HOTEL AND RESTAURANT SERVICES INSTRUCTIONS AND RULES FOR TABLE SERVICE PREPARING THE DINING ROOM FOR SERVICE Service goes smoothly when you are well prepared. The more that can be done in advance the more attention you can give to customers during service.
Everything that might be required for service is kept in the service area, where preparations can be completed and sometimes the washing-up is done. Other small stocks of cutlery, crockery, napkins and similar items may be kept on sideboards in the room conveniently located for re-laying tables.
Keep your preparation areas tidy, everything in its proper place, in good condition and clean.
GREETING CUSTOMERS AND TAKING ORDERS 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 appreciate.
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
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.
- 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’ needs.
GENERAL RULES FOR SERVICE - 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.
ORDER OF SERVICE 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.
In other situations, the old are served before the young, ladies before gentlemen, and children after ladies.
PRESENTING AND SERVING DRINKS 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.
SERVING THE FOOD 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.
CLEARING DURING THE MEAL 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.
STACKING PLATES AS YOU CLEAR 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.
ONCE CUSTOMERS HAVE LEFT THE TABLE 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.
CHECKLIST FOR WAITER
WAS THE RESTAURANT CLEAN AND TIDY
WERE DAILY SPECIALS APPETISINGLY DESCRIBED
WAS THE STAFF SUITABLE DRESSED, NEAT AND TIDY
WERE ALL MENU ITEMS AVAILABLE
WAS THE MEAL SERVED PROMTLY
WAS ALL TABLEWARE CLEAN
WERE ACCOMPANIMENTS AVAILABLE
WAS THE FOOD AT THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE
WAS THE PRESENTATION OF THE MEAL APPEALING
WERE TABLES CLEARED PROMPTLY BETWEEN COURSES
WERE THE GUESTS ENCOURAGED TO ORDER A SWEET OR COFFEE
CASE PROBLEMS 1 What can you say to a customer instead of: - I don`t think I can do that
- We have a problem
- I don`t know
- There`s nothing I can do about it – it´s the head office’s policy
- I`m new here
- We haven`t got it
- I`ve just come on duty
- I`m not sure I can help you.
2 You, as a service person, make a recommendation about a wine, and the guest decides to try it. The wine is brought to the table, opened, and according to custom, a sample is poured for the host. He tastes it but does not like it, saying it is "acidic" instead of "soft" as you described.
- Would you take the wine back?
- Who should take responsibility for the rejected bottle of wine?
- What are the exact words you would use to convey to the guest that you understand his objection to the wine?
- Why did this happen?
3 Why do you check the service equipment? What do you look for?
4 Describe your preparation routines. When should each task be done?
5 What is done to ensure the diningroom is comfortable for customers during service? What happens at the end of service?
6 Why is it important to know the glassware used for alcoholic beverages?
7 Why should a bottle of wine be handled with care before opening it?
8 Why is an ice bucket or wine cooler used in the service of sparkling wine?
9 Role-play serving alcoholic beverages.
Ask some of the trainees to be guests. Practice suggesting drinks, taking the order, opening and serving table wines and sparkling wines, serving beer, cocktails and mixed drinks.
10 What can you do to give customers a good impression of your workplace?
11 What questions might customers ask you about the menu? Why must you give accurate answers?
12 When should you ask the customers if they are satisfied with their meal?
13 During service, what can you do to keep the dining and service areas tidy? Why is this important?
14 How can you tell that a customer is ready to order?
FILL IN THE MISSING WORD(S) 15 The most important goals of any restaurant are to satisfy the customer and make a ___________
16 A second tablecloth or padding beneath the top tablecloth is called a _______________
17 Stand to the _____________ of the guest when taking orders.
18 Food is served from the ___________ of the guest with the _____________ hand, and beverages are served from the __________________ of the guest with the ____________ hand
19 Clear dishes from the_____________of the guest with the _______________hand.
Your responsibility in an emergency is to encourage everyone to _____________.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT ALTERNATIVE 21 The type of jewelry that may be worn with your uniform is a) a bracelet b) a watch c) a brooch d) a necklace.
22 Closing the dining room involves such duties as a) asking the remaining guests to leave, b) setting up the tables for the next morning, c) discarding voided checks, d) turning off all heating equipment such as roll warmers and coffee urns.
23 A guest traditionally gives a waiter/waitress a tip because a) the guest is happy with the service, b) a tip is required by law, c) the waiter/waitress asked for it, d) the waiter/waitress is entitled to it.
24 An example of an unsafe practice is to a) pass co-workers on the right in the aisles between tables, b) keep emergency exits unlocked, c) pour coffee refills while the guest is holding the cup, d) bend your knees when you lift a heavy tray.