Food Services Management

In Hotel – Table Setting / Laying the Cover, Steps of laying the cloths, Types of  Cover for different menus, Cover Requirements

Table Setting / Laying the Cover:

Courteous and personalized service is an essential quality of service staff in all restaurants. Setting up cover for servicing by following standardized norms, will not only help staff to concentrate on guests satisfaction but also give a feel of royal treatment to the guests. Using covers as a basis for predicting sales revenue enables a restaurant to decide the number of servers or waiters needed. Careful serving timing also can increase the value of covers. It is essential for service staff to master the art of setting up cover, as per the need of the service (example A’la carte or Table d’hôte). One of the important activities of service staff is setting of cover prior to the arrival of the guests and after taking the food order. The cover with inappropriate cutlery or using a wrong cutlery may lead to bad experience for the guest and affect the business.

Laying the table cloth must be done by the following steps:

☆Make sure that the table is well positioned.

☆Pull the chairs away so that laying could be done easier.

☆A molleton (silence pad) will prevent the table cloth from sliding, tempers noise of dishes and silverware against the table.

☆Lay the ironed table cloth and napkin of correct size, colour (according to the theme).

☆Unfold the tablecloth from the centre of the table out to the edges.

☆Make sure the four corners of the tablecloth are of equal distance from the floor on each side of the table and the centre fold is exactly in the middle of the table.

☆The correct side of the table cloth should be always up and centered on the table.

☆Straighten the tablecloth if necessary with quick moves.

☆Put on the table runner and make sure edges hang over.

☆If placemats are used, then make sure the pattern is right side up and facing the guest, so the words in it can be read by them.

☆Knives and spoons should be placed towards the right of the plate and all forks on the left except for the butter knife.

☆The cutting edge of the knives should always face the plate except the butter knife.

☆Napkins may be folded and kept ready earlier, so that layout process might be easier.

☆A simple, but elegant napkin folding which does not require too much handling is ideal for restaurants.

☆Cruet set should be placed on the top of the cover.

☆Align the needed number of chairs, spaced evenly and leave enough space between them (20cm).

☆Place a cover plate in front exactly to the middle of the chair. The edge of the plate should be two cm from the edge of the table.

☆Use the thumb finger in horizontal position to estimate the right distance

☆Put the folded napkin on the cover plate.

Types of Cover for different menus :

There are mainly two types of covers.

I. A’la Carte Cover

A’la Carte is a selective menu offering choice in food and beverages within each course and its categories. Since there are choices in each course, this type of cover setting usually has a standard cover laid down for the entire meal.

☆As in A’la Carte menu, orders are placed on the spot and therefore other cutlery required for specific courses are supplied along with dishes.

☆A simple A’la Carte cover will be set with a soup spoon, knife and fork and others may be elaborate.

A’la Carte Cover Requirements:

(a) Side plate with side knife

(b) Fish plate (centre of cover)

(c)Fish fork


(e) Cruet sets

(f) Sauce and oil pot

(g)Water glass

(h)Wine glass

There are now a variety of approaches to lay the A’la carte form of service. This can include using large decorative cover plate and a side plate and knife only, or replacing the knife and fork with a joint knife and fork.

The cutlery required by the customer for the chosen dishes will be laid course by course when the first course is finished, the cutlery used will be cleaned and replaced with the new one for the next course.

II. Table d’hôte cover

☆This is a set menu offering a complete meal of fixed number of courses at fixed price.

☆The cover set up for this service is simple, less time consuming and less labour involved.

Table d’hôte cover requirements:

(a)Side plate with a side knife

(b)Water gobles

(c)Fish fork and knife

(d)Soup spoon

(e)All purpose spoon and fork

(f)Dinner knife and fork

(g)Dessert spoon and fork

(h)Cruet set

(i)Sauce and oil pots

Appropriate cover for the courses of menu is given in Table 3.3.

Table 3.3 Courses and their Covers

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