers enjoy a drink while waiting for the meal and
with their meal. The wine for a particular course should be served immediately before or
after the food
- collect the items on plates when needed - too soon and hot food becomes cold while cold
food gets warm. It is a hygiene risk to have food waiting at the wrong temperature
- collect plates before or with the food - otherwise the food has to wait around?
- pick up dropped items as soon as you can - but avoid unnecessary interruption in the
service. Do not leave cutlery retrieved from the floor in a place where they might be
mistaken for clean items.
- Clear as quietly as possible. Handle the cutlery gently but firmly. Do not bang plates when
scraping or piling them even if there are no customers in the room.
When a man and a woman are eating together, the lady is served first.
When two couples are eating together, the lady on the host´s right is served first, then the
other lady, other gentleman, and the host.
When more than six persons are eating together, the person on the host´s right is served
first and then the quests are served counterclockwise. Alternatively, the lady
on the host`s right is served first then the lady on his left, then all the other guests,
continuing around to the right regardless of sex.
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In other situations, the old are served before the young, ladies before gentlemen, and
children after ladies.
Drinks and wines are always served from the right. Before serving the unopened bottle is
presented to the host from the right. This gesture enables the host to confirm that the
drink is the one ordered. After this confirmation, the waiter opens the bottle on a serving
table in front of the guests. A small quantity of wine is poured into the host´s glass. If the
wine is up to expectations, it is then served to the guests, starting with the guest of honour
or the oldest lady or gentleman, followed by the other guests and then the host.
For white wine and rose wine the glass is half filled at its most. These wines need to be filled
more often and thus the wine will always be at the right temperature and fresh. The red
wine glass is filled to the widest point, no more than half full, so that the aroma can develop
at the point with the largest surface. Sparkling wine and champagne are served at a
temperature of 8°C to 10°C. The bottle must be brought to the guest´s table in an ice
bucket, in ice or water, without being shaken. If this rule is not followed, the wine will "go
wild", the cork will pop and the wine will spill out of the bottle Pour a small quantity into
each glass, and the glasses are then filled to a maximum of two thirds full.
Customers expect their food and drinks to be served in a certain order. Menus are built
around the accepted order of dishes, moving from the light and delicate to the more
substantial. The dessert or sweet course will be designed to finish the meal. But because
customers` appetites will depend on what they have eaten, the sweet order is not taken
until the preceding course has been finished.
Customers do not want to feel hurried. Leave a slight pause after everyone at the table has
finished the course.
Sometimes it is better to clear the plates as customers finish, for example. Remove a plate
which has been pushed aside, or is being hit noisily by a child.
Clear quietly yet efficiently. To take many plates at a time and stack them on the sideboard
or carry them out of the room, is the quietest method. Plates are normally removed with
the right hand from the right hand side of the customer. Glasses, cups and saucers are also
removed from the right.
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With practice you can stack plates as you clear them from the table. For most people eight
main course plates is the maximum that can be managed at one time, three or four if there
are leftovers (e.g. bones and other items) on the plates.
For clearing side plates (e.g. bread plates) it may help to take a clean dinner plate to the
table. Use this as the first plate, to stack cutlery and collect leftovers.
For soup plates with liners, collect two plates at a time and take them to the sideboard for
stacking. Clearing more than this is difficult and noisy, as you have to keep rearranging the
piles of liners, bowls and cutlery.
Use a tray, unless there are only a few items to remove. Remove napkins, wipe any spills.
Leave cloth-covered tables covered. Replace the cloth with a clean one before the table is
reused. All cutlery and crockery left on the table should be collected for washing. Do the
same for linen napkins.
Ensuring that linen and service items are ready for service
To avoid running out of service items and equipment during service, it is essential that
stocks be thoroughly checked during Mise en Place. Some establishments may have a list of
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suggested stock levels. If your organisation does not have a list, you will need to check with
your supervisor to find out the following information:
How many guests are expected?
What type of table service is being used? E.g. table d'hôte or á la Carte.
Are there any special guest requirements?
Once you are familiar with the type and range of service being offered you need to ensure
that you have sufficient supplies. It is also essential to check that linen and service equipment
is clean and free from damage. Items to be checked may include:
table coverings
table napkins
service cloths
Service items and equipment
crockery, cutlery and silverware
service dishes and flats
hot plates and plate warmers
refrigerated units
hot and cold beverage dispensers
trays or trolleys
table decorations
When setting up with these items it is important that you inspect each one carefully. Any
unclean service items should be returned for washing. Any damaged items must not be used
for service. They should be reported to your supervisor. Your establishment may have in
place a procedure for recording damaged items. This helps maintain a constant supply and
keeps track of items to avoid wasting company funds.
During Mise en Place, you may also need to turn on equipment such as hot plates and
warmers or drink dispensers. If using a coffee machine, make sure you have enough filter
paper and coffee for the service period. Make sure that all equipment is working correctly.
It is also important to check that all refrigerated units in the service area are at the correct
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temperature. Any faulty equipment should not be used and should be immediately reported
to your supervisor.
Thoroughly completing all stages of Mise en Place prior to service will assist you in the
following ways:
You will not waste time during service looking for items.
