What is Silver service / English service ?
Silver service Also called platter-to-plate service or English service, this is a form of table service where the waiter elegantly and efficiently brings food to the guest at the table.
It is a technique in which food is transferred from a platter or flat plate to the guest’s plate from the left.
Food is placed on the serving platters by the chef and transferred to the guest’s plate by the waiter.
History of Silver Service
The history of silver service can be traced back to the Victorian era in England, when the wealthy class began hosting elaborate dinner parties and banquets. During this time, the use of silver in the service of food and drink became increasingly popular, as it was seen as a symbol of luxury and refinement.
As the practice of silver service spread throughout Europe and the United States, it became increasingly formalized, with strict rules and protocols governing every aspect of the service, from the placement of the silverware to the presentation of the food.
Today, silver service is still used in formal settings, such as at fancy hotels, restaurants, and events, although it is less common than it once was. It is often reserved for special occasions, such as weddings and other important events, where a high level of formality and attention to detail is desired.
Silver service an overview
This type of service requires skill on the part of the waiter with the use of a serving spoon and fork, as well as a working method so that courses follow one another at appropriate intervals. It’s a very personal service that adds to the goodwill.
A variation of the silver service is known as a butler service. With butler service, dinner is served from a plate held by the waiter (butler).
Traditionally, this type of service was used on Sunday evenings, when the waiting staff had the evening off and the butler helped out at dinner.
How to do Silver service ?
Prepare the table: Set the table with the appropriate silverware, glasses, and serving dishes, making sure that everything is neatly arranged and in the correct order.
Greet the guests: As they are seated, introduce yourself and offer them a menu or a list of available dishes.
Take orders: Write down the guests’ orders, paying careful attention to any special requests or dietary restrictions.
Serve the food: Bring the food to the table on silver platters, using the appropriate serving utensils. Make sure to serve each guest individually, starting with the guest of honor or the person seated at the head of the table.
Refill drinks: Keep an eye on the guests’ glasses and refill them as needed.
Clear the table: When the guests are finished eating, remove the dishes and silverware from the table, making sure to leave the table looking clean and orderly.
Offer dessert: If the guests are interested in dessert, present them with a menu or list of options and take their orders.
Remember to always be respectful and attentive to the guests’ needs, and to follow the specific protocols and guidelines of your hotel.
Some point kept in mind while serving English service
Food is served from dish/platter on to the guest’s plate using service spoon and fork from the left-hand side.
Conduct clearance from the right-hand side.
Serve beverage from the right-hand side.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Silver Service
Personalized service, i.e., great attention and care.
Scope for service staff to exhibit their service skills.
No plate wastage.
Required a high level of service skills, so high labour costs.
Low seat turnover.
High capital investment.
The service charge is generally high.
Chances of miscalculations of the portion sizes due to uneven distribution of food.
When the last portion is served, the food on the platter looks scattered and unappetizing.
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