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"Types of service"

  ‘Enter to learn, go forth to serve’


A restaurant is a commercial establishment committed to the sale of food and beverage.  A restaurant may be a licensed part of a hotel operation, whereby the sales of the restaurant contribute to the sales performance of the hotel as a whole. Restaurants may also be independent business entities under individual ownership and management.


There are different types of restaurants:


Coffee Shop

A concept borrowed from the United States, distinguished by its quick service.  Food is pre-plate and the atmosphere informal. Table cover layouts are less elaborate and have basic essentials only.



Continental Restaurant

The atmosphere is more sophisticated and caters for people who can eat at leisure. The accent is on good continental food and elaborate service.



Specialty Restaurant

The entire atmosphere and décor are geared to a particular type of food or theme.  Thus restaurants, which offer Chinese, Japanese, Indian cuisine would be termed “specialty restaurants”.  The service is based more or less on the style of the country from which the particular cuisine originates.




There are some basic principles in food and beverage service that a waiter must know:

·       When food is served by the waiter at the table from a platter onto a guest plate, the service is done from the left.
·       When food is pre-plated the service to the guest is usually done from the right, though modern convention permits service from the left also.
·       All beverages are served from the right.
·      Soups are served from the right unless it is poured by a waiter from a large tureen into a soup cup in which case it is done from the left of the guest.
·      Ladies are always served first and the remaining guests clockwise. Soiled plates should always be cleared from the table from the right. Empty 

      crockery  and fresh cutlery are always served from the right. Never reach across a Customer. Hence, when a guest is present at the table, all items

      and equipment  on the right of guest must be placed from the right and that on the left from the left


English Service: Often referred to as the "Host Service" because the host plays an active role in the service. Food is brought on platters by the waiter and is shown to the host for approval. The waiter then places the platters on the tables. The host either portions the food into the guest plates directly or portions the food and allows the waiter to serve. For replenishment of guest food the waiter may then take the dishes around for guests to help themselves or be served by the waiter.

French Services: It is a very personalized service. Food is brought from the kitchen in dishes and salvers, which are placed directly on the table. The plates are kept near the dish and the guests help themselves.

Silver Service: The table is set for hors d'oeuvres, soup, main courses and sweet dish in sterling silverware. The food is portioned into silver platters at the kitchen itself which are placed at the sideboard with burners or hot plates to keep the food warm in the restaurant. Plates are placed before the guest. The waiter then picks the platter from the hot plate and presents the dish to the host for approval. He serves each guest using a service spoon and fork. All food is presented in silver dishes with elaborate dressing.

American Service: The American service is a pre-plated service which means that the food is served into the guest's plate in the kitchen itself and brought to the guest. The portion is predetermined by the kitchen and the accompaniments served with the dish balance the entire presentation in terms of nutrition and color. This type of service is commonly used in a coffee shop where service is required to be fast.


Cafeteria Service: This service exists normally in industrial canteens, colleges, hospitals or hotel cafeterias. To facilitate quick service, the menu is fixed and is displayed on large boards. The guest may have to buy coupons in advance, present them to the counter waiter who then serves the desired item. Sometimes food is displayed behind the counter and the guests may indicate their choice to the counter attendant. The food is served pre-plated and the cutlery is handed directly to the guest. Guests may then sit at tables and chairs provided by the establishment. Sometimes high tables are provided where guests can stand and eat.

Counter Service: (Snack-bar Service) Tall stools are placed along a counter so that the guest may eat the food at the counter itself. In better establishments, the covers are laid out on the counter itself. Food is either displayed behind the counter for the guests to choose from, or is listed on a menu card or common black board.

Grill Room Service: In this form of service various meats are grilled in front of the guest. The meats may be displayed behind a glass partition or well decorated counter so that the guest can select his exact cut of meat. The food comes pre-plated.

