~With Class & Style~
Serving etiquette is a skillset that will help you know when,
whom, where and how to serve a meal to your guests. Whether you are
working in a restaurant or hosting a dinner party, serving etiquette
will help you present a meal with class and style.
We have all eaten at a restaurant or been a guest in a home
the meal that was prepared and served was top notch. One of the keys to
the success of these meals is the
way that it was served to you as a guest.
When a host, waitress or waiter takes the time to present the
meal with care and correctly, it allows you to feel like you are
Historically servants were the heart and pulse of
the home. The would
have needed to coordinate their actions to allow the meals to run
It was never an option to have them crashing into each other and
dropping the dishes that were served and subsequently cleared. The
methods they developed and used have carried over into today and should
be observed when serving a meal.
When serving in a restaurant, there are a few steps that are necessary
to follow to with serving etiquette. First and foremost, make sure you have good grooming
How you present yourself is key. If you take the time to look nice, no
matter where you work, you will always leave a good impression with
your guests. Second, the manner of language you use is also very
important. Use language that is well constructed and friendly. Swearing
and telling off-color jokes will offend most everyone.
After the party is seated, take note of who is seated where and if
there is someone who looks like they are in charge. Using
manners, approach the table and engage the party. Give the party time to decide on
what they would like to order
. It is always good
to have suggestions for those who ask.
When they have decided, start
with a guest of honor
It is usually pretty obvious if the party is there for a Birthday,
Anniversary, or job promotion. If there is not a guest of honor, or
after this person has ordered, procede to the oldest woman at the
table. She will be followed by the rest of the women and then the men,
starting with the oldest and working your way down.
serving the food to your guests, there are a few rules to follow if the
layout of the restaurant will allow. Sometimes it is difficult with
booth seating and when the guests are seated next to a wall. Use your
best judgement in these situations, avoiding reaching across guests
as much as possible
. Serving etiquette is first and
foremost being polite.
Always serve in the same
that was followed when the guests placed their orders. The guest of
honor being first served, followed by the oldest woman at the table and
so forth. This shows respect to your guests.
For the most part, meals
are served from the right side
The reason for this is that most people are right handed, so it makes
it easier for those using their right hands to place and pick up the
plates from that side. There are a few exceptions to this and your
guests can be served from the left.
From the Right
- When the food has been dished up and presented on the plate.
- Empty plates and clean utensils for subsuquent courses are
placed from this side.
- Beverages are poured from the right side, as the glasses
are placed on the guest's right side.
From the Left
- Placing of side dishes or dinner rolls. This leaves the
right side open for the main course to be served.
the meal is being served on platters or large trays for the guests to
select, then the waiter will dish up the selection and serve from the
Clearing the Meal
It has become a
modern practice for waitresses and waiters to clear the dishes as the
guests finish their meals. However, good serving etiquette is shown
when they wait until all guests have finished eating. The plates are
then cleared all at once
the same side that they were served.
few weeks ago my husband and I were eating at a favorite restaurant.
Our watiress was obviously trying too hard to earn her tip. As soon as
my husband finished placing his last bite in his mouth she was there
gathering up his plate. At the same time she looked at me and said, "Do
want a box for that, because I can never eat all of that meal." I was
obviously still eating. I declined the box and then she reached for my
plate. I told her I was not finished. It would be hard not to be
offended at this situation, however I had to recognize that she was
doing her best. Following serving etiquette would have avoided this all
If you are hosting a dinner party in your home, it is easy to follow the same
guidelines as listed above
Your guests will not be ordering their meal, however when you serve
your food, you can show good table manners by serving from the right or
left depending on your meal.
At the heart of serving etiquette
is your good manners and courtesy. Helping your guests feel like they
are special and you have their best interests at heart will help them
have a wonderful time.