Skip to content
Home » Types of Food and Beverage service

Types of Food and Beverage service

Food and beverage service is the essential link between the guest and the menu (Food and Beverages) and other services on offer in an establishment.

Nowadays various types of food of different cuisines are being served in different restaurants. for this reason, servicemen should know the different types of service so that every food can be served with its proper techniques, qualities, and temperature.

Food and beverage service style can be broadly classified into three main groups:

  1. Waiter service
  2. Self-service
  3. Assisted service

1. Waiter service

In this method of service, food and beverages are served to guests by the waiters at the guest’s place. It may be at a table in a restaurant, in a hotel room, on a flight, in a hospital, and so on. this service is further classified into the following:

  1. French service or silver service.
  2. Russian service
  3. English or family service
  4. American or plate service
  5. Gueridon service
  6. Tray service

1. French service or silver service.

The fundamental truth of the French service is that the guest gets personalized service from a restaurant, ‘s staff when they serve the food or beverage. Generally French also called “silver service”, the portion is brought from the kitchen individually in “Electro-plated nickel silver (E.P.N.S) container and served on the guest plate by the waiter with the help of serving silvers. the rest amounts of the food is kept on the table before the guest’s hand.

Advantage of French service.

  • Given personalized attention making guests feel important.
  • It makes the guest feel that he is receiving royal treatment.
  • The service is elegant and entertaining.

Dis-advantage of French service

  • Slow service.
  • It is expensive because it requires a large professional staff.
  • It requires a bigger dining room space to make service convenient.

2. Russian service

In this service, the food is portioned and carved by the waiter. In the restaurant in a full view of the guest. Display and presentation are a major part of this service. The principle involved is to have whole joints, poultry, game, and fish elaborately dressed and garnished, presented to the guest carved, and portioned by the waiter.

Advantages of Russian service

  • Only one waiter is needed for each station.
  • Elegant and entertaining.

Dis-advantage of Russian service

  • It requires a big investment in silver equipment.
  • If many guests are served from one platter, the last one to be served may see a
  • rather less attractive display.
  • If every guest in a large group orders a different dish, the waiter must carry a
  • very heavily loaded tray to the dining room.

3. English or family service

this type of service is also known as “family-type service”  because this service originated from an English traditional family.

Often referred to as the “host service”  because the host plays an active role in the service. food is bought on platters by the waiter and is shown to the host for approval. The waiter then places the platters on the tables.

the host either portions the food onto the guest, ‘s plate directly or allows the waiter to serve. For the replenishment of guest food, the waiter may then take the dishes around for guests to help themselves or be served by the waiter.

Advantages of English/family/host service

  • It is fast and time-saving.
  • It is inexpensive
  • It does not require special equipment

Dis-advantage of English/family/host service

  • Less showmanship.
  • Reduce personalized attention to the guest.

4. American or plate service

The American service is a pre-plated service, This means that the food is served to the guest, ‘s plate in the kitchen itself, and bought by the guest.

The kitchen pre-determines the portion and the accompaniments served with the dish balances the entire presentation in terms of nutrition and color. this type of service is done from the right side of the guest and is commonly used in a coffee shop where service is required to be fast.

Advantage of American/plate service

  • It is a fast and simple service.
  • It is inexpensive. One waiter can serve many guests and no special service
  • equipment is necessary.
  • It does not require highly trained technical staff that demands higher pay.

Dis-advantage of American/plate service

  • Less showmanship.
  • Reduce personalized attention to the guest.

5. Gueridon service

This is also termed a trolley service. In this type of service, dishes are prepared, carved, dressed, or flatbed on a trolley in front of the guests and served with a spoon and fork. It is a very effective tool for merchandising.

Restaurants may have trolleys especially constructed for various jobs such as carving, flambeing, and presentation. The design of the Gueridon service trolley varies according to its purpose, the carving trolley, flambe trolley, horse d’ oeuvre varies trolley, cheese trolley, and liqueur trolley are some of the trolleys found in restaurants offering Gueridon service.

This type of service is practiced in luxury, upmarket restaurants.

