Myth: Serve on the left, remove on the right
For those in the restaurant industry, or even seasoned eaters, serve from the left, remove from the right, is a service industry myth that has been perpetuated for so long that it is about to become reality, based only on repetition.
Fine dining restaurants, places that demand superior service excellence, are the biggest culprits in this silly little lie, but as with most lies, it stems from a truth.
Today’s service and food are still nice, well, modern. The way people eat today is a relatively new style of food compared to the way it has been done for hundreds, even thousands of years.
Before, the people who were served food were relatively wealthy. Enough for them to have butlers or servants. These servants prepared the food in the kitchen, put it on a plate and presented it to the masters at the dining table. They would present the food. from the left. This would allow the dinner guest to select which food they would like to enjoy. The butler or servant would place the food on her plate, or the dinner guest would take the food from the plate. In these cases, presenting food from the left was the correct service procedure.
The type of dinner practiced throughout the world today is a variation of “Service a La Russe”. This is the kind of dining room you’re probably familiar with, where you choose what you’re going to have for dinner and the chef prepares the entire meal in the kitchen and delivers it to you in its entirety. There are no font options. In these cases, when the food is delivered fully prepared on the dinner plate, it will be delivered to the guest from the right side. All drinks must be delivered from the right side as well.
The only thing that needs to be delivered from the left is bread or some food accessories. Otherwise it is, serve from the right, remove from the right
The next time you go to eat at a good restaurant, take a look… Does the service team deliver the food correctly?
There are food presentation considerations more relevant to modern restaurant conundrums.
Here are some modern rules
1. Know what each guest has ordered. You never “auctioned” food. Use position numbers when ordering to ensure the correct food reaches the correct customer.
2. Deliver food to the ladies first.
3. Do not lean over one guest’s food to bring food to another. It is more important to deliver food to the furthest guest (such as in cabins) and exit, than to deliver food to a lady first.
4. Keep your thumb and fingers in contact with the plate to a minimum. Ideally, you should only have the meat of your hand holding the plate, not a grip with the thumbs that makes the thumb present on the plate.
There are many rules for serving food. They were created to make dining experiences wonderful for the guest and easy for the server. There’s rhyme and reason to etiquette…use it!