Customers will not be bumped or made to feel uncomfortable by your frantic
You will be able to offer a more relaxed service to your customers.
You will not add unnecessary stress to the working environment.
Common Napkin Folds
Preparing and storing condiments and accompaniments
Condiments and accompaniments refer to those items, which are placed on the table or
offered to the guest to enhance or complement their meal.
Each establishment will offer a set range of condiments and accompaniments and they may
include any of the following:
salt (table, sea salt)
pepper (white, cracked or milled)
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sugars and sweeteners
prepared sauces and dressings (mustards, ketchup, pickles, jams, vinegar, oil,
mayonnaise, vinaigrette and other salad dressings)
prepared breads (rolls, melba toast, breadsticks, croissants or speciality
Butter or margarine.
Before the start of service, it is important that you check to see that you have enough
condiments and accompaniments. All containers need to be filled up and you need to check
that they are clean and free flowing.
Each establishment will have set ways that they prefer to present their condiments and
accompaniments, but there are some general rules you must follow.
Salt and Pepper
The containers used to hold salt and ground pepper are called cruets. They should be clean
and polished. Salt shakers in humid conditions require some rice grains mixed inside to keep
the grains separate. All cruets and pepper mills should be filled and tested before service.
Use a thin long bladed knife to cut butter into the shape required in your workplace.
Different shapes can be made in advance and placed in a bowl of ice and water in the
refrigerator. All butter portions should be garnished according to the requirements of the
Sauces and dressings
If these are commercially prepared, you should check the recommended storage and serving
instructions from the supplier. If they are made on the premises, check with the chef for
information on storage and serving. Any sauces/dressings past their use-by date should be
thrown out and reported to your supervisor. The outside of sauce and dressing bottles
must be wiped clean before service and you must make sure that all bottles are full.
Sugar and sweeteners
Sugar containers should be carefully checked before each service. Make sure that the sugar
grains are separate and ensure that moisture or humidity has not affected the sugar. Check
that dirty teaspoons with coffee or tea have not tainted sugar. It is also important to check
that there has been no insect contamination–insects like ants, which are attracted to the
sweetness of sugar.
Wipe the outside of the bowl and fill with sugar.
Types of service
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Restaurant service –
Usually in a restaurant the management determines dining area the room layout, type of
decorations and service equipment. The tables should be set up identically to present an
image of neatness to the customer. Occasionally, a large booking may have a special request
for restaurant arrangement, but in most cases your establishment will have a routine system
for setting up the dining area.
Functions and banquets –
For large functions, banquets, conferences or meetings, the arrangements will have to be
agreed with the organisers in advance. They will work together with management to decide
on the following:
food and drinks to be served
room layout
seating arrangements
table decorations and types of table setting.
Laying table settings correctly for food service
The first stage in setting a table is to lay the tablecloth. Care must be taken to keep
tablecloths in good condition.
Whatever the table size or type of cloth, there are a number of points to remember:
cloth must be clean with no stains
cloth must have no tears or frayed edges
all sides of the cloth must hang equally over the edges of the table (approx 30 - 45
handle the cloth as little as possible to avoid creasing or marking it
never allow the cloth to touch the floor
cloth must be right side up
if overlays are used over the tablecloth, they should hang equally over the edge of
the table
if table mats are used, they should be placed with the bottom edge in line with the
edge of the table and should be directly in front of the customer's seat.
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Type of table setting
The two standard settings used in a dining area are á la Carte and table d'hôte. Regardless of
which setting is required, some basic principles apply.
The guest's napkin or a dinner plate is placed in a central position in front of the
customer's chair. This acts as a centre guide.
All cutlery should be cleaned and polished.
Lay the cutlery from next to the plate, moving out according to the number of
courses being served. Cutlery should be 2.5 cm from the edge of the table.
Position a polished side plate to the left of the setting, approx. 2cm from the edge of
the table.
Side knives are positioned on the right side of the side plate (to allow for the service
of rolls and bread).
The wineglass is positioned 2.5 cms above the tip of the main knife. Any additional
glassware should be 45o to the left of the first glass.
Some establishments may vary this arrangement so check with your supervisor first.
Your supervisor can advise you on the positioning of table centre items, cruets,
ashtrays, candles, display items and table numbers.
Any monogrammed tableware and glassware must be positioned so that the emblem
faces the guest.
Napkin folds should be kept simple to ensure that they remain hygienic for the guest.
Setting the table d'hôte
This setting generally includes the entire cutlery and glassware required for the entire meal
since it is already know what the guest will be eating. You must study the menu so that you
know exactly what cutlery, crockery and glassware will be required.
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Setting the banquet cover
This table setting will differ from establishment to establishment. Usually the glassware,
napkins and condiments will be placed on the table. Sometimes basic cutlery is placed on
the table, but very often the guest collects the cutlery when they serve themselves from the
buffet table. This is because you will not know prior to service what food the guest will
select. Similarly, the guest will collect the appropriate crockery from the buffet table.
Setting the á la carte cover
This setting is laid for a basic main course since it will be adjusted once the guest's order has
been taken. The cover consists of:
main knife and fork
side plate and knife
wine glass.
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