How to Carry Plates – Restaurant Server Training

This is “How to Carry Plates – Restaurant Server Training” by Real Server Training. In this video, you will learn the proper technique for carrying plates as a restaurant server. Whether you’re new to serving or looking to improve your skills, this in-depth training will develop your competency and save you time in the long run.

Learn how to carry multiple plates on your thumb, pinky, and forearm to ensure stability and comply with health code regulations. Don’t forget to remember your seat numbers before looking at the table number to avoid confusion. Take the time to master the art of carrying plates and eliminate any anxiety about dropping dishes during your work shift.


Welcome to this comprehensive guide on how to carry plates! As a restaurant server, one of the most important skills you’ll need to master is the art of carrying plates with finesse. Whether you’re serving a busy lunch rush or a formal dinner, being able to transport plates with ease can make all the difference in providing a seamless dining experience for your guests. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about carrying plates, from choosing the correct hand to maintaining stability and avoiding health code violations. So let’s dive in!

Choosing the Correct Hand

When it comes to carrying plates, choosing the correct hand is crucial for both balance and efficiency. As a general rule, you should always use your non-dominant hand as the base hand to carry the majority of the weight, while your dominant hand provides support and balance. By doing so, you ensure that your stronger hand is free to handle any additional tasks, such as pouring drinks or assisting guests.

Proper Grip

To properly carry a plate, it’s important to have a secure grip to prevent any accidents or mishaps. The best way to achieve a solid grip is to place your hand in the center of the plate, using your fingertips to hold the rim firmly. Be sure to keep your fingers spread wide for better stability and control. Avoid gripping the plate from underneath, as this can lead to an unbalanced hold, resulting in dropped plates or spilled food.

Carrying Multiple Plates

Carrying multiple plates can be a challenging task, especially during busy shifts. However, with the right technique, you can efficiently transport multiple plates without sacrificing stability. While there are various methods, a popular approach is the forearm method.

By resting plates on your forearm, you can distribute the weight evenly and free up your hands for other tasks. Start by placing the first plate on your forearm, closer to the inside of your elbow. Then, carefully stack additional plates on top, making sure to balance the weight as evenly as possible.

How to Carry Plates - Restaurant Server Training

Maintaining Stability

Maintaining stability while carrying plates is essential to avoid accidents, such as dropped plates or spilled food. One effective technique to enhance stability is by keeping your shoulders squared. This means aligning your shoulders with the direction you are walking, creating a solid base for holding the plates. Additionally, keeping your back straight and maintaining a slow, steady pace will further enhance your stability while moving through the dining area.

Avoiding Health Code Violations

As a server, it’s crucial to adhere to health code regulations when carrying plates to ensure the safety of both your guests and yourself. One common violation to watch out for is not properly washing your hands before handling plates.

Always remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, especially after touching any surfaces or handling any utensils. Additionally, make sure your uniform is clean and free from any potential contaminants to avoid any cross-contamination issues.

Carrying Plates with Right Hand

If you’re serving with your right hand, it’s important to develop the right technique to maintain balance and stability. Begin by using your non-dominant hand to grip the bottom of the plate, supporting the weight. Then, place your dominant hand on the side of the plate, using your fingertips to stabilize it. By distributing the weight between both hands, you’ll have better control and reduce the risk of plates slipping or sliding.

Tips for Running Food

Running food is a crucial task for servers, as it involves delivering meals promptly and efficiently to guests. To be successful in running food, always remember to prioritize safety and accuracy. Double-check the order before leaving the kitchen, ensuring everything is as it should be.

Communicate with the kitchen staff and fellow servers, using clear verbal cues or hand signals to avoid collisions or confusion. Finally, walk briskly but confidently, making sure not to rush or compromise the stability of the plates.

Remembering Seat Numbers

Remembering seat numbers can greatly assist you in organizing your tasks and delivering food to the correct guests. One handy technique is to visualize the tables in numerical order, starting from a specific point in the dining area. As you take orders or deliver plates, mentally assign each table a corresponding seat number. By associating numbers with visual cues, you’ll be able to recall them more easily, preventing any mix-ups or confusion.


Congratulations! You’ve now learned the ins and outs of carrying plates like a pro. By choosing the correct hand, maintaining a proper grip, and developing the necessary techniques, you’ll be well equipped to provide exceptional service to your guests. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time to master these skills. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll soon be carrying plates with confidence and finesse. Happy serving!


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