Room Service: It implies serving of food and beverage in guest rooms of hotels. Small orders are served in trays. Major means are taken to the room on trolleys. The guest places his order with the room service order taker. The waiter receives the order and transmits the same to the kitchen. In the meanwhile he prepares his tray or trolley. He then goes to the cashier to have a cheque prepared to take along with the food order for the guests’ signature or payment. Usually clearance of soiled dishes from the room is done after half an hour or an hour. However, the guest can telephone Room Service for the clearance as and when he has finished with the meal.

There are two types of Room Service:

·       Centralized:     Here al the food orders are processed from the main kitchen and sent to the rooms by a common team of waiters.

·       Decentralized: Each floor or a set of floor may have separate pantries to service them. Orders are taken at a central point by order-takers who in turn

                                  convey the order to the respective pantry.

Mobile Pantries: Some hotels have pantries installed in service elevators. Orders are received by a central point that convey it to the mobile pantry. The pantry has to just switch on the floor and give instant service. For the sake of information, in countries, which have a shortage of manpower, large hotels install mechanized dispensing units in rooms. The guest inserts the necessary value of coins into the machine, which will eject pre-prepared food and beverages for guest consumption.

Buffet Service: A self-service where food is displayed on tables. The guest takes his plate from a stack at the end of each table or requests the waiter behind the buffet table to serve him.

For sit-down buffet service, tables are laid with crockery and cutlery as in a restaurant. The guest may serve himself at the buffet table and return to eat at the guest table laid out. The waiter may serve a few courses like the appetizer and soup at the table.

Russian Service: An elaborate silver service much on the lines of French service except that the food is portioned and carved by the waiter at the gueridon trolley in the restaurant in full view of the guests. Display and presentation are a major part of this service. The principle involved is to have whole joints, poultry, game and fish elaborately dressed and garnished, presented to guests and carved and portioned by the waiter.

Gueridon Service: This is a service where a dish comes partially prepared from the kitchen to be completed in the restaurant by the waiter or, when a complete meal is cooked at the table-side in the restaurant. The cooking is done on a gueridon trolley which is a mobile trolley with a gas cylinder and burners. The waiter plays a prominent part, as he is required to fillet, carve, flambé and prepare the food with showmanship. The waiter has to have considerable dexterity and skill.


Breakfast Services:

There are basically two types of breakfast offered in hotels and restaurants. The Continental Breakfast and the English Breakfast. The Continental Breakfast originated in Europe. It is a light meal as the Europeans normally have a heavy mid-day meal. The English breakfast is heavy and is a major meal of the day. A traditional English breakfast runs into six or seven courses.

Continental Breakfast

Consists of bread rolls or toast with jam, honey, or marmalade and rounded off with tea or coffee. Better hotels may serve brioches and croissants. The cover layout consists of

(a) A side plate and a side knife
(b) A butter dish and a butter knife on a quarter plate
(c) A tea cup and saucer with a teaspoon
(d) A sugar pot with tongs
(e) A bread boat or toast rack
(f)  Serviette
(g) Jam, marmalade and honey pots

Note: There are variations to the Continental Breakfast. Cafe com- plate refers to Continental Breakfast with coffee (or tea) while cafe simple refers to just coffee or tea with nothing to eat.

English Breakfast:

Is more elaborate and offers a choice of juices (or fresh or stewed fruits), cereals, fish course, choice of eggs, meat course, toast with jam, marmalade or honey, and finally, tea or coffee. The cover consists of :

(a) A side plate and a side knife
(b) A butter dish and a butter knife on a quarter plate
(c) A tea cup and saucer with a teaspoon
(d) A sugar pot (a tongs, if there are sugar cubes)
(e) A cruet set
(/) A fish knife and fish fork
(g) Dinner knife and fork
(h) Jam, marmalade and honey
(i) Dessert spoon and fork
(j) Serviette

Typical English breakfast Menu:

·       Chilled fruit juices : Orange, pineapple. tomato, grapefruit.
·       Stewed fruit : Prunes, pears, apples, figs.
·       Cereals: Porridge, cornflakes.
·       Fish: Grilled herring, fried sole.
·       Eggs: Poached, boiled, scrambled, fried, omelets
·       Meat: Sausages, bacon, salami, kidney, breakfast steak.
·       Breads: Toast, rolls, brioche, croissant, bread sucks.
·       Preserves: Jam, marmalade, honey.
·       Beverage: Tea, coffee, hot chocolate.
·       Eggs can be served with: grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, fried potatoes.



