Serving food is an art which can make or break the reputation of a catering establishment. Serving food is a complete and wholesome dining experience for the customer and this is important to get repeat customers. A wholesome dining experience represents the manner, ambience and the way in which food is served to the customer. Even well prepared, good quality dishes can be rejected if the service is poor and the waiter is unkept in appearance, impolite and careless.
Creating a pleasant atmosphere, delivering enjoyable food, responding to feedback and treating customers more FSM_Chapter 03.indd 45 than their expectations should be the motto of all food service establishments to maintain quality. The first impression a guest has, is at the dining table and hence it is important that the table is set neatly and efficiently. Table laying in a food service is termed as cover laying and one of the technical terms used is a cover.
Definition of Cover and Table Setting Requirements
A “cover” is a table setting for a person to dine in a restaurant. If the table can accommodate four persons/guests, then it could be “four covers” or if for two then “two covers”. The term is marked as cover since a cloth is used to cover the items and protect from dust when the table is set in advance for dining before the guests enter.
A cover is a place allotted on a table for an individual guest to have a meal where all the accessories including glassware, chinaware and tableware along with linen are laid for a particular type of meal. It includes; ☆Number of guests attending a certain party ☆Number of seats in a restaurant or dining room, for example, a restaurant will have a maximum of 85 covers (guests) or more ☆Number of necessary cutlery, flatware, crockery, glassware and linen to lay a certain type of place-setting for a single person.
Table Setting Requirements
For laying cover and service procedures, the following items are essential in a food establishment.
Furniture in a restaurant should be chosen according to the needs, styles and décor. The kind, quality and design of the furniture used affect the atmosphere of the restaurant. It can be made up of metals like aluminium, wood and stainless steel. Currently plastics and fiberglass furniture are used extensively. They are durable, light, inexpensive and easy to clean. The following points to be kept in mind while arranging the furniture in a restaurant:
Tables and chairs are placed according to the plan of the restaurant.
☆Furniture must be clean and sturdy.
☆Necessary gangway between table and chair is essential, so that the service staff / waiter can move freely.
☆If only two covers are laid, it should be laid opposite to each other.
Round, square and rectangular shapes of tables are more common. A restaurant may have a mixture of shapes to have variety or uniform shapes depending on the food outlet.
☆Round Table (4 Covers) – 4 feet in diameter
☆Round Table (8 Covers) – 5 feet in diamete
☆Rectangular Table (4 Covers) – 4 feet 6 inches x 2 feet 6 inches
☆Square Table (2 Covers) – 2 feet 6 inches square
☆Square Table (4 Covers) – 3 feet square
The dimension of the chair should be relative to table dimension. The chair size, height, shape and even the variety of seating required should be considered while purchasing.
☆Height of Chair – 18–23 inches from the ground to base.
☆Height of Table – 02 feet 6 inches from ground to top
The table cloth is a decorative and essential accessory that unifies the components of the table setting. The design elements in a table cloth are dominance, visual, weight, colour, texture and pattern. T he various varieties of linen clothes are cotton, synthetic, nylon and viscose. The type of linen used will depend on the service.
1. Slip cloth:
A slip cloth is laid on top of an already placed table linen. The dimensions of the slip cloth will usually differ from those of the base table linen. It protects the main table cloth from the spillage and reduces the number of linens used.
It can be seen in different colours used to skirt the buffet table with the help of pins. It can be used in a guest table for banquets/functions. T he common size is 10m x 1m.
3. Buffet cloth:
It is used on the buffet table; the standard size is 2m x 4m. The length is more than the width.
☆Round Table (4 covers ) – 54 inches x 54 inches
☆Square Table (2 covers) – 54 inches x 54 inches
☆Square Table (4 covers) – 72 inches x 72 inches
☆Rectangular Table (4 covers) – 72 inches x 54 inches
4. Table Runners
The table runner is a narrow length of cloth laid on top of the table cloths or laid across the table to define seating or used to carry out a theme. To accommodate average place setting, the table runner is approximately 14 to 17 inches wide and the drop at the ends is about 15 inches deep.
It should be positioned straight and parallel to the edge of the table. Each diner should have plenty of space to move around. Before placing the mats, it should be clean without any food markings or dust.