“Serve From The Left” Myth
Serve From The Left: B.S
I have worked fine dining for over 10 years and for over 10 years I have heard “serve from the left, remove from the right.” And, for some reason or another, I never questioned it. That is, until I started this website. Then in 2012 I began researching the history of service and the different types of service. What I learned was K-Razy!
Here is the conundrum.
Officially, you are supposed to deliver food from the right and remove food from the right. The stinky little lie that has enveloped the world of service is “Serve from the Left and remove from the right.” This idea stems from Butler service where butlers would showcase a platter of food choices to their master or guest. The platter is presented from the left of the guest. The guest would either remove food items from the platter or the butler/server would put selected food items onto the diners plate.
But the service that is most widely practiced worldwide is Service a la Russe. This is when the food item is selected from a menu and prepared in full by the Chef in the kitchen. The food is then delivered in its entirety to the guest, FROM THE RIGHT. Officially you only deliver food to a guest from the left if it is from a platter. Or bread. Bread can be presented from the left, (that is where the bread plate is located).
The Lie: Serve From The Left
Most fine dining restaurants teach “serve from the left, remove from the right.”
If you decide to continue serving the wrong, but popular way, then here are your rules.
Deliver from the left:
- All solid food
- All food delivered from a platter
- All bread
- All table side service soups. (Meaning, you deliver the bowl with the ingredients in it from the left, make a table loop, and pour the soup stock into the bowl table side from the right. This is because all liquids should be delivered from the right.)
Deliver from the right
- All beverages
- All soups that will be POURED TABLE SIDE
If you would like your restaurant to present food 100% correctly, (congratulations) and here are your rules.
Serve from the right
- All pre-plated food items. (Meaning it was prepared and plated in full from Chef, in the kitchen.)
- All beverages
- All soups, fully prepared and/or poured table-side
Serve from the left
- All bread
- Any food presented from a platter
General Food Delivery Rules
- No thumb on the plate, hold it with as little contact as possible
- Don’t carry too many plates
- Run food with someone
- Come to the table with your food and get in delivery position
- WAIT for your food running companions to get into place
- Make eye contact with your food running companions and when every food funner is ready, deliver the plates in unison
- Pivot into position 2, make eye contact with fellow food runner’s and deliver to the next position
There are a lot of booths to be dealt with and many times, even if you want to follow the rules, you can’t.
- The biggest issue is reaching over one guest’s food to deliver food to another guest. This is bad! Don’t do it. Deliver food to the furthest guest first, and make your way to the outside of the booth.
- Deliver food to the woman first.
- Don’t auction food, know who ordered what before you deliver the food.
So, what are you going to do? How are you going to run food in your restaurant? Oh, life is full of tough decisions!!!
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