Your customers’ table service requires certain protocol standards. It doesn’t matter if the restaurant is casual and simple or if it’s elegant and sophisticated. Table service will be an important indicator of professionalism.
The manuals that set the rules for serving at your clients’ table recognize three styles or modes: French, English, Russian, American or direct service. Each of these modalities has its own history and guidelines.
Serve at your customers’ table french
The formalization of table service arose from 1850. Previously, diners would come to the table and find the fountains already ready; each person chose his place and used the tray he had nearby.
Inspired by this model, the French service means offering the diner the source for him to be served. The protocol indicates that the source must be presented on the left of the diner. It will be he who will be served using the service cutlery that is at the source for this purpose.
It is a time-consuming service that involves a lot of staff available, so the cost is high. It is an unusual modality in restaurant venues. It is often used in catering that serves special lunches or dinners.
Serve at your customers’ table in English
From the customs of the British nobility, English service is entirely in the hands of the waiter. This is positioned to the left of the diner. Carry the fountain in one hand, with the other serving the right part on the plate, which is already in front of the person.
Similar to french service, the cost is high. If the number of diners is high, it takes a lot of staff. It is an option that is frequently used in gala events.
Serving your customers’ table to Russian
It is also known as “war service”. The waiter carries a side table (from there its name “warrior”) and is located near the diners. In the gueridon is the fountain and there serves each dish. Then he hands it over to the diner.
Occasionally, the dish is finished in the presence of diners, for example, a flambéed or salad dressing. In others it is already prepared from the kitchen, and only proceeds to the cuts and separation of portions.
This method requires dining space and highly trained waiters; it’s a slow and expensive service. Currently, this modality is used in very exclusive restaurants.
Serving your customers’ table to the American
It is the service that restaurants use most often. The food is packed in the kitchen and brought to the table already served. It is the fastest service and the one that requires fewer staff; therefore, the cost is lower.
The order of delivery of dishes at the table is determined by the kitchen. The first one out is the first one to come to the table. ‘First finish, first out’. It requires great organization to the inside of the kitchen, so that all dishes arrive at the same time at the table.
General table service rules
- Whatever model you choose, the protocol sets certain guidelines that are common to everyone.
- Drink first. The customer arrives, sits down and immediately will serve the drink. Generally, while looking at the letter you are offered something to drink. Receiving the diner with fresh water already at the table is a good option.
- Drink and bread are served to the left of the diner.
- Dishes with food are introduced to the left of the diner. The waiter will use his left hand for this action. They are removed from the right, using the right hand.
- In case the waiter has to place cutlery on the table with the diner installed, he will place the knives on the right and the forks on the left. It is important to avoid the noises of cutlery being touched.
- Glasses and glasses require special attention. The waiter’s fingers should not approach the edge of the container.
- The service person should never cross his arms ahead of the customer.
- Everything that falls to the ground will immediately be removed and replaced, whether covered, crockery, napkin or food.
- Please note that the wine service requires a special protocol. The wine is brought to the table in its bottle; the label is presented to the person who has chosen it and then served for tasting. When the diner approves, he will proceed to serve the other people at the table.
- Good service at your customers’ table demands an attentive attitude from the waiter. It is necessary to anticipate the wishes of the diners, to recognize in their attitudes their needs; these are conditions that contribute to excellence.
- Lying at the table. The tablecloth should cover the table with a drop of thirty centimeters. Above it are located the plates three centimeters from the edge of the table and no less than sixty centimeters between them. The bread dish will go left.
- On the sides of the plate are the cutlery, forks on the left, knives on the right, spoons next to the knives. They will be placed in the order in which they will be used, from the outside in.
- Dessert cutlery is usually located in front of the top of the plate, horizontally.
- The water cup must go in front of the tip of the knives. In the same line, on the right will be located the glasses for the other drinks.
These rules internalize and become customary, and are applied automatically on a day-to-day. The ability to train waiters is an important task to achieve this.