Once the waiter has taken the guests order and adjusted the cutlery for the up coming courses the service of the meal can commence. If wine is being served this should happen before any food is served to the customers.
Before collecting the food from the kitchen, it is important to refresh your memory of what the guests have ordered and also to communicate this information to the other waiters that maybe assisting with service. Make sure each waiter knows what guests they are serving and what food those guests have ordered. Points to be noted when carrying plates to the restaurant are below
- Handle plates correctly – NO THUMBS
- Service cloths should be used for hot plates
- Keep plates flat at all times especially when carrying 3 plate
Service of the meal at the table should be synchronized when more than one waiter is serving. Wait until the other waiters are in position at the table and place the plates in front of the guest at the same time from the left using the left hand. Avoid serving to the right or using your right hand to serve into the left. Once all the dishes have been served the headwaiter should announce all the items to the guests. This should be done from one position on the table using your hand to gesture to the guests as you announce their particular dish. The waiter must speak clearly so that all the guests at the table can hear. Before leaving the table make sure you double check that the guests have everything they require. If an accompaniment is being served with the course it should be served immediately.
Wine and water glasses should now be checked and topped up if necessary. Used or empty glasses should be removed from the table.
Once the guests have finished their first course, the plates should be cleared from the right using the right hand to remove the plate from in front of the guest. This should be done as quietly as possible. Waiters should be able to clear at least three plates at once and ensure careful control of cutlery on the plates. Once all items have been cleared from the table, preparation for the next course can start. If a different wine is being served, the correct glasses should be in place and the wine should be served in the same manner as before ensuring it is served before the food. If a bottle of the same wine is being served a clean tasting glass should be presented to the host. Any empty or unwanted glasses should be removed and the cover for the next course should be laid correctly.
The main course should be served in the same manner as the first course. Any accompaniments should be served immediately and the head waited should announce the food items to the guests. If any items are being silver served, these should be served from the left. Before leaving the table the waiter should check with the guest that they have everything they require. Once again any empty glasses should be removed and wine and water topped up. Check the side station and remove any items that are no longer required.
When the guests have finished eating their main course, the main course plates and cutlery should be cleared from the right using the right hand. If carrying more than two plates, ensure that correct cutlery control to prevent it from falling. Using a salver, side plates and side knives, all accompaniments and the salt and pepper cruets should be removed from the table. The table is then crumbed down. Crumb down each guest starting from the left and then the right. Remember to bring down the dessert cutlery as you crumb down. The dessert fork should be repositioned when crumbing the left and dessertspoon when crumbing the right side. Remember NEVER cross your guest to bring down the cutlery. Dessert menus should then be presented or desserts announced to the guests. The guests should be given time to make their choice. The waiter should be prepared to give advice or explain in detail any food items should a guest have questions. The order should be taken using the same method as for the starter and main course order. It is now customary to take a hot beverage order at this time. Hot beverages should be served until the desserts are served unless specifically requested by the guest. Both dessert and hot beverage orders should be inputted to the EPOS. Orders will print out automatically in the dessert kitchen and at the bar.
Ensure the guests have the correct cover for their dessert course and serve dessert in the same manner as starter and main course. Once the dessert is served the waiter should prepare for tea and coffee service. Depending on the custom of the restaurant, tea and coffee will be served with or after dessert. An SOP on serving tea and coffee can be found in the F&B notes section of this site. Once all the guests are finished their desserts, the plates can be cleared immediately. If petits fours are being served they can be places on the table at this point. Once the bill is required, it should be presented promptly to the host and closed appropriately using the EPOS.
When the guests are leaving the waiter and Maître d’ should acknowledge the guest and assist with jackets if necessary. The table should be cleared down using a salver and reset if required.