banquet menu and their service
The banquet department of a hotel maintains a menu file having varied choice of menu within a wide price range. For example, special menus for weddings, birthday parties, quick meal for conferences, etc. The price ranges offered should suit the pocket of the target clients. These menus are compiled by a team of managerial staff considering the following factors.
•Cost • Profit contribution
•Feasibility of various styles of service • Culinary skill of the kitchen staff
•Service skill available • Service equipment available
•Availability of ingredients • the dietary needs of various age groups
•Most demanded dish
The compiled menus are neatly printed and filed in the folder which will be discussed with the potential client at the time of booking. The host chooses the menu considering the following:
• The budget • Type of function
• Religious faith • Type of people to attend the function-vegetarians
or non-vegetarians, age group, Indian, foreigners,
The banquet supervisor may assist the host in selecting the dishes during the booking of function.
The categories: of dishes offered in Indian menus are in the following.
•Salads • Soup
•Indian breads • Fish
•Chicken • Mutton
•Paneer • Potatoes
•Vegetables- Biryani and pulao
•dal • Sweets
Each of the above categories may have more than five dishes, thus offering more options to the host to choose from. The host is allowed to select the categories and the number of dishes he/she wants to have according to the price he/she is willing to pay.
The number of categories and the dishes under each category a host can avail are predetermined by the hotel. Steamed rice, curd, papad, and pickle are normally offered in all the menus. The number of choices offered will vary according to the price—for example, for Rs. 375 non-vegetarian menu, he/she may select three salads, two soups, two Indian breads, one biryani or pulao, one rice, one mutton preparation, one chicken or fish preparation, one paneer preparation, two vegetables, one dal, one sweet, and one ice cream and for Rs. 200 vegetarian menu, he/she may select two salads, one soup, two Indian breads, one biryani or pulao, one rice, one paneer preparation, one potato preparation, two vegetables, one dal. One sweet, and one ice cream.
Continental menus may have the following categories.
•Appetizers—hot and cold
• Soups—hot and cold
•Fish—poached, grilled, and fried
•Meat • Accompanying potatoes and vegetables
•Coffee—with choice of petit fours
Menu file should also have a cocktail snacks that are available during the alcoholic beverage service. Limited snacks may be offered at a fixed price or it may be priced individually,
Analysis of MenuThe menu should form a basis for identifying the requirement of kitchen and service equipment.
•The number of dishes to be prepared on the site
•The area required for preparing the dishes
The list of dishes to be collected from the base kitchen and the containers in which they are collected
• Storage area required—for dry stores, vegetables, and fruits
•Materials required for preparing the dishes in the venue
•Preparation equipment required—grinders, mixers, mincers, etc.
•Cooking equipment required—hot plate, ranges, fryers, boilers, portable tandoor pot with skewers
•The number of gas cylinders and connections required
•Cooking vessels—large, medium, small with lids, and tools—knives, peelers, graters, sieve, tea strainer, etc. requirement must be worked out referring to the menu
•Number of work tables required in the kitchen
•Trash lined with disposable bags
•Plastic baskets/containers for keeping the prepared ingredients
•Style of service
-Buffet: Identifying the dishes to be displayed on chafing dishes and other containers
-Plated service: Separate area and tables for plating the food
-Silver service: Food containers with service spoon and fork
•Service equipment—cutlery, crockery, glassware, linen, disposables, miscellaneous equipment, etc. depending on the menu and the style of service finalized.
•Setting up of the temporary bar with necessary supplies and cash counter if the drinks are to be served.
•Fire extinguishers, power generators, security staff, first aid kit, insurance coverage, etc. should be considered.
Let us assume the outdoor function is organized for 200 people and the expected vegetarians are 100. So, it is decided to have two food counters—one for vegetarians and the other for non-vegetarians.
•Number of buffet counters needed
• Soup (later will be converted as dessert counter)
• Water (2 counters)
• Sweet (2 counters, including the soup counter)
Wine ListThe banqueting department has a small wine list containing list of selected cocktails, wines, spirits, and liqueurs from the main wine list. The host may be given a choice of inclusive or cash basis. The term 'inclusive' means the price quoted for a meal includes wine which is normally served during the main course service or at the time of toasting just before the service of coffee. The drinks offered may be one or two depending on the host's wish and the price. The host may decide to have aperitif before the start of the meal and during the main course and he/she will be priced accordingly.
If the host wishes cash basis and not inclusive, it means that the guests have to pay for the drink they order for during the service. In this case, cash bar' will be set up in the pre-function area and the drinks will be served against cash.
Sometimes, the host prefers to bring his/her own liquor bottles requesting the banquet department to serve the drinks. In this situation, the department may exercise the policy of the hotel. The options are many and the following are some of them followed by most hotels.
•Collecting corkage charges
•Not permitting soda and other mixes from outside, asking the host to buy them from the hotel
•Allowing all the liquor but the beers
Food may be served in any one or a combination of some of the following styles of food service.
•Silver service • Family service
•Plate service • Buffet service
The type of service method selected depends on in the following.
•Host's wish • Type of function—formal or informal
•Number of people to be served • Time available for service
•Service skill available • Service equipment available
Service During The Formal FunctionThe service method implemented during the formal function is generally silver service combined with plated service by the waiters mostly with white gloves. In the formal function, precedence is given to the rank and sex while serving to the guests at the top table. Top table is the table where the host, chief guest, and other very important guests are seated. The waiters at the top table will commence to serve or clear after receiving the signal from the supervisor. The waiters at the other will start only when the service/clearance is commenced at the top table. It should be noted table service staff will always start the service/clearance first, followed by the waiters at the other tables. The supervisor during the course of the service must be very attentive and ensure that everybody has finished eating before giving the signal to clear the plates.
All staff should enter and leave the hall in a queue led by the top table staff, followed by the ones serving the furthest tables from the entrance. The staff serving the closer tables will be at the end of the queue. This predetermined order of queue formation ensures that the service staff reaches their more or less at the same time.
The service method could be either completely silver service or combination of silver and plated service which should be predetermined and the briefing be given to the staff accordingly. In plated service, the plating and the service should be very quick to avoid the food going cold. The system calls for enough tables in the pantry or kitchen for plating the food. One person starts placing the main course, the second placing the potatoes, the third placing the vegetables, and the fourth the sauce in a predetermined position on the plate without staining the rim of the plates. The service waiters at the top table should take the plates to the top table, followed by the waiters of other tables. Sometimes, only the main course and the sauce may be plated in the kitchen and the accompanying potatoes and other vegetables silver served.
Alternatively, all the dishes may be silver served by two members acting as a team, one serving the main course, followed by the other serving the potatoes and vegetables. Sauce may be served separately.
To speed up the service, all courses except the main course are plated. Coffee will be always silver served, one serving the black coffee followed by another serving the milk. Sugar with teaspoon is placed on the table for the guests to help themselves.
For a very formal function, the service rehearsal is done to make the procedure and individual roles familiar to the staff involved. It also identifies the critical areas, such as formation of queue by wait staff, collection of plated food, service of procedure of food and wine, toasting procedures, time taken for each activity, etc. that need to be concentrated on to instill confidence in the minds of staff. Any difficulty faced or anticipated during the rehearsal should be addressed.