Broadly we can categorize the service methods in five types:
A. Table Service B. Assisted service C. Self- service D. Single point service specialized or in situ service
A. TABLE SERVICE
In this category, the guest enters in the area and is seated. Menu lists are given or displayed for orders. The orders are taken by waiter/ess. Then the service is done a laid cover on the table. Following are the type of service come under this category: this is not true.
English Service: Often referred to as the "Host Service" because the host plays an active role in the service. Food is brought on platters by the waiter and is shown to the host for approval. The waiter then places the platters on the tables. The host either portions the food into the guest plates directly or portions the food and allows the waiter to serve. For replenishment of guest food the waiter may then take the dishes around for guests to help themselves or be served by the waiter.
French Services: It is a very personalized service. Food is brought from the kitchen in dishes and salvers, which are placed directly on the table. The plates are kept near the dish and the guests help themselves.
Silver Service: The table is set for hors d'oeuvres, soup, main courses and sweet dish in sterling silverware. The food is portioned into silver platters at the kitchen itself, which are placed at the sideboard with burners or hot plates to keep the food warm in the restaurant. Plates are placed before the guest. The waiter then picks the platter from the hot plate and presents the dish to the host for approval. He serves each guest using a service spoon and fork. All food is presented in silver dishes with elaborate dressing.
American/Plate Service: The American service is a pre-plated service, which means that the food is served into the guest's plate in the kitchen itself and brought to the guest. The kitchen predetermines the portion and the accompaniments served with the dish balance the entire presentation in terms of nutrition and color. This type of service is commonly used in a coffee shop where service is required to be fast.
Russian Service: An elaborate silver service much on the lines of French service except that the food is portioned and carved by the waiter at the gueridon trolley in the restaurant in full view of the guests. Display and presentation are a major part of this service. The principle involved is to have whole joints, poultry, game and fish elaborately dressed and garnished, presented to guests and carved and portioned by the waiter. Gueridon Service: This is a service where a dish comes partially prepared from the kitchen to be completed in the restaurant by the waiter or, when a complete meal is cooked at the tableside in the restaurant. The cooking is done on a gueridon trolley, which is a mobile trolley with a gas cylinder and burners. The waiter plays a prominent part, as he is required to fillet, carve, flambé and prepare the food with showmanship. The waiter has to have considerable dexterity and skill.
Snack-bar Service: Tall stools are placed along a counter so that the guest may eat the food at the counter itself. In better establishments, the covers are laid out on the counter itself. Food is either displayed behind the counter for the guests to choose from, or is listed on a menu card or common black board.
B. ASSISTED SERVICE
In this type of category, the guest enters in the dining area and assisted himself for getting the food, either from buffet counter or he may get served partly at table by waiter/ess and the extra need to be collected from counter by himself. Consumption may be done on either at table, standing or in lounge area/ banquet hall.
Buffet Service: A self-service, where food is displayed on tables. The guest takes his plate from a stack at the end of each table or requests the waiter behind the buffet table to serve him. For sit-down buffet service, tables are laid with crockery and cutlery as in a restaurant. The guest may serve himself at the buffet table and return to eat at the guest table laid out. The waiter may serve a few courses like the appetizer and soup at the table.
C. SELF SERVICE
In this type of service, the guest enters in the dinning area, selects his own tray or from the food counter and carries food by himself to his seating place. Cafeteria Service: This service exists normally in industrial canteens, colleges, hospitals or hotel cafeterias. To facilitate quick service, the menu is fixed and is displayed on large boards. The guest may have to buy coupons in advance, present them to the counter waiter who then serves the desired item. Sometimes food is displayed behind the counter and the guests may indicate their choice to the counter attendant. The food is served pre-plated and the cutlery is handed directly to the guest. Guests may then sit at tables and chairs provided by the establishment. Sometimes high tables are provided where guests can stand and eat.
D. SINGLE POINT SERVICE
In this category, the guest orders, pay for his orders and get served at single point. There may be may not be any dinning area or seat-outs. The different types are:
Take Away: Customer orders and is served from single point, at counter, hatch or snack stand; customer consumes off the premises.
Vending: Provision of food service and beverage service by means of automatic retailing.
Kiosks: Outstation to provide service for peak demand or in specific location (may be open for customers to order or used for dispensing only)
Food Court: series of autonomous counters where customers may either order and eat or buy from a number of counters and eat in separate eating area, or take-away.
E. SPECIALISED SERVICE
In this category the guest is served at he place, which is not meant or designated for food & beverage service (i.e. guest rooms or any special area).
Grill Room Service: In this form of service various meats are grilled in front of the guest. The meats may be displayed behind a glass partition or well decorated counter so that the guest can select his exact cut of meat. The food comes pre-plated.
Tray service: Method of service of whole or part of meal on tray to customer in situ, e.g. hospitals aircraft or railway catering.
Trolley service: Method of service of food and beverages form trolley, away from dining areas, e.g. for office workers, in aircraft or on trains.
Home- Delivery: Food delivered to customer’s home or place of work, e.g. Pizza home delivery or Meal on wheels etc.
Lounge Service: Service of variety of foods and beverages in lounge area.
Room Service: It implies serving of food and beverage in guest rooms of hotels. Small orders are served in trays. Major means are taken to the room on trolleys. The guest places his order with the room service order taker. The waiter receives the order and transmits the same to the kitchen. In the meanwhile he prepares his tray or trolley. He then goes to the cashier to have a cheque prepared to take along with the food order for the guests’ signature or payment. Usually clearance of soiled dishes from the room is done after half an hour or an hour. However, the guest can telephone Room Service for the clearance as and when he has finished with the meal. There are two types of Room Service:
Centralized room service: Here al the food orders are processed from the main kitchen and sent to the rooms by a common team of waiters.
Decentralized room service: Each floor or a set of floor may have separate pantries to service them. Orders are taken at a central point by order-takers who in turn convey the order to the respective pantry.