AJAR.id – Hello Ajarian! Once meals have been completed it is now time to clear the table. Used and unwanted items should be removed from tables throughout the meal.
When guests place their knife and fork together in the center of the plate this is the usual sign that they have finished their meal.
Of course, not all customers will do this, so you must be aware of other signs. The most obvious being an empty plate.
Before clearing any plates away, ask the customer if they have finished to ensure the plate can actually be cleared away. A simple question such as “May I take your plate, madam?” or “Have you finished, sir?” is all that is required.
The following protocols commonly apply when clearing a table:
- Try to start with the guest who has the most scraps left on their plate. This will act as the base plate for clearing
- Always clear from the right of the guest – the same side that you should have served from
- Pick up the first plate, complete with cutlery, with your right hand and transfer and secure it in your left hand
- Secure the end of the fork handle under your thumb
- Slide the knife, cutting end first, under the fork to secure it and stop it from sliding away
- Moving clockwise around the table, clear the next guest’s plate. Make sure the left hand is held back to avoid being too close to the customer, especially their head and shoulders
- Secure the second plate into position over the wrist, and scrape any food scraps onto the base plate (plate positioning will be as previously described in the ‘two-plate serving method’)
- Secure the knife by sliding it under the securing fork
- Place the second fork parallel to the securing fork
- Continue this procedure until all the plates and cutlery are cleared for that particular course.
Naturally, all clearing of plates must be done in accordance with hotel or restaurant standards and practices, with minimal disruption to customers. If you are unsure about what applies at your workplace, then ask your supervisor.
Read also: How to Handle Dissatisfied Customers
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Written by: Alan Hickman, Nick Hyland
Subject Matter: Provide food and beverage services