Ancillary departments

In any establishment a guest’s first impression on entering the service area is of great importance. A guest can be won or lost on these impressions alone. There are many service areas behind the scene or what may be termed as back of the house which is required to be efficiently run, well organized, supervised and well stocked with appropriate equipments depending on the style of operation.

These service areas are usually between kitchen and the food service area. They are important areas in the make-up of the catering establishments acting as a link between kitchen and restaurants. These are also the meeting point for staffs of various sections as they carry out their duties and therefore there must be close liaison between the various members of staff and their respective departments.

In general, especially in large operations, five main back-of-the-house service areas can be identified:
1. Still room
2. Kitchen stewarding
3. Hot plate/ food pick up area
4. Linen room
5. Store


The main function of the still room is to provide items of F&B required for the service of a meal and not created by any other major department like kitchen, patisserie, larder etc. Depending on the policy of the management and the volume of business at times it is supervised by a supervisor who may be a senior member of the f&b brigade.
When ordering goods from the main dry store, all requirements should be written on a requisition sheet in duplicate. The top copy goes to the store to be retained by the store-keeper after issuing the goods and the duplicate remains in the requisition book as a mean of checking the receipt of goods from the store by a member of the still room. The store keeper should not issue goods unless the still room supervisor or another person in authority has signed the requisition.

Following are the equipments required for proper storage, preparation and presentation of the food by the still room-
a. Refrigerator- storing butter, milk, fruit juice, cream and so on
b. Beverage vending machine- soft drink, tea, coffee etc.
c. Large double sink
d. Salamander or toaster
e. Bread slicing machine
f. Working table and cutting board
g. Ice maker
h. Storage cupboard for all dry goods held in stock and for such miscellaneous items as doilies, paper napkin, straw etc.
i. Gas range or induction plate

As a basic guide the following food items would normally be dispensed from the still room-
1. All non-alcoholic beverages including tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate drinks etc.
2. Preserves like jam, jelly, marmalade, honey, butter etc.
3. Various bread rolls like brioche, croissants
4. Various breakfast cereals like cornflakes, wheat flakes etc.
5. Pastries, gateaux, sandwich, boiled eggs are also dispensed
A proper control is very important for the items which are dispensed from the still room. Therefore all items should be issued either against a requisition from the service area or against a waiter’s check.


Some of the broad roles of a kitchen stewarding are:
Cleaning and organizing dishes including buffet
Controlling inventory
Monitoring the use of machines for different kinds of utensils like pots and crockery
Maintaining hygiene and quality in the kitchen and different equipment used there
Keeping a tab on breakage and missing cutlery
The kitchen stewarding is basically divided into two areas:

a) Wash up area-

It is an important service area and should be ideally situated so that the brigade can work speedily and efficiently while passing from the food service area to the kitchen. The waiter should stack the trays of dirties correctly at the side board with all the same sized plates together and all the tableware stacked on one of the plates with the blades of the knives running under the arch of the forks. All glassware should be stacked on separate trays and taken to a separate wash up area. Wash up section should be the first place when the waiter enters the back area.
Hygiene is of utmost importance at the wash up area, as all sorts of germs can originate from here and can contaminate the food. This section is normally in the charge of the stewarding supervisor who may in turn have number of wash up boys as per need.

Dishwashing Methods:

There are two main methods used for dishwashing for foodservice operations-
Manual (tank) method-
The dirty crockery is placed in a tank of hot water containing a soap detergent solution. After washing, these are placed in wire racks and dipped into a second sterilizing tank containing clean hot water at a temperature of approximately 75˚C (179˚F). The racks are left for two minutes and then lifted out and the crockery left to drain. If sterilized in water at this temperature the crockery will dry by itself without the use of drying up cloths. This is more hygienic. After drying the crockery is stacked into piles of the correct size and placed on shelves until required for further use.
Dishwashing machine- Most commercial and welfare catering sectors use washing machines to wash service equipment. Washing machines of different efficiencies, sizes, and cost are available, allowing operators to select according to their need and budget. These machines save labour and time and ensure sterilized service equipment.
The three main types of machines are
1. Spray type: Dishes are neatly stacked in racks which slide into the machines where they are sprayed with hot water and detergents (48°C-60°C) from above and below. The rack then moves to the sterilization section where the dishes are subjected to a hot water shower (of 82°C). Dishes sterilized at this temperature dry quickly when passed out into the air.
2. Brush type: Dishes are scrubbed in hot detergent water (48°C-60°C with revolving brushes. Then they are rinsed and sterilized in another section of the machine.
3. Agitator water machines: In this method, baskets of dishes are immersed in deep tanks and cleaned by mechanical agitation in hot detergent water (48°C-60°C). The baskets are given a final hot water rinse for sanitization (82°C).
These machines are usually operated by two people, one to sort soiled items and feed the machine and the other to collect the clean ware.
It is important to follow the instructions of the manufacturer with regard to use and maintenance of the washing machine.
Great care should be taken while washing glassware. There is a wide range of glass washing machines available.

