SOP – Restaurant – Table Setup – How to Lay Silverware and Plates?

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How To Setup Restaurant Table – Laying Silverware and Plates?

Purpose of this SOP:-

A neatly set table and laid out silverware and plates are the signature of a good restaurant and reflect the standard of quality of the establishment. Guests’ first impression of the table is important in setting the tone for a great and pleasing dining experience. Make sure you have the required items for laying the silverware and plates.

1. Preparation for laying Silverware and plates:

  1. Get a rack of clean silverware and plates from your side station or the dish room.
  2.  Some of the silver, EPNS (Electro Plated Nickle Silver), and Stainless steel S.S. items and plates used are given below.
  3.  Big forks and knives.
  4.  Small forks and knives.
  5.  Big spoons.
  6.  Small spoons.
  7.  Side plates (bread plate).
  8.  Soup Spoons.
  9.  Dessert Spoons and Forks.
  10.  Bread Plates.
  11.  Butter Plates.
  12.  Meal Plates.
  13.  All clean silverware and plates should be free from stains and well polished.
  14.  Make sure you know the menu and the required silverware for setting each course.
  15.  Always carry a plate ready with a clean, folded napkin.
  16.  Never transport silverware with your bare hands.
  17.  Return spotted or soiled items to the dish room.

2. Laying Silverware

Key Points to note while laying silverware:

  1. Use a linen napkin to place silverware and plates on the table.
  2. Only touch the silverware by the handle.
  3. If no base plates are used for the meal, leave a 12-inch space directly in front of each seat.
  4. Place forks to the left of the base plate or space.
  5. Place knives to the right of the base plate or space with the cutting edge of the knife toward the plate or space.
  6. Place spoons to the right of the knives.
  7. Leave small spaces between pieces of silverware.
  8. Line up all silverware handles about two inches from the table edge.
  9. Knives and forks must form an exact line with the opposite knives and forks.

Place Silverware for the main course:

  • Put the big knife on the right side of the cover plate, at about 1 cm parallel to it, cutting edge inside (facing left), the handle should be 2cm from the edge of the table.
  • Put the big fork on the left side of the plate, handle at 2cm from the edge of the table.

Place Silverware for starters (appetizers):

  • Put a small knife next to the big knife, handles are at the same level, the cutting side facing left.
  • If there is soup on the menu, place a spoon in between the knives, so the handles are all aligned on the same level.
  • Use a small soup spoon if the soup is served in cups, and a big spoon if the soup is served in dishes.
  • Put the small fork left to the big fork, and push slightly up so that the tines of the small fork are approximately 3cm higher than those of the big fork.
  • Put the bread plate left on the small fork.
  • The centre of the plate must be aligned with the starting point of the tines of the big fork.
  • Put a small knife on the right-hand edge of the bread plate, parallel to the small fork, cutting side facing left.

Place Silverware for dessert:

  • Put a small fork in a horizontal position ca 2cm above the cover plate, handle facing to the left, tines to the right.
  • Put a small spoon in the horizontal position above the small fork, handle facing to the right.

3. Placing Plates on the table:

Key Points to note before placing plates on the table:

  1. Get a rack of clean plates from your side station or the dish room.
  2. In fine dining restaurants, the base plates enhance the appearance of the table and act as an underliner for cocktails and starter courses.
  3. Place the plate rack onto the tray jack.
  4. Only use a dish dolly or cart when the restaurant is closed.
  5. Check each base plate to be sure it is clean and free of any spots, chips and cracks.
  6. Return any soiled or spotted plates to the dish room.
  7. Any chipped or cracked plate is to be reported to the supervisor.

Placing base plates on the guest table:

  • Place the base place directly in front of the guest chair.
  • The base plate should be around two inches from the edge of the table.
  • If the plate has a logo on it then place the plate in such a way that the guest can read the logo.

Placing bread and butter plates:

  • Check each butter plate to be sure it is clean and free of chips or cracks.
  • Return soiled plates to the dish room.
  • Remove chipped or cracked plates and report the same to the supervisors.
  • Place bread and butter plates to the left or above the forks at each place setting.
  • Return the empty rack to the dish room.

4. Checking your work:

  • All silverware must be laid perfectly straight, and parallel and must form a straight line with the opposite cutlery.
  •  Don’t throw silverware into the garbage nor take it to your room.
  •  Make sure all silverware is in impeccable condition.
  •  Make sure you put each piece of silverware in the correct position.
  •  Return empty dish racks, carts, etc. to the dish room.

Training Summary questions:

Q1. Why is it important to place silverware as per the hotel’s or restaurant’s standards?

Q2. How to prepare for laying silverware and plates?

Q3. What are the key points to note while laying the silverware?

Q4. How to place Silverware for Starters?

Q5. Tips for Placing the base plate on the guest table?
Table Setup SOP’s 1 to 3
SOP Number: Food and Beverage Service SOP - 43 
Department: Food and Beverage Service – Restaurant
Date Issued: 29-06-2018
Time to Train: 30 Min

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