One of the technical terms very often used in the hospitality industry is a "cover". What does this mean? There are 2 definitions according to the context

1) When discussing how many guests a restaurant or dining room will seat or how many guests will be attending a certain cocktail party, we refer to the total number of guests concerned as so many "covers".

2) When laying a table in readiness for service there are a variety of place settings, which have to be laid according to the type of meal and service being offered. This place setting is a type of cover being laid. In other words a cover denotes all the necessary cutlery, flatware, crockery, glassware and linen necessary to a lay a certain type of place setting for a specific meal.


This cover follows the principle that the cutlery and flatware for each course will be laid just before each course is served. The traditional cover given below represents the cover for hors d' oeuvres which is the first course in a classic menu sequence.

·       Fish plate
·       Serviette
·       Fish knife
·       Fish fork
·       Side plate
·       Side knife
·       Wine glass

When an a la carte cover is being laid, the cutlery and flatware required by the guest for the dishes ordered will be placed course by course. In other words there should not be at any time during the meal, more cutlery and flatware on the table than is required by the guest at that specific time.


This cover follows the principle that the cutlery and flatware for the entire meal will be laid before the first course is served. The traditional cover is given below:

·       Serviette
·       Soup spoon
·       Fish knife
·       Fish fork
·       Meat knife
·       Meat fork
·       Dessert spoon
·       Dessert fork
·       Side plate
·       Side knife
·       Wine glass

When a Table d’hote cover has been laid, the steward should remove, after the order has been taken, any unnecessary cutlery and flatware and really any extra items that may be required.

After the above covers have been laid, the table-layout should be completed by the addition of the following items:

·       Cruet set
·       Ashtray
·       Bud vase

All applicable cutlery and flatware should be laid 1.25 cm from the edge of the table. Water goblets after polishing should be placed at the top right-hand of the cover.

ver denotes all the necessary cutlery, flatware, crockery, glassware and linen necessary to lay a certain type of place setting for a specific meal, for a single person.

Size Of One Cover = 18x24 Inches.




Standard Table Setup


C.   Central Appointments


·       Ash Tray

·       Flower Vase

·       Cruet Set


D.   For One Cover


·       Cheese Plate

·       Butter Knife/Side Knife

·       All Purpose Fork

·       All Purpose Spoon

·       All Purpose Knife

·       Dinner Napkin

·       Water Goblet




·       Round Table (4 Covers)                           3 Feet In Diameter

·       Round Table (8 Covers)                           5 Feet In Diameter

·       Rectangular Table (4 Covers)                 4 Feet 6 Inches  x  2 Feet  6 Inches.

·       Square Table (2 Covers)                          2 Feet 6 Inches Square

·       Square Table (4 Covers)                          3 Feet Square






·       Round Table (4 Covers)                                            54 Inches  x  54 Inches

·       Square Table (2 Covers)                                           54 Inches  x  54 Inches

·       Square Table (4 Covers)                                           72 Inches  x  72 Inches

·       Rectangular Table (4 Covers)                                  72 Inches  x  54 Inches





·       Dinner Napkin                                        18  Inches Square

·       Cocktail Napkin                                      06 Inches Square




·       Height Of Chair                                      18 Inches From The Ground to Base and 39 Inches

·       Height Of Table                                      02 Feet 6 Inches From Ground To Top




·       All Purpose Spoon                                08  Inches

·       All Purpose Knife                                  10 Inches

·       All Purpose Fork                                    08 Inches



It is of paramount importance for any food and beverage professional to have a sound knowledge of the types of service styles given above. And yes, remember practice makes a man perfect !



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