Advantages of Gueridon service

  • Highly personalize service
  • High level of customer satisfaction as the dishes are prepared, carved, or flamed in their presence.
  • Good merchandising device
  • Wait staff can exhibit their culinary, carving, and service skills.
  • High average spending power (High revenue/cover)

Dis-advantage of Gueridon service

  • Slow service
  • Low seat turnover
  • Expensive style of service as it requires more service area and highly skilled staff
  • The chances of accidents are more
  • More investment in-service equipment
  • Cooking in the service area may leave an odor



6. Tray service

In this form of service, the dishes ordered by guests are neatly portioned and arranged on a tray with necessary cutlery and taken to their rooms/beds/seats by waiters. Special trays are available to retain the temperature of the dishes.

This style is practiced in-room service, hospitals, flights, and institutional catering. Guests in hotels at times call for the service of dishes in their rooms. Their orders are taken by room service order takers, and dishes are arranged on a tray and served quickly in their rooms.

Orders can be collected either from the kitchen or floor pantry. In hospitals, patients are given a diet recommended by dieticians. These dishes are arranged on trays and wheeled to their rooms on the trolley. Passengers who are confined to their seats on flights are given their meals on trays.

The menu is decided by the flight operator and catering contractor.

Advantages of tray service

  • Service skill is not required, hence low labor cost.

Dis-advantage of tray service.

  • Waiters will not be able to exhibit their service skills
  • No personalized service
  • Food may go cold unless insulated trays are used
  • The tray area may not be adequate to accommodate more dishes unless the number of dishes and portion size is predetermined, as in the case of flight catering

2. Self-service

This is the simplest form of service method where members of the service staff do not serve guests. Customers help themselves with the dishes they would like to consume.

  1. Self-service is classified into:
  2. Cafeteria service
  3. Counter service
  4. Vending service

1. Cafeteria service

There are two types of cafeteria service in practice. They are

  1. Traditional cafeteria
  2. Free flow cafeteria Cafeteria service

Traditional cafeteria

This form of service is widely followed in institutional and industrial catering establishments. It consists of a straight line of counters containing a variety of hot and cold dishes displayed in order.

The customer starts from one end of the line, picks up a tray, and moves along the length of the counter as he selects the dishes he wants to have. A tray rail is attached ve the full length of the counter to the rest tray while selecting a dish and passing along the line.

The cashier who is seated at the end of the counter makes the bill and collects payment. This is not required i.e. the meals are pre-paid. Normally, the service counter is separated from the dining area.

Traditional cafeteria system tends to build up long queues, due to some/all of the reasons outlined below:

  • Too many dishes on the display may draw the attention of guests in line, thus making guests move slowly
  • Customers may not be familiar with the layout of the cafeteria
  • Delay in replacement of trays, service equipment, and dishes
  • Speed of the customer while serving himself
  • Speed of the cashier

The flow of activities in a traditional cafeteria system:

  1. Guest enters
  2. Pick up the tray
  3. Joins queue at the counter
  4.  Picks up the dishes of his choice as he moves along
  5. Pays to the cashier at the end of the counter (not necessary, if pre-paid)
  6. Picks up cutlery and napkin
  7. Goes to the dining hall to eat

The traditional ‘one line-cafeteria’ system is modified to speed up service and make customers select dishes of their choice quickly without having to wait long in queues.

Free-flow cafeteria

In the modern “free-flow cafeteria’ system, counters are segregated according to the type of dishes offered or cold, appetizers, soups, bread, sandwiches, entrées, salads, pasta, and so on. Customers can move at will to any service point to select dishes and exit through the payment point.

Trays and other essential service equipment are kept on tables at convenient places. Guests pick up trays and go to counters of their choice and select whatever dishes they want.

The cashier collects payment for the dishes collected at the entrance of the dining hall. In this system, counters are not arranged in a straight line, but in shapes such as hollow-square, U, echelon or saw-tooth, and so on, depending on the number of dishes on offer and shape and size of area available. However, there are two main types of layout-hollow square and echelon.

In the hollow-square layout, counters are placed around three sides of the service area forming a U-shape. Each side has counters of different dishes, with an open end for customers to enter and leave. This style is suitable for department stores, shopping malls, exhibition sites, and so on, where there is a steady flow of customers.

