SOP – Restaurant – Table Setup – How to Set Table Linen?

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How To Setup Table Linen – Table Cloth – Napkins

Purpose of this SOP: The waiter/server or bus person is responsible for setting and resetting tables in a restaurant. A neatly set table is the signature of a good restaurant and reflects the standard of quality of the establishment. The guest’s first impression of the table is important in setting the tone for a great and pleasing dining experience.

1. Preparation for laying tablecloth and napkin:

  • Make sure you have your mise en place ready and check the new tablecloth, napkin, or placemat for;
  •  Correct Size.
  •  Correct Colour according to the restaurant’s theme.
  •  Any Stains.
  •  Tears or holes.
  •  Unsightly wrinkles.
  •  The tablecloths and Napkins used should be perfectly ironed.
  •  Make sure the required quantity of Table Molleton (silence pad), Placemat, Tablecloth, Overlayer, and Napkins are available.

2. Laying the tablecloth:

  • Make sure the table is well positioned and standing steady.
  •  Pull the chairs away so that you can freely walk around the table.
  •  Lay the collection (silence pad) down. A mallet will keep the tablecloth from sliding, temper the noise of dishes and silverware against the table and protect the table from accidental spills and burns.
  •  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 that the centrefold (facing up) is exactly in the middle of the table.
  •  The right side / correct side of the tablecloth should be always up and centred on the table.
  •  Make sure that the edges of the tablecloth do not hang so low that guests get tangled up in it when sitting or getting up.
  •  Straighten the tablecloth if necessary with quick moves, but make sure your hands are clean.
  •  Put on the overlayer (runner) and make sure the edges hang even.
  •  An overlayer protects the tablecloth from stains. As it is much smaller than the tablecloth, it is more efficient for cleaning.
  •  Do not touch the surface of the overlayer, it should be well-positioned and straight on the first go.
  •  If placemats are used, then make sure the pattern is right side up and facing the guest so the words on the placemat can be read by the guest.
  •  Line up the placemats with the table edge and with the placemats on the opposite side of the table.

3. Put on napkins:

  • Napkins may be folded and kept ready earlier as an opening side work duty, This will speed up the table layout process.
  •  A simple but elegant napkin folding that does not require too much handling is ideal for restaurants and coffee shops.
  •  Align the needed amount of chairs so they are spaced evenly down the side of the table.
  •  Leave enough space between the chairs [20cm] so that the guest can easily sit or get up.
  •  Place a cover plate in front & the exact middle of each chair.
  •  The edge of the plate should be 2 cm from the edge of the table.
  •  Use your thumb in a horizontal position to estimate the right distance.
  •  Put the folded napkin on the cover plate.

Training Summary questions:

Q1. What is the purpose of this SOP?

Q2. How to prepare for laying tablecloths and napkins?

Q3. What are all the details to be while placing tablecloths?

Q4. How to place napkins?

SOP Number:  Food and Beverage Service SOP - 42 
Department: Food and Beverage Service – Restaurant
Date Issued: 26-06-2018
Time to Train: 30 Min
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