new banquet server

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Comments (7)

KDJ in Portsmouth, Virginia

64 months ago

Hi....I just got a job as a banquet server. The only experience I have is serving during my college break for a week at a country club. My new manager says I will have to serve with the tray up I guess on my shoulder. Does anyone have any advice of how to do this best. Im afraid something will fall. Does one person carry the tray on their shoulder and another serve the plates or do you put the tray down on a stand and then serve. Also what shoulder do you carry the tray on (Is it right since you have to serve from the left?) and do you have to carry drinks on your shoulder too, won't they fall? THANKS!!! :)

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THe DuDE in Mission Viejo, California

64 months ago

Will I use a stand or have another server pull plates directly off as I hold the tray?

Most likely (in that setting) you'll be placing the tray down on a stand. If you're also serving and not just running the food, then you're definitely putting the tray down. I mean, come on, does it make any sense any other way? You could just be getting used as a runner though, so who knows.

What shoulder do I carry the tray on?
That depends on if you're carrying the tray with your right or left hand. You won't be pulling and serving plates off a tray that you are holding yourself. That makes no sense. So, it makes absolutely no difference what hand/shoulder you're using to carry the thing.

What side will I serve guests from?
That depends on the facility/manager/company standards. Yeah, most places in the US serve from the left, but not all. There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, golf courses that have their staff serve from the right. They aren't the majority, but they are out there. One of those happens to be the property I am the Food and Beverage Director at. A Fairmont Hotel. Serving from the right is a company standard, so we follow it.

Will I carry drinks on my shoulder too?
Only if you want to make a giant mess. You'll use a small (cocktail) tray for drinks. Don't hold it up above your head, keep it waist/chest level. Never carry a glass without a tray. You may be asked to carry large trays of glasses back to the steward, but that will be when everyone is gone. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Use common sense, pay attention to the other servers, and don't bother your boss. The less you talk to him, bug him, question him, complain to him, etc..the better you'll get treated/scheduled/etc..in the long run.

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Bomax in Cocoa, Florida

60 months ago

KDJ in Portsmouth, Virginia said: Hi....I just got a job as a banquet server. The only experience I have is serving during my college break for a week at a country club. My new manager says I will have to serve with the tray up I guess on my shoulder. Does anyone have any advice of how to do this best. Im afraid something will fall. Does one person carry the tray on their shoulder and another serve the plates or do you put the tray down on a stand and then serve. Also what shoulder do you carry the tray on (Is it right since you have to serve from the left?) and do you have to carry drinks on your shoulder too, won't they fall? THANKS!!! :)

Bend at the knees , get under tray and use one hand under with the other holding the rim. With time you will get a LOT better. We ALL drop trays or glasses , it just happens.

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fitzpitz in Lithonia, Georgia

37 months ago

KDJ in Portsmouth, Virginia said: Hi....I just got a job as a banquet server. The only experience I have is serving during my college break for a week at a country club. My new manager says I will have to serve with the tray up I guess on my shoulder. Does anyone have any advice of how to do this best. Im afraid something will fall. Does one person carry the tray on their shoulder and another serve the plates or do you put the tray down on a stand and then serve. Also what shoulder do you carry the tray on (Is it right since you have to serve from the left?) and do you have to carry drinks on your shoulder too, won't they fall? THANKS!!! :)

I have worked as a Banquet Server for over 30 years and I will help you to understand the full aspects of being a Banquet Server. Carrying the trays is usually done with your left hand over your left shoulder. This is something that will not come to you overnight. It will take some practice and then it becomes like riding a bike. You must walk steady and don't tremble. This is how I learned to carry. I was in my early teens when I first worked a function. The trays looked very scary and I thought that I would never be able to carry. I never thought I would stay in the business but here I am about 30 years later, still a Banquet Server. The Captain at that time walked behind me and said "Walk steady and don't tremble"! This is how I learned. Do not be afraid, carry a little at a time until you get the hang of it and tell yourself "I can do this, its only a banquet, this is not a matter of life or death. Think positive, telling yourself, she or he did it, I can do it. They are no better than I am! Do not pay attention to the big headed waiters that want to make your feel nervous. Some waiters live to do that. They enjoy making a mockery out of the new Waiters, it makes them feel superior. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THESE TYPES. If you want to do it, you will. Try and find a Waiter that is kind, he or she will help you.

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fitzpitz in Lithonia, Georgia

37 months ago

fitzpitz in Lithonia, Georgia said: I have worked as a Banquet Server for over 30 years and I will help you to understand the full aspects of being a Banquet Server. Carrying the trays is usually done with your left hand over your left shoulder. This is something that will not come to you overnight. It will take some practice and then it becomes like riding a bike. You must walk steady and don't tremble. This is how I learned to carry. I was in my early teens when I first worked a function. The trays looked very scary and I thought that I would never be able to carry. I never thought I would stay in the business but here I am about 30 years later, still a Banquet Server. The Captain at that time walked behind me and said "Walk steady and don't tremble"! This is how I learned. Do not be afraid, carry a little at a time until you get the hang of it and tell yourself "I can do this, its only a banquet, this is not a matter of life or death. Think positive, telling yourself, she or he did it, I can do it. They are no better than I am! Do not pay attention to the big headed waiters that want to make your feel nervous. Some waiters live to do that. They enjoy making a mockery out of the new Waiters, it makes them feel superior. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THESE TYPES. If you want to do it, you will. Try and find a Waiter that is kind, he or she will help you.

Also there is something now called a front Waiter and a back Waiter. The back waiter comes in with the trays of food and sets them down on a tray jack. The front waiter in turn puts the plated food down on the table. The back Waiter is responsible for bringing in all food, taking out dirty trays of food and bringing back in clean trays and sitting them on the tray jack for the front Waiter to load used dirty items onto. The back Waiter must also keep the water and other beverage pitchers full as well as keeping the bread replinished. Also items such as butter,cofee cream and lemons.

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DebServes in Freedom, California

26 months ago

Can you tell me the best way to serve a banquet if they were given 5 choices & will be chosing after they get to restaurant. I hate table maps...takes to long & not smooth...

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Brian Francis Fenlon in Palm Harbor, Florida

24 months ago

Excellent answer! Dont read too much into the "serve from the left" thing. if you are right or left handed use your best judgement on which side to support your tray cuz no one wants a mess!

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