SITHFAB034 Provide table service of food and beverage

Home Hospitality Units SITHFAB034 Provide table service of food and beverage

SITHFAB034 Provide table service of food and beverage

In this unit of study you will learn how to;

  1. Prepare restaurant for service
  2. Provide food and beverage service to customers
  3. Serve and clear meals
  4. Serve and clear alcoholic beverages
  5. Work cooperatively as part of the service team


Providing food and beverage service can sometimes be a challenge; customers can be a delight to serve or they can be difficult. A waiter must be able to deal with the unique needs of each customer. A good waiter can turn a difficult situation into a positive one.

Whether it’s a small café or a fine dining restaurant the basic concepts of food and beverage service and customer needs do not change; you still have to prepare the dining space for customers, take orders over the counter or at the table, serve and clear food and beverages, farewell customers, clean the dining area and so on. What does change are the standards and procedures of how we go about providing that service within different workplaces, the technology used, food trends and the cost of what we charge to eat and drink.

Food and beverage servers and related staff are the front line of customer service in full-service restaurants, casual dining eateries, and other food service establishments. These workers greet customers, escort them to seats and hand them menus, take food and drink orders, and serve food and beverages. They also answer questions, explain menu items and specials, and keep tables and dining areas clean and set for new guests. Most work as part of a team, helping co-workers to improve workflow and customer service.

Prepare restaurant for service

In order to provide the best possible service to customers they should never be inconvenienced by issues that could have been avoided through proper preparation. This means that, before you open the doors to let customers in, your restaurant or café should be fully set up and prepared for the given service period.

An efficient set up process will be influenced, generally, by;

  • the type of restaurant
  • the service and menu style

Types of Restaurant

Full-service restaurants encapsulate the time-honored tradition of going out to eat. These restaurants invite guests to be seated at tables while waiters take their full order and serve food and drink. Full-service restaurants are typically either fine dining establishments or casual eateries. In addition to the kitchen staff they almost always employ hosts, waiters and bartenders.

Two standard types of full-service operations include fine dining and casual dining restaurants;

Fine dining restaurants top the ladder when it comes to service and quality. They usually gain perceived value with unique and beautiful décor, renowned chefs and special dishes. Listed below are some of the features, challenges and advantages of running a fine dining restaurant:

  • Service style. Service style for fine dining restaurants is top-notch. Well-trained and experienced waiters and sommeliers attend to guests, providing excellent knowledge of food and wines.
  • Atmosphere. The atmosphere in a fine dining establishment is one of the keys to its perceived value; the lights need to soften the mood; the music should reflect the concept yet not overpower guest conversations; the décor should add an elegant and/or unique perspective. Overall, fine dining establishments strive to create an exceptional dining experience for guests.
  • Challenges. Fine dining restaurants probably face their biggest challenges in poor economic times; people who do not feel that they can afford to eat at upscale restaurants often cut them out of their budget. These restaurants must constantly maintain an elevated level of service and quality in every aspect including dinner service, food presentation and restroom cleanliness.
  • Advantages. One advantage of running a fine dining restaurant is that managers and waiters are frequently experienced and committed to building a career in fine dining. For example, managers typically require five to seven years of experience, as well as an immense knowledge of food and wine. Chefs need to be experienced as well, perhaps even requiring a culinary degree. Celebrated chefs will also give a fine dining restaurant the upper-hand when it comes to quality food and artistic presentation.

Casual Dining. These are, typically, more affordable than fine dining and often geared toward families. Casual dining restaurants offer full table service but the décor, food and service are usually less remarkable than a fine dining establishment. The list below discusses some particulars of casual dining restaurants.

  • Service style. Guests are seated by a host or hostess. Waiters help explain menu items and take orders. Service style for casual dining restaurants is usually not as formal as a fine dining service. Waiters may act more casually around diners, but guests still expect a level of professionalism and service throughout the meal.
  • Atmosphere. The casual restaurant atmosphere is often family-friendly, often with colorful decorations or themed posters adorning the walls. Like fine dining restaurants, casual eateries can specialize in a certain regional cuisine or a fusion of several dishes. The menu and concept usually determine the atmosphere.
  • Challenges. Casual dining restaurants may find challenges in keeping up with competitors. They compete both with fine dining restaurants and fast-casual places depending on subtleties in the menu pricing and atmosphere.
  • Advantages. Casual dining restaurants have an advantage in that they are often able to attract a wider customer base than fine dining restaurants. Casual restaurants are especially appealing as they are more accessible for families with children.

In addition to the above dining styles, food establishments can also include;

  • Coffee Shop – A concept borrowed from the United States, distinguished by its quick service. Food is pre-plate and the atmosphere informal. Table cover layouts are less elaborate and have basic essentials only.
  • Fast Food Establishments – The entire environment is characterised by high investment, high labour costs and vast customer contribution. The service is generally self-service or assisted service. The menu commonly includes the snacks, which can be made in less time.
  • Take Away/Drive-through – These are mainly developed from fish and chips concept. These are mainly food counters without any seating arrangement. These are highly influenced by American concept and their food tastes.
  • Specialty Restaurant – The entire atmosphere and décor are geared to a particular type of food or theme. Thus restaurants, which offer Chinese, Japanese or Indian cuisine would be termed “specialty restaurants”. The service is based more or less on the style of the country from which the particular cuisine originates.

So the set up procedure will revolve around, in the first instance, the style of restaurant; the set up for a café or casual restaurant will not be as involved or complex as that of a fine dining restaurant. In fine dining you may need crisply ironed tablecloths and napkins (folded in specific ways). You may need a greater range of cutlery, fine china and glassware – where in casual dining you will probably not need tablecloths or a large variety of different types of service ware.

…. continues in learner guide ….

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