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SOP – Cocktail service and reception packages in Banquets

SOP Number: F&B - 33 ( SOP serial number and department code )

Department: Food and Beverage Service – Banquet Server


Time to Train: 45 Minutes

  • A selection of cocktail & reception packages shall be permanently available. Each priced at a different level, they will fit the needs of the different market segments targeted.

  • The different packages shall vary mainly in terms of the food selection offered.

  • Tailor-made packages can be offered at any time, after consulting with the Executive Chef if any special food is requested.

  • Welcome cocktails, after-meeting cocktails or other special cocktail arrangements are available on request.

Cocktail Service:

1. Prepare Trays.

  • Only use trays that are clean.

  • Polish the trays if required.

  • Typically a 12 inch beverage service tray is used to serve cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres at cocktail receptions. Some hotels use silver or glass trays.

  • Line tray with linen napkins.

  • Place a stack of beverage napkins on each tray.

  • Place food or beverages on the tray but make sure that items are centered so the tray is balanced.

2. Server Beverages to Guests:

  • At large cocktail receptions, the banquet event order may specify that servers will pass trays of food and trays of the most popular beverages to speed service.

  • Balance a tray of beverages on your fingertips and hold it in front of your chest.

  • Do not try to hold beverage tray above the shoulder.

  • Approach guests and offer them a beverage from your tray.

  • Pick you a beverage napkin and beverage and hand them to the guest with your free hand.

  • If guests try to remove a beverage from your tray, politely ask them to let you serve them this will help you to maintain the balance of the tray.

  • Refill the tray as and when needed.

  • As you return to the bar to refill your tray, collect empty glasses and place them on your tray.

  • Place dirty glasses in the dirty glass racks in the service bar.

  • Wipe spills from your tray and from tables using a clean, damp cloth.

3. Serving Snacks / Starters to guests:

  • Carry a tray of food on your fingertips above your shoulder.

  • Move among the guest and offer the snacks.

  • Lower the tray and present it at chest level to the guest. Try to avoid interrupting conversations. Normally if you approach a group then they will pause the conversation and pick up the snacks.

  • Refill the try when required.

  • When you return to the kitchen or other area to refill your tray, remember to place empty plates on the tray and bring them to the dish room.

  • Crumb the table when required.

4. Other setup Tips:

  • The set-up of the different food display tables must be original, efficient and attractive to the eye and well balanced throughout the room,

  • A limited number of different set-up shall be used as standard set-up. On the Banquet Event Order (BEO), the kind of set-up shall be mentioned and discussed during the weekly banquet meeting if any change is needed.

  • The bar counters, if inside the room must be set strategically to ensure easy access for both guests and customers. The bar counter must be set up in an efficient and attractive way, e.g., do not cover the whole surface with glasses.

  • Sufficient working space, and space for guests to dispose of their glasses, ist not be overlooked.

Training Summary questions:

Q1. How to prepare tray for cocktail service?

Q2. How to hold the beverage tray?      

Q3. How to carry the food/starter/snacks tray?

Q4. Tips for serving snacks to the guests?

Q5. What should be taken care if the bar counter is setup inside the banquet hall?

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Authored and managed by Augustine, a hotelier with over 20 years of experience in the industry. He has a 3-year diploma with 'honors' from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and a Bachelor of Computer Application - BCA Degree.