Types of services
SILVER SERVICE OR PLATTER TO PLATE SERVICEThis type of service is most elegant, time tested, although lately not so popular. However, this is going to be the queen of all services.
In this, the highest skill of a waiter is demonstrated; not-withstanding the best skill of the chef is also on display over the platter. This combined effort brings charm and grace to the ambience of the restaurant. Here the food is decorated by the chef in the best possible art formation on a glittering silver plated dish of different shapes and sizes. Care is taken that the embossed part and the logo still remain visible. The silver dish is basically placed on a neatly folded waiter's cloth which should be spotlessly wiped before it is placed on the palm. Mostly a glittering pair of service spoons and service fork, is kept neatly on the side of the silver dish or carried in the right hand, left hand being used for bringing the silver dish. A cold or warm plate is already placed on the cover of the guest and from the left with great care food is transferred artistically on the plate almost replicating the same decoration as on silver dish. There are a number of advantages of this type of service, if compared with other types. However,
they can be briefly summarized as follows:
1. The highest skill of chef and service staff is demonstrated to the guest.
2. It is highly personalized and the guest feels extremely cared for which adds to goodwill
3. It is a luxury and splendour expressed to the guest.
4. It gives the guest the choice of selecting and quantifying, the food served to him, therefore less wastage and embarrassment.
5. Unwanted accompaniments, garnishes and sauces arc easily avoided.
6. Food not taken by one guest of a table can be served to others and vice versa.
7. Leftover food can be taken for a second round, by keeping the food on a hot plate at sideboard.
8. Accompaniments and garnishes can also be similarly handed around (served) making the service look substantive.
Besides these great advantages, needless to say, there are some disadvantages.
1. Very high expenses on training and equipment cost, expensive service staff, high capital and high running cost
2. Silver requires great attention and care, tailing which service may become a health hazard and clumsy.
3. Very time consuming in kitchen and during service, hence food is liable to get cold.
4. At the most 6 portions of the same item can be carried, therefore service staff needs t for too many rounds, to and from. i.e. kitchen to restaurant.
When last portions are served, the dishes on the platter look scattered and unappetizing. Even portions can be miscalculated, end up giving more or less portion to last few due to uneven distribution.
During and at the end of service the sideboard gets piled up with dishes and cutlery, it may be avoided by waiter taking more rounds to carry soiled silver platters and cutlery.
The rule for this service is to serve all food items from left and beverages from right. Place clear, plates from left hand side and remove soiled ones from the right. Clearance is done by a method called first plate technique in which first plate is held in between two fingers, thumb, and little finger and the other plates on the seat made by these two fingers, little above the first plate continuously scraping top plate of leftovers and getting rid of cutlery on first lower plate, piling together as many as 8-10 plates including the side plates (B & B). This clears the whole table at a time provided people start almost together and finishes their meal together.
PREPLATED SERVICE OR AMERICAN SERVICE OR BLUE PLATE SERVICELately, the emphasis of service is on rapidity and simplicity. Moreover the Nouvelle cuisine or modem presentation technique involves elegant ceramics on which single portions are gracefully decorated and presented.
By far this is the most popular methods of service these days, may not be as skilful as elegant as silver service, but it is satisfactory. This involves food decorated on plates of individual portions kept warm or made warm in either of the following ways.
1. Putting them in hot cases or salamander
2. Placing under infrared radiators (bulbs)
3. Putting them in microwave chambers
4. Reheating them in magnetic induction plates (only enamel plates are used)
This is important because in large scale service preplated foods are liable to get cold very quickly although in slow moving restaurant heating and keeping them warm is not at all required.
In this type of service a waiter can with his skill carry about five plates fixing them in between two hands. Although most waiters carry only three plates because it is simple and easy to balance and prefer taking more rounds to kitchen. A plate trolley is an ideal carrier for food from kitchen to the restaurant with shelves about 3 inches above from one another. It can be with food warmer. The mass catering or bulk service can be effectively carried out in this manner.
Service is done from right hand side and clearance is also done from right hand side. Plate is often held by four fold waiter's duster to prevent palm from getting burnt. The service is without any paraphernalia and minimum presence of the waiter is required. This type of service is prevalent in mid cap restaurants, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, discotheques and even in some five-star hotels.
Advantage of American Service:
1. It is quick and simple.
2. There is less spilling
3. Less investment, less skill, less piling of dishes.
4. No maintenance of silver items.
5. On plate, looks superb.
6. Strong portion control mechanism.
7. Standards can be set and maintained.
8. Less chances of complaints.
1. Food service becomes a dull and listless affair.
2. It cannot fetch high returns and big margins.
3. Food gets rapidly cold, often may need reheating.
4. More to and fro rounds required for fetching plates.
5. Uninteresting, unnecessary garnishes cannot be avoided, may annoy the guest.
6. Too much of wastage in the plate as guest can not quantify the item.
7. Big eaters remain hungry as they can't share less eater's portion.
SIDE TABLE SERVICE OR GUERIDON SERVICE OR CART SERVICEBy far the most expensive and most exquisite method of food presentation and service is the Guiridon service. Originated in France, it has spread to all exclusive clubs in aristocratic gatherings. Although, it does not have many takers as it involves cooking in the restaurant which at times is offensive to diners, requires too much of space, extensive training and skill of the service staff. The basics of side table service is bringing semi cooked food in different colourful containers giving finishing touches right before the diners and serve as per the directions of the guest who can keep directing the nitty gritty during the process of preparation and service. The grace of this service is that minimum two waiters are required, one who holds the plate, the other using service set neatly places the food on the plate from the pan. Other activities include making various dressings like mayonnaise, vinaigrette, Thousand Island dressing, cutting and peeling of vegetables and fruits to make salad, carving of whole turkey, chicken and leg of mutton into delicate portions as per the choice of the guest.
Another area of excellence is flambe or slashing alcohol over cooked food and lighting it out to create romantic effect in moderately dark surroundings. The patronage for such restaurants is only possible from high society who has the leisure of time and appreciation to understand and pay for same.
The demerits of this service are lot of space is required for carrying, trolleys. Smokes of fuel, alcohol and aroma of food may be offensive to few guests. At times restaurant looks smoggy. It is expensive and time consuming. Not many skilled staff is available to replace. Cooking can never be so good in the restaurant unless chef gives finishing touches.
ENGLISH SERVICE OR BUTLER SERVICE OR FAMILY STYLE SERVICEIt is a service where a butler, first footman and second footman are involved in helping the host to conduct the service smoothly.
Here the bowls and platters are brought on trolleys or trays kept before the host to portion out and carve the items and holding the plate for him to place the food and serve as directed. The host normally offers the first portion to his own wife as per tradition, then rest of the people. Often the butler and the assistants take the bowls and platters around for second helping. Clearing is done side by side and it is a very informal, private kind of service which normally does not exceed 15-20 people. It is customary for the host to show his closeness and favorites through his portions offered.
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.
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.
explained in a separate post