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Ultimate Guide to French Food & Beverage Service Style

March 19, 2014

The concept of French service arises from the elegant and splendid style of the French court, le grand couvert (the great cover). French service is also termed as cart service. The service procedure of French service has been significantly modified and simplified according to the grade of the hotel or restaurant. Basically French service is a formal type of service which was first started to serve European.  

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Features of French Food & Beverage Service Style

French service is a modified service which can be characterized by the following key features:

  • french food beverage service styleFrench service usually followed in classy dining room, lavish restaurants, elegant resorts, cruise ships and casinos.
  • The unprepared or semi prepared foods are arrived from the kitchen and brought to the dining room placing on a guerdon (a cart) carrying on heavy silver platters. But the final preparation is completed at a side table in front of the guests and served from the service table to the guests on heated plates.
  • Since foods are cooked in front of the guests, so, those foods are cooked or completed which require short time to prepare.
  • Cooking, deboning, slicing, and garnishing procedures are applied in French Service.
  • French service is considered as the most labor-intensive and most expensive service of all formal styles.
  • The nature of this service always requires large number of experienced and skilled and highly professional servers to perform their job with elegancy and finesse.
  • Large numbers of serving and preparing items are used in tableside cooking, hence, ware washing costs are increased and also often lead to capital loss.
  • Though fewer tables and seats are set-up but service staffs need spacious space in order to move preparation carts all the way through the dining area and to prepare food on tableside in front of the guests.
  • French service serves fewer numbers of guests who can afford to pay extra time and cost to have pricey food items. However, they are always served with highest level of service and great deal of attention.
  • In case of small dining, the guest helps themselves while taking food and in case of large dining, the guests take foods by passing around the dishes for each guest to help themselves or serve another guest seated far from the dish.
  • The costs of F&B items are high so as to be able to produce high revenue and cover the labor and other associate costs.
  • Large numbers of servers are assigned to serve fewer guests which incur high operational costs.
  • Service procedure of French Service is quite time-consuming.

Table setting procedures of French Food & Beverage Service Style

French Table Setting ProcedureThe typical setting of French cover includes the following items:

  1. A show plate
  2. Cleanly folded napkin
  3. Dinner fork and dessert fork
  4. Dinner knife
  5. Dessert spoon and soup spoon
  6. Butter plate and butter spreader
  7. A water or wine glass
  • In case of small dining (up to 3 guests), dishes are placed directly on to the guest table and the main dish is placed before the guest expected to be served first. The service plates are placed near the dish for guest convenience.
  • In case of large dining (for 4 or more guests), a gueridon or side table is used. The waiters carry the plates and dishes and place them to the gueridon and then serve to the guests with some preliminary portioning or carving to help themselves.
  • Usually 3 pieces of flatware and wine glasses are placed on either the right or left side of the cover. Extra wares could be placed if only it is required.
  • All France services do not include salt and pepper and bread and butter in their table setting.
  • Sometimes a service or show plate is placed in the center of the cover as an under liner until the main course is served.
  • The waiters placed clean folded napkin on the service plate.
  • Ashtrays are not usually placed on the table until the meal is completed.

Meal Preparation & Serving Procedures

The preparation and serving procedure of French service involve the following number of persons for preparing and serving dishes:

Chef de rang (the main server)-is assigned for executing prime functions, such as:

  1. Preparing and serving dishes.
  2. Make seating the guests in absence of captain.
  3. Serving the beverage.
  4. Presenting checks.

Chef de rang usually prepare the food using the following special techniques. Such as:

  • Tossing and Mixing.
  • Plate Presentation and Sauces.
  • Deboning and Carving.
  • Flambéing.
  • Fire Plan.

Commis de rang-works as an assistant of the Chef de rang and responsible for performing following actions:

  1. Taking the order from the chef de rang.
  2. Collecting and bringing the foods to the dining room.
  3. Serves the dishes as dished up by the chef de rang.
  4. Clearing the tables.

Dining Room Captain- to help the guests to be seated and to supervise the service procedures.

Cocktail server- who serves alcohol and other beverages

Wine steward or Sommelier-who serves wine.

Preparation of Food in French Food & Beverage Service Style

Preparation of food in French service is done in the following manner:

  • Food preparation completed on a guéridon (the side table) which include required tools and equipments to meet the expectation.  The servers do not serve always completed cooked food from the guéridon. Ex- a salad might be mixed on it or a piece of meat might be carved on it.
  • There used to be a heater on the guéridon to cook the food is called a réchaud. Chef de rang use warmed plates for serving hot plates and then handed them to the commis, who serves to the guest. All guests should be warned while serving any hot food or soup.

Service of Food in French Food & Beverage Service Style

french-f-b-service-styleServing procedures of French service are performed through performing the following actions:

  • All foods (except butter, bread, and salad, these items are positioned to the left hand side of the guests) is served and cleared from the right side of the guests.
  • Finger bowl is served with all fingers bowls filled with warm water with rose petals or lemon slices in them in front of the guests.
  • Cocktail server serves alcohol and other beverages and wine steward serves wine to the guests. Sometimes the chef de rang also take order and serves beverage in case of after-dinner beverage.
  • The commis de rang brings the soup to the guéridon and places it on the réchaud and dishes into warm soup plates.  Sauces are often served with much of the completion of basic preparation.
  • Coffee is served after the main dish in demitasse cups.
  • When all dishes are completed then the waiter is to be cleared the soiled plates and others servicewares.

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