Used in larger establishments. Debris should be removed from the crockery before it is placed into the wire racks. The racks are then passed through the machine, the crockery being washed, rinsed and sterilized. Having passed through the machine the crockery is left to drain for two or three minutes and is then stacked and placed on shelves until required for further use.

b) Silver room/ plate room-
In larger establishments the silver room or the plate room, as it is sometimes known, is a separate service area controlled by the kitchen stewarding supervisor. They take care of all the silverwares and the china wares stored in the silver room and are also responsible for silver polishing. The silver room should hold the complete stock of silverware required by the different department to meet the day to day requirements along with a surplus stock in case of emergency.
While stacking, large silver ware, like salver, flat platter etc. should be stored on shelves. When stacking heavier items should go on the shelves lower down and smaller and lighter items on the shelves higher up to prevent accidents. Flatware and cutlery should be kept in drawers lined with baize cloth to prevent them from moving about in the drawer and getting scratched or marked.

The burnishing machine
 It consists of a revolving drum half filled with small ball bearings. It may be divided into compartments to bold silver articles of particular kinds. The silver to be cleaned is placed inside the drum, which is then half filled with water and a certain amount of special detergent and closed tightly. The machine is switched on and slowly rotated for about 10 minutes. As the drum revolves, the mixture of water and detergent acts as a lubricant between the silver and ball bearings and gently removes any tarnish on the silver without leaving any scratches. The silver should be thoroughly rinsed and dried manually after removing from the drum. The drum is lined with rubber to avoid any damage to the silver during the cleaning process.
This method is not suitable for cleaning forks and knives as the prongs of forks are not cleaned properly and continuous use may damage the cutting edge of knives.
The polivit method-
The polivit plate, which is made of aluminium, is placed in a container together with washing soda. The silver to be cleaned is placed in such a way that at least one piece of silver is in contact with the polivit. Piping hot water is poured to cover the silver. Chemical action of soda and aluminium removes the tarnish. After a few minutes, the article is thoroughly rinsed in boiling water and wiped dry with a clean cloth.
This method is suitable for large pieces of silver such as salvers, trays, entree dishes, jugs, etc.

The plate powder – 
 Tins method is ideal for articles that cannot be cleaned by the above method,  Typical items cleaned by this method are cruets, toast rack, parts of trolley, etc. The articles to cleaned must be free from grease. Plate powder, winch is pink in colour, is mixed with spirit and sobbed over die surface of article to remove tarnish. If spirit is not available, water may be used, Once the paste has dried, it is rubbed with a clean piece of cloth. A small brush may be used remove the paste that may have lodged into the engravings. It is then rinsed well in hot water and dried with clean cloth. This method demands more time and labour. Readily available metal may be used to clean articles in the same way.
Silver dip- 
The silver to be cleaned is kept in a wire basket and immersed in the silver dip, which is a pink-coloured liquid. It is left in the solution for a very short period, removed, rinsed in warm water, and wiped dry with clean cloth. This method is quick but may damage the silver due to chemical reaction between silver and solution.
Quick dip method-
 This method is quick and simple to follow. Hot water, crushed aluminium foil, lemon juice, and salt are placed in a container and stirred. The tarnished silver is dipped in this solution for about 2-3 minutes. The chemical reaction removes the tarnish. Silver is removed, rinsed in hot water, and wiped dry.
Stainless steel is cleaned with a detergent product specially meant for it and treated with de-liming agent once a week to prevent build up of haze and film on the surface. It is a solution of low foam acid detergent designed to remove lime scale, iron stains, and other tough deposits of hard water.
The plate room is controlled by the head plate room man who is assisted by skilled and semi¬skilled staff.


