Friday, March 2, 2007

Serve From the Right Or Left?

When I would train the service staff I would always train them to serve drinks from the right and meals from the left. I recently did some training at a private club where the manager disagreed with this approach. In my opinion this is the correct serving practise. When you serve to the left hand side of the customer you are not interfering or passing over the beverage glass.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Strongly Disagree with serving from left.This form of service is part of a silver service when you actualy transfering food to someone elses plate and because you want to avoid crossing guests space you serve from left.Applies to bread service as well as serving gravy or sauce from gooseneck.
There is a lot of publications describing the details of table service look for european books as they are more to the details and the rules of service
Maitre d`

rizwan said...

yes me too strongly dis agreed with service. any of table service if plated must serve from right and beverage too from right.

Andrew MacNeill said...

Serving from the left actually makes great sense when the majority of people are right-handed. Their glasses will be to their right as will their active arm. As a result, you will not be crossing against them.

Just because it's an older way to serving doesn't mean the new way is better.

Judgement should be used - I'm left-handed so my glass is usually to the left but when at a table with a lot of people, serving from the left makes it easier for both the server and the guest.

Anonymous said...

Serving from the left doesn't make it easier for the server. As soon as the server has more than one plate in his/ her hand, it gets difficult. Serving from the left means that you close your space to the guest, you are building a barrier with your arm between you and the guest plus your elbow will be somewhere in the guests face, which is not very funny.
Service from the right allows to have more space between you and the guest, you have more room to act and your body language opens up to the guest...

etiquettewithelizabeth.com said...

Proper etiquette is that the food is served from the LEFT and plates are removed from the right. You can always consult Latitia Baldridge who is the foresmost authority in etiquette.

RobB said...

Serving from the left is correct ONLY when dishing out food from a platter. If the food is pre-plated as it usually is these days, it should be served from the right.

Finsterhoffer said...

Use your other hand!

Bassam said...

Totally disagree, food and beverages should be served in right hand from right. the server's hand should never cross the face of the guest.

Anonymous said...

Weel now I'm totally confused. I was taught in the 70s to serve the plated food from the left. Clear from the right. Now some think its serve from the right, some think its the left. Which is it? The servers hand doesn't cross the face of the guest if you serve from the left with your left hand.

Anonymous said...

Exactly...serve from the left with left hand, remove from right with right hand

Michael Robinson said...

I think that serving with the right hand over the guests right shoulder is best. If I serve with my right hand from the guests left, my forearm crosses the guests face. Serving with an open arm,never crossing the guests face is best, the path of least intrusion. Never break a close conversation just so you can approach the guest from the right side. It is about tje guests experience at tje end of the day

Anonymous said...

serve from the left? serve from the that right? we are creatures that like to make good sense of things! when writing books or literature on the subject writers need to say why!!!

in my opinion, as glasses are usually set on the right-hand side of the table you should serve drinks to the right with your right hand. and as the glasses usually stay to the right during service, (most people are right-handed) when serving food in big cumber sum plates, to avoid knocking over the guest's drinks on them, you should serve from the left with your left hand. clearing should be done at your discretion as to avoid knocking over drinks that guests are not finished with or disturbing the guest's conversations.

Sal Maffettone said...

The tried & true axiom here is leave left, remove right! Serve from the left with your left hand so you do not cross patrons body, remove from right with right hand for same reason. Beverage service is always from the right, you may take glassware in hand to pour or pour directly into glass...wine service is always poured directly into glass while on table.

Anonymous said...

I was taught (and have worked in f.d. for almost two decades) to lower on the left (with your left hand) and raise on the right (with your right hand.) Liquids are always placed from the right. If a guest is sipping their water or wine, they shoul be able to do with ease while receiving their food.

Anonymous said...

I've planned, managed, waitered events in NYC for over 20 years. NEVER ONCE have any of the companies I've worked for served from the right. In addition, majority of the guests lean to the left because they are also accustomed to being served from the left.

Anonymous said...

Right

Anonymous said...

I agree with serving from either side,but lean more towards left side serving because the guests will bring their beverages closer to them while waiting on their meal,and it could get awkward trying to set the plate down.

Greg Kelly said...

Here are two clues. One, table manners were created to facilitate service by a server. Two, the forks are placed to the left of the plate with the intention that the guest will eat with their left hand.

Keep you elbows off the table, so that a server can deliver all the meals without delays.

Serve from the left with the left hand, perhaps extending the plate toward the middle of the table while announcing the dish. This avoids a potential conflict with guest who may be raising a glass. Never serve or clear with you elbow next to the guest.

Pour water and wine from the right with the right hand since the knife never rises on that side. (If casual dining is happening, which is more common then all table manners are off since many people eat with their right hand today).

Clear from the right with the right hand, initially moving the hand toward the center of the table to give advanced warning. A sophisticated guest will place the knife and fork together at the two o'clock position to indicate that they are finished with the meal.

Table manners are also designed to minimize unnecessary discussion such as "are you finished yet?" and allow efficient delivery of food and beverage. A server can only be as good as the dining guest, but an server untrained in fine dining will not be able to respond appropriately and will make much less money per hour in a fine dining situation.

Simply put, if the guests are cutting with the right hand and eat with their left hand, use fine dining rules to provide top service and make great money. Otherwise, do whatever you wish.

Greg Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Kelly said...

As a follow up. Fine dining allows for the guests to enjoy conversation with their table mates and not have to provide unnecessary responses. Pour water and wine, until told to discontinue. Set salad forks or take and replace used dinner forks after the salad course without setting them back on the table. Bring coffee after the meal with dessert menus without asking. The host or guest can waive you off with a hand signal without them interrupting their conversation. Once a fine dining guest understands the competence of the server, they will use eye contact and subtle hand signals. They may touch the bread basket or order more wine or drinks with a hand gesture and eye contact. People with money don't mind spending, only wishing that they can run into a server who can deliver the highest level of service and act as a "guide", providing them with higher level comments about the best entrees or warning them off from a less than ideal selection. Once trust is earned, they may simply ask that the server "take care of them" selecting a round of shared appetizers or dessert cours, asking for recommendations on a wine pairing, or knowing the the server will deliver a custom, "off menu" dessert. That is where the money is made. A server who understands fine dining will make more per hour and people with a high level of discretionary income will insist on that server any time they return to that restaurant.

Clay Snider said...

Serving from the left but using your right hand is called “back handing”, and not to be done.
Serve from the left with the left hand with your thumb off the plate and the protein at 6 o'clock.
If there is a wall or other barrier it is acceptable to serve from the right, but again, use the right hand so not to back hand.