Waiter Training and the State of Service Today
Waiter training and service standards are on a decline. The trend in food and beverage in the United States is toward more casual dining alternatives but does that mean we have to accept less waiter training and a more casual food and beverage service standard as well? More and more dining out experiences have been turning into just delivery systems where the service is now just considered getting the food and beverages to the table on time. Is this video you?
While doing some research for this article I came across a multitude of sources verifying this exact fact, but the picture below is a perfect example how our standards are declining.Granted this is an obviously staged photo designed for a restaurants web site, but I just couldn’t get over why? Can you tell me why?
Training the Basics
Here we will start from waiter trainings basic service rules to make sure all of you have a base of knowledge then will build on that base until proper service is second nature to you. This picture will be the basis of our first and one of the most violated rules in all of proper service etiquette; serving food from the left (with your left hand) and clearing from the right (with your right hand), and serving and clearing beverages from the right (with your right hand).
Serving from the left came form the days of knights and kings, where showing the back of your hand to someone was a threatening gesture so the king instructed the servers to always serve in a regulated manor. True, it’s been a long time since a knight or king sat at one of my tables too, but the standard was set and has been the gold bar for hundreds of years. Today proper service still includes serving from the left and clearing from the right, whenever possible. But as I stated earlier there are some exceptions.
First off the one rule that trumps them all is the convenience and comfort of the guest. You have to use your judgment here and carefully look at how placing the plate down in front of the guest would be the easiest for your guest. If he or she in a booth or a position on the table that is hard to get to you may have to change to the other side. Also if there is high stemware such as wine glasses in the way you can redirect as well, but one thing should never change, and that is putting the plate down with your backhand toward your guest. If you must switch sides you should also switch hands. Never backhand, and always keep your guests comfort in mind!
It doesn’t matter if your working in a five star New York restaurant, or a strip mall chain restaurant you should always keep these service standards in mind and adhere to them. Once it is a habit it will become second nature to you. Your money will improve, your knowledge will grow, and your potential to grow will expand.
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