This is the food pick-up counter in the kitchen and acts as a contact point between kitchen and service staff . It is controlled by the aboyeur (barker).
Cold cabinet, hot cabinet, bain-marie, overhead shelf, infra-red facilities, etc. are incorporated in the pick-up counter. Cut vegetables, lettuce leaves, cold sauces, etc. are stored in the cold cabinet for making salads quickly. Dishes prepared beforehand such as accompanying vegetables, gravies, soups of the day, etc. are placed in the bain-marie so that during service wait staff can pick these up without having to wait. Hotplate is mostly electric operated.
Hotplate should be stocked with adequate chinaware such as soup bowls, half plates, full plates, etc. if the dishes are plated in the kitchen. Food containers such as platters, entree dishes of different sizes, etc. should be kept ready for portioning out the dishes. In case of an Indian kitchen, in addition to the items mentioned, bread baskets lined with silver foil or paper napkins, thalis, katories, etc. are placed if thali meals and Indian breads are served.

Following is the order execution procedure at the hotplate:

The first copy of the kitchen order ticket (KOT) is given to the aboyeur
The aboyeur shouts out the order to the kitchen staff
The aboyeur keeps the plate or containers ready for dishing out (cooks may also do this depending on the situation)
Cooks prepare the order and dish out in the container or plate kept ready
The aboyeur checks the dish for portion size, and tastes if necessary
The cook/aboyeur garnishes the dish, wipes edge of the dish if necessary, checks the presentation
The cook/aboyeur hands over the dish to the correct waiter and ticks KOT against the dish delivered.
If all the dishes of a KOT are delivered, the KOT is deposited in a secured box. If a dish is ready but the waiter is busy inside the restaurant attending to his guests, it will be placed under the infra-red lamp attached to the pick-up counter to maintain the temperature of the food.
There are two types of food orders based on the priority to be given:  Running order:
Running order refers to additional order placed by customers already having
New Order: New order is the one placed by new arrivals.
The aboyeur must ensure that a running order is given priority as guests are in the middle of a meal and any delay in responding to a running order will result in poor customer satisfaction. One of the important duties of an aboyeur is to notify waiters when a menu item is not available by writing the dish on the 'off board’ so that waiters will not take an order for the item or suggest that dish to guests.
The language used at the hotplate will vary from country to country and region to region. In most Indian kitchens, the language used at the hotplate is Hindi. The language used must be understood by the production staff.
  There should be cooperation and understanding between kitchen and service staff. Kitchen staff  are constantly at the cooking range and work under pressure during peak hours. Any disturbances or exchange of harsh words will affect their mood which will result in poor quality food preparation, wastage, and delay. Realizing their nature of work, wait staff must be cooperative and should not shout at them -nor pressurize them to deliver dishes faster. Similarly, cooks must understand the nature of work carried out by the wait staff. They handle customers of various temperaments, different age groups, and different needs and many guests demand quick service. If the quality of food is not good, the wait staff is the first recipient of negative remarks from guests. They are  constantly on their toe to please guest by serving the ordered food, it should be remembered that guests' meal experience depend on many factors, with the waiter's attitude being the top most. Any unpleasant incident at the hotplate may result in poor service and negative attitude toward the guest. Both production and service staff must work as a team and help each other perform better to achieve customer satisfaction. The aboyeur is responsible for ensuring proper coordination amongst the  production and service staff.


Spare linen cupboard is essential to store linen that is required during operations as one cannot run to the housekeeping department for new linen whenever necessary. Frequent changing of slip cloths, table cloth, waiter's cloth, napkins, etc. is essential and this can be done quickly by having the linen store nearby, which is often in the pantry area.
Linen is changed every day in the linen room on a 'one for one basis' which means one clean linen for one dirty one. It is the duties of waiter to collect, classify, and count all soiled table cloths, slip cloths, and napkins. Soiled linen is bundled into 'tens' after checking for tears and bums. The waiter enters the number of soiled linen taken for exchange in the linen logbook in duplicate. He then takes them to the linen room where they are checked by the linen maid in his presence. The linen maid verifies the record in the linen book and issues the same number of clean linen. The top copy of" the linen book is signed by the maid and retained with her. The duplicate copy remains in the book for restaurant reference. Any discrepancy must be recorded so that missing linen can be collected later. Linen may be exchanged at the end of every meal or at the end of day depending on the restaurant's policy.
Depositing linen for wash and collecting them is an everyday activity and it should be included in the duty roster. Linen collected from housekeeping or laundry should be stored properly in a cupboard.

Restaurant Linen exchange Log
From: ambrosia Restaurant


To: house keeping
table cloth

slip cloth


waiter's cloth
30 pieces will be issued in morning
tray cloth

buffet cloth
white 15'*15'


Store room is the area from where the F&B service staff requisite and receives items such as grocery and stationary that are required for smooth running of the day to day operation of the outlet.


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