How to Setup Tables for Appetizers: 5 Key Server Tips

The video “Seamless Transitions: Setting Up Tables for Appetizers” offers servers tips for optimizing appetizer service. It stresses promptly preparing tables to receive apps by swiftly dropping off properly-sized plates. This prevents you from forgetting later when busy.

Following these recommendations highlighted in the tutorial will help servers present appetizers flawlessly. Anticipating timing needs, tablescaping promptly, and guiding diners through an intuitive progression creates a smooth journey from apps through entrees. Master these fundamentals to delight guests with stellar service flow kicking off their dining experience.

Tablescaping 101: The Art of Appetizer Delivery

You sold guests flawlessly on starting their meal with your indulgent baked brie. Or maybe tempted them with the two taco trio special kicking off happy hour. Excellent appetite teasing. Now comes execution.

With mere minutes before fired small plates land tableside, the setup scramble begins. But serving apps seamlessly is harder than it looks, especially when juggling multiple courses. No pressure!

As a serial appetizer pusher well-versed in seamless service flow, let me walk you through pro techniques for making first courses shine.

1. Act Now, Not Later

The ticket just went back for calamari and stuffed mushrooms. Newbie servers may glance at their watch, assuming there’s loads of time to casually handle table prep. After all, apps take what – 10 or 15 minutes tops?

Don’t get lured into this false sense of multi-tasking security! In the wild world of hospitality, assuming you’ll revisit tables “in a few minutes” typically backfires. Rather than returning to promised tasks, additional demands fill the gap and drag you further behind.

Instead, embrace this mantra: If there’s even 60 spare seconds NOW to complete a task, do it immediately.

For appetizers, that means the second the order prints, drop off appropriately-sized appetizer plates onto the table. Every restaurant differs on dishes used, but most utilize separate smaller chargers or bread plates expressly for first courses.

This way, when hot apps come up ready in just five minutes, their landing spot waits at the ready. No flustered plate snatching from a bus tub required with guests awkwardly hovering fork in hand.

Sure, plopping down a couple plates takes mere moments now. But unexpected chaos lurks around every corner. Table 12 could spill red wine across new linen you’re suddenly changing out. Or a massive to-go order monopolizes your attention.

In the blink of an eye, you’ve lost control of actively preparing. Don’t risk forgetting key tablesetting. Seize that small window when you have it!

2. Choose Courses Wisely

New servers often default to soup as easy appetizer selling. After all, it requires practically no prep or plate dropping. Seamless, right?

Ehhhh not quite. Serving soup properly means decision fatigue for guests. Do they need to choose between bread or soup first? Are you whisking away nurturing warm bowls too soon? Without intentional staging, Enjoying soup among additional courses induces stress.

Instead, you might suggest bite-sized, fork-friendly apps allowing more control over portion pacing. Devour calamari until the final tentacle then move on. Heavenly!

Shareable spreads also keep early courses cruising. Allow guests to graze casually on spinach-artichoke dip among continuing conversation, not forcing food down quickly.

And remind guests not to fill up too heavily if entrees await. Gentle guidance, but said with a smile! The key is to remove any pressure so enjoyment stays center stage.

Waiter Serving Group Of Female Friends Meeting For Drinks And Food In Restaurant

3. Serve Like Lives Depend On It

Dinging kitchen bells signal your precious haul of appetizers desperately needs table delivery. Now or never time!

Resist any urge to make multiple trips by loading up shaky forearms with stacks of precariously perched plates. Surely those limping chicken wings toppling sideways won’t actually fall, right?

Take two trips or two thousand. Bring out each item deliberately, even enlisting others to run food if needed. Gracefully presenting immaculate apps makes them taste even better somehow.

Equally important? Affectionately describe each dish upon serving, sparking anticipation.

“We’ve got piping hot Korean BBQ wings lacquered with ginger-sesame glaze. And this heavenly burrata appetizer with roasted tomatoes and pistachio-basil pesto you spread onto crispy crostini.”

Give those taste buds a virtual high-five!

4. Perfect the Mid-Meal App Check-In

You’ve served stellar starters as a sequencing pro. But the appetizer juggling act isn’t over quite yet.

Halfway through apps, check on enjoyment levels and gauge lingering interest before whisking plates away too hastily. After all, you can’t smear leftover pesto as effectively once crostini cools!

“How are the calamari and meatballs so far? Would you like me to bring out another round or ready to make room for main entrees heading your way next?”

Not only does this provide a considerate opportunity for potential add-ons or replacements, but it ensures you’re not prematurely assuming guests are finished.

Remember, apps are the amuse-bouche. Let diners fully indulge in this foreplay!

Of course, if guests are clearly done and entrees are awaiting execution behind the line, by all means, clear, lovingly. Just don’t rush the process and risk diminishing appetites for anything beyond.

5. Oversee the Tablescape

Speaking of clearing, side hustle as a spatial coordinator throughout appetizers by deliberately maintaining order of place settings.

With multiple fork-and-knives per setting alongside water/wine glasses, it’s tempting for that bread dish the bruschetta sat on to end up awkwardly sideways by a guest’s elbow.

Finesse chaos by returning plates and flatware precisely where they belong when resetting. Group together appetizer dishes at the center or side of the table when clearing, too.

This gracefully signifies “beginnings accomplished” while allowing you to reset for salad, soup or entrees smoothly. No one wants their seared tuna arriving before finding tablespace!

So breathe easy as apps order in, newbie server! Implementing these techniques lets you showcase menu openers flawlessly. Now pull up a crostini, and let’s celebrate!

Got any tips you’d like to share? Please let us know below!


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