When serving food a number of factors need to be taken into consideration
Depending ont hé occasion and type of venture there are different ways of plating food. No matter which form of plate service is being used, good presentation of food is essential as first impressions count.
So when plating foods remember to:
Control the portions so that everyone gets the same amount, but do not overload or have food lost on the plate. Warm plates for hot food and chill plates for cold food
Arrange foods so that they look colourful
Add garnishes and decorations to add interest to dishes but ensure that they complement the food
Use clean and unclipped plates and wipe away any spills with a clean cloth
Place the best side of the food facing up
Style of meal
Styles of meals can range from very casual to very formal. Takeaway food is served packaged and taken away or consumed at an uncovered table provided with plastic cutlery. Many casual meals such as those served in bistros provide plates and cutlery but tables are often uncovered.
A popular style of meal is the buffet where diners select food from a variety of prepared dishes on display either on a table or behind a counter. Providing finger foods for a guest to select at a function is also considered self service. With more formal meals the food and beverage attendant will be more involved in serving the guests and the table setting will be more structured.
Number of Courses
Buffet and self service work when there are only a few courses to be served. As courses increase in number it may be easier to provide plate service using traditional formal table setting.
When setting a table for formal service:
Allow 60cm from the centre of one place setting to the centre of the next
Use clean, crisp table cloth with dry shiny clean and undamaged glass wear, cutlery and crockery
work from the outside in, arrange cutlery 2cm from the table edge in order of courses with the knife blades facing the plate (in A La Carte service only the main course knife and fork are set, the rest are laid out after orders have been placed).
Dessert cutlery may be presented with the dessert or laid on the table before the meal either next to the other cutlery or horizontally above the plate-if horizontal the dessertspoon handle faces right and the dessert fork is placed below the dessertspoon with its handle facing left
Clear all plates, condiments and unused cutlery prior to serving desserts
Place dinner glasses at the top of the dinner knife-in formal settings there are different drinks
Place serviettes in the centre of the plate, to the left of the forks, above the plate, on the bread and butter plate or in the wine glass
Use attractive table decorations that do not interfere with service or communication between guests.
Customer Requirements Families, couples, groups, business people, young children and seniors all require different styles of food service. For example, families with young children often prefer low-cost dining with prompt service and a children's menu.
Cost Service where dining facilities are provided as waiting staff to serve food is more costly than self service, buffet or take-away service. Usually the more a customer pays the more an elaborate and attentive service can be expected
Time available When a meal needs to be eaten quickly, takeaway service or self service works well. When more time is available a more formal table service may be appropriate