 The flow of activities in the free-flow cafeteria system:

  1. Guest enters
  2. Pick up the tray
  3. Goes to the counter of his choice
  4. Pick up the dishes
  5. Pays to the cashier
  6. Pick up cutlery and napkin
  7. Goes to the dining hall to eat

Advantages of the free-flow cafeteria

  • Visually good
  • Low service skills required
  • Less staff needed
  • Low labor cost
  • More number of people can be served

Dis-advantages of the free-flow cafeteria

  • Food may go cold while guests wait
  • Dependent on a quick replenishing/preparation system and the efficiency of the cashier

2. Counter service

Guests select the dishes they want to have from the menu displayed, buy tokens, and collect dishes over the counter against the tokens. They may consume the dishes either on the premises or get them packed as a takeaway. Cafeteria, fast food outlets, canteens, food courts, kiosks, and so on, follow this style.

Advantage of counter service

  • Quick service
  • Service skills not required
  • Less staff required
  • High seat turnover

Dis-advantage of counter service

  • No personalized service
  • No scope for talented wait staff to show their skill

3. Vending machine service

In this style, guests get the dishes from machines. Customers buy tokens or coins and insert them into the vending machine and get whatever they wish to have by selecting the appropriate option. A wide variety of hot and cold dishes are available in this system.

The most important products dispensed are:

  • Soups
  • Sandwiches,
  • biscuits, cookies, and snacks
  • Confectioneries
  • Hot and cold meals
  • Hot and cold beverages

Vending machines are installed in busy areas such as railways and bus stations, airports, schools, hospitals, and so on.

 Advantage of vending machine service

  • Effective portion control
  • Reduces labor
  • Service is available throughout the day
  • Good food cost control
  • No wastage
  • Hygienic
  • Low cost of operation

 Dis-advantage of vending machine service

  • Absence of interaction with guests
  • A limited selection of dishes Unreliability
  • Power dependence
  • Not suitable for large-scale operations
  • Calls for regular servicing during which period service is not available and leads to customer dissatisfaction

 3. Assisted service

This is a combination of waiter and self-service. It is used extensively in hotels and restaurants Service staff assist customers in the service of water, accompanying vegetables, sauces, sweets, and so on.

The following are examples of assisted service:

  1. Buffet service
  2. Carvery service

1. Buffet service

In this type of F&B service, food is displayed on the tables. The guest takes his plate from a stack at the end of each table or requests the waiter behind the buffet table to serve him.

For sit-down buffet service, tables are laid with crockery cutlery as in a restaurant.
The guest may serve himself at the buffet table and return to eat at the guest table laid out. The waiter may serve a few courses like the appetizer and soup at the table.

Advantages of buffet service

  • It is a fast service
  •  It requires less staff.
  •  The presentation of the different dishes can be appetizing

Dis-advantage of buffet service

  •  It may result in shortages of food especially when the early ones serve
  •  themselves more, thus very little is left for the latecomers.

  2. Carvery service

This style is practiced in a large chain of hotel restaurants all over the world. The basic concept is the roast joints are carved by the tranche (carver) the carvery counter and the customers help themselves.

Carvery is open for luncheon and dinner and it alike serves alcohol. Table d’hôte menu is used in a carven which consists of three courses with a selection of starters, three or four roast meats, and a selection of sweets. Waiters serve first and third courses, while guests help themselves with roasts at the carvery counter. Carvery may have three or four varieties of roast meat and poultry.

Each variety of roasts will have separate carving tools for carving to ensure food hygiene. Accompanying sauces should be presented in sauceboats and placed near the appropriate roast with a ladle. Accompanying vegetables and potatoes are kept in a bain-marie.

These vegetables may either be served at the table by waiters or collected by guests from the carvery. Roasts are kept under infrared lamps throughout service to retain heat. The temperature of the roasts being carved Figure 5.5 Carvery should be 63°C or above. Bread and butter are placed on the table.

If guests need assistance, waiters may serve them at the table.

Advantages of carvery service

  • Carvery ensures the hot main course as it is being carved in the presence of guests
  • No wastage since customers take what they will be able to consume
  • An effective marketing tool.
  • Guests feel more value for money since the meat, the main course of the meal, carved in their presence is hot and they can choose the portion size.
  • As the menu is limited, it needs a smaller kitchen area and fewer production staff.
  • Not many service staff are required.
  • Less labor cost.

Disadvantages of carvery service

  • Operation depends on a talented carver that costs money.
  • Portion control and pricing are difficult as guests help themselves to as much as they want.
  • Retaining the appearance and palatability of the pre-cooked joints may be difficult.

Types of Food and Beverage Service PDF download

I am a hotelier and passionate blogger, who loves to share knowledge about the hotel industry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *