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Serving food, here in a restaurant in Brisbane
Serving of drinks by a waiter , here in the U Fleků brewery in Prague

Serving in the gastronomic sense means providing food and drinks as well as serving guests .

Preparatory work

Setting up the guest room

The preparatory work includes setting up the event room with tables and chairs, setting the tables with table linen (table covers and napkins ), cutlery , crockery and decorations.

Mise en place

Furthermore, the preparation includes the provision of necessary work equipment (French: mise en place ) in the office and at the passport and in the guest room on the sideboards and guéridons so that they are always at hand and ready for use when necessary:

Classic serving methods (dishes)

The guest is only to be served from the right, exceptions such as in the Russian service must be taken into account.

American service (plate service)

The food is completely done already in the kitchen on a plate, the insertion of the plate at the table is done from the right side of the guest. In the upscale gastronomy, the plates are covered with globes , on the one hand to reduce heat loss from the food, and on the other hand for hygienic reasons. In addition, the waiter introduces himself at the table with his name and explains the special features of the kitchen and which dish of the day is currently particularly recommended. A glass of water or iced tea is mandatory.

Advantages: less staff, time savings when serving the food.

Disadvantages: rather impersonal service, given portion size.

English service (serving)

In the English service, all courses are used in groups at the table; it is therefore only suitable for certain menus tailored to this service. Today, the English service only sets the cutlery and warm plates required for the menu, the side dishes are put on using dishes provided for this purpose. The meat is carved in the guest room and presented by the service staff on the previously used plates. You always go counter-clockwise and insert from the right side of the guest.

Advantages: intensive contact with guests, portion size is not specified.

Disadvantages: time-consuming service, resulting in increased personnel costs.

French service (presentation service)

The meals are served in the kitchen on plates and timbales and the Guéridon carved and served on the plate. First the lids are removed, then the serving cutlery is turned upside down and placed in the plates and timbales. The plates are inserted from the right side of the guest. Commis carries everyone down to the last plate, which is served by the Chef de Rang . In the case of after-service (only carried out by the chef de rang), make sure that this is done on unused plates with clean cutlery.

Advantage: no restriction for the guest, since the presentation takes place at the gueridon.

Disadvantages: time-consuming and trained service, resulting in increased personnel costs.

Russian service (serving plates)

The dishes are arranged on a plate in the kitchen and presented at the table from the right side of the guest. The guest puts the food himself from the plate onto the plate.

Advantage: intensive contact with guests, portion size is not specified.

Disadvantage: inexperienced guests may have inhibitions (fear of making mistakes), very time-consuming service, which results in high personnel costs.

German service (serving from platters and bowls)

The dishes are arranged in the kitchen on plates and in bowls and used on the table. The guest is given an empty plate from the right, he serves himself.

Advantage: less staff required, time savings when serving the food.

Disadvantage: high consumption of dishes.


When serving with the American, English and French method, the following arrangement and order of the dishes applies:

  • Set in the upper area of ​​the plate area
  • Sauce level
  • Main component (often meat or fish) in the lower area of ​​the plate
  • Vegetables in the right area of ​​the plate
  • Saturation side dishes in the left area of ​​the plate

Serving drinks

Wearing glasses

Glasses may only be carried on a stick when there are no guests in the restaurant. Otherwise, they are always transported on a tray or carried upside down on the glass floor. The glasses are inserted from the right side. With handle glasses, the handle is aligned to the right. Engravings and company logos must face the guest. Glass coasters are used for tables without table linen. When inserting glasses, they must always be held in the lowest area of ​​the stem or by the handle.

Carrying bottles

Bottles are always transported on a serving tray (elegantly gripped under the floor with one hand). The bottle is held in place at an angle, with the label facing the guest so that he can read it. During the presentation, which takes place from the left, the bottle is wrapped in a textile napkin.

Opening beverage bottles

The opening and uncorking take place on site and must always be carried out by the operating personnel. Wine bottles can only be opened with the hands and may only be supported with the bottom of the bottle on the edge of the table in an extreme emergency (with particularly stubborn corks).

Pour out

When pouring, the glass is not picked up by the service staff (exception: red wine), but left on the table. The bottle is kept completely free and must never be placed on the edge of the glass. When pouring from carafes, a napkin is usually not used to hold it; when pouring out of bottles usually already. In the case of wine, a sip is first given in the glass so that the guest can first taste . If the guest agrees to the wine, the other guests who are drinking will be poured. You start with the women at the table (from the most mature to the youngest) and then you pour the men (in the order mentioned above). At the end you fill the host's glass (or the person who tasted the wine). Particularly with small bottles, care is usually taken to ensure that the contents of the bottle are not completely filled into the glass (half full).


When lifting the glasses, make sure that the glass is lifted from the right with the right hand. It is important that not the edge of the glass, but the glass is held as low as possible. With stemmed glasses such. B. Wine glasses, the glass is of course grabbed by the stem and lifted.

Champagne bucket

If sparkling wine or champagne is served in a bucket, the bottle should be placed in such a way that the label points towards the guest and the bottle neck away from the guest. The bottle should definitely be served in ice. A 5 to 8 cm thick layer of ice cubes or crushed ice is sufficient.


  • Marianne Müller, Günter Rachfahl (Hrsg.): The large lexicon of the hotel and catering trade . Behr's Verlag, 2004, ISBN 978-3-89947-114-4 .
  • Walter Schwarz: The classic dinner service . Matthaes Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-87516-089-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Walter Schwarz: The classic dinner service. 1995, pp. 10-17.