Basic Rules of Service in F&B



1. Serving Basics

There are some core skills that are the basis of a successful guest service like in any other profession.
Service to the left or to the right of the guest?

Service to the right of the guest

  • a plate will be served and removed (In USA a plate is served from the left with left hand)
  • all drinks/beverages/ will be served
  • pouring the soup from a spouted pot into the plate
  • to add any covers which are set to the right of the guest or to replace cutlery items
  • to pull the dessertspoon down

Service to the left of the guest

  • to position the salad plates for the side salad
  • placing a bread plate, a small plate for waste, a tray plate a finger bowl, side dishes and sauces
  • presentation of platters
  • lay the food from the platters
  • present the platters (by French service ) to the guest
  • add any covers which are set to the left of the guest or to replace cutlery items
  • clear all the serving items placed to the left of the guest ( which have been placed from the left)
  • pull the dessert fork down
  • clean off the table with a waiters’ cloth and a plate or with a crumbing brush and a crumbing spade respectively with a table roller and a scraper

Which guest to serve first?

Sequence of serving guests is as follows:

  • ladies first (exceptions: small children and banquette service)
  • older people are served before younger ones (exceptions: small children and banquette service)
  • guest of honor is served first
  • Host/Hostess must be served last

2. Noteworthy while serving and clearing the table! Part of the basic rules of service:

  • go clockwise (if possible) when you are covering the table and when you are serving and clearing and that always forwards
  • carry any cutlery items, glasses, cups, and other small serving items always on the tray, not in the hand
  • use under bowels, glassware, oven-to-table ware or sauce boats which are promoted on a bottom plate or on a plateau/tray always suitable cloth or paper napkins as an underlay
  • carry any meals on plateaus (trays ) only to the sideboard
  • pay attention that the vignette on the glasses and plates always shows to the guest
  • clear the cutlery with the corresponding course
  • if the guest has used a wrong/incorrect cutlery by mistake replace it after the course has finished. Do not reach across the place cover/setting!
  • deliver warm meals on hot plates and cold meals on cold plates
  • clear the plates and the cutlery items of a particular course only/fist after all guests have finished the course
  • be soundless/noiseless while you are serving and clearing
  • replace the ashtrays in the smoking area and in the garden as well as on the terrace ongoing. Do not leave a used ashtray on the table while the guest is eating.
  • remove the cruet stand (menage) before serving the dessert. Clean the table(crumb it) and move the dessert cutlery down or set them afterward
  • do not use any window benches or armchairs as a parking space for menages, flower vases or trays.
  • pay attention that you leave standing the most recently used wine glass and water glass till the end of the meal
  • clear the empty coffee cups and digestive glasses if empty immediately

As I said at the beginning, the basic rules of service are very simple and easy to follow! That’s why not knowing them and not following them is inexcusable!

Learn it, practice it and be a better waiter/waitress!



  • Kool k
    December 16, 2019

    Thank you so much it’s so helpful and professional.

    • Ned
      February 23, 2020

      Thanks Kool K, I hope it helps! Best of luck in the future!

  • nadilasuffri
    November 6, 2020

    can you make a courtesy call please

    • Ned
      November 8, 2020

      What do you mean, Nadil?

  • Darlenejoy
    June 6, 2021


    • Ned
      July 20, 2021

      You are welcome, Darlene!

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