Types of Service and Table Settings in Waiter and Waitress Training

Published on October 17, 2018

Every table service style is unique, from the English style to service à la russe. With training, you can master them all! Click To TweetThere are many different types of service and table settings when you working a restaurant and hospitality industry. It can get confusing to understand and execute the exact right table setting but there is no space to make mistakes here. Luckily, there is a handy guide we will provide you which you can memorise and practise that should save the day for even the most complex of setups, or most demanding of guests!

What are common types of table service in restaurants and hotels?

Although this can differ from place to place, the most common types of service are the following:

  • Informal silver service
  • Formal silver service
  • Russian service
  • English service
  • French service
  • American service

Especially if you want to be able to work in different types of restaurants, hotels, or yachts, it is vital to understand all these different types of service and the table setting that comes with it. In a restaurant you might get a private booking, a party or a wedding that requires a certain type of set up. And equally when working in hotels or yachts you need to be ready to provide exactly that type or service and table setting the guests are looking for.

What are common types of table setting in restaurants and hotels?

Informal Silver Service
At informal settings, fewer utensils and crockery will appear on the table.  As a general rule, informal settings will be dictated by the principal or manager and will be adjusted depending on the type of meal being served.  Informal settings will be used in high street restaurants and private, informal settings within the household.

Informal Silver Service Table Setting | Polo & Tweed










Formal Silver Service
Accuracy and precision become paramount in setting the table for formal and 5* settings. This silver service table setting is based on the informal setting, but is expanded and developed.  It’s used for multiple courses both in private homes and restaurants.

Formal Silver Service Place Setting | Polo & Tweed

Russian Service
Service à la russe (French: “service in the Russian style”) is a manner of dining that involves courses being brought to the table sequentially. It contrasts with service à la française (“service in the French style”) in which all the food is brought out at once in an impressive display.

Russian Silver Service Place Setting | Polo & Tweed

English Service
English style service, or family service, is a great way of bringing everyone together.  It’s closely linked with Butler service.  It’s a fabulous choice for special events, or when your guests require a high level of interaction from the host.


English Silver Service Place Setting | Polo & Tweed

French Service
Service à la française (“service in the French style”) is when food is brought out at once in a big display.  It originates from the French court and for modern diners is an impressive event which makes them feel like they’ve been transported back in time to the French courts.  Formal dinners were served à la française from the Middle Ages until the 19th century.

French Silver Service Place Setting | Polo & Tweed

American Service
This style of silver service table setting is typically used in less formal events, such as when you want your cuisine catered, prepared and plated in the kitchen.  It is an efficient and simple choice.  Service is approached from the left and cleared from the right.  Functional and easy to manage, this is a technique which is used around the world.

American Silver Service Place Setting | Polo & Tweed

How does training help waiter and waitresses to master these skills?

Service is difficult, it is a real art and it requires a lot of focus, and mainly practise, to become familiar with all the different settings and ways of doing things. You really do not want to have to do this for the first time on your actual job, when your boss, manager or guest might be watching you! Silver Service training will go through all (and more!) of these service types and table settings, and will spend lots of time of you practising the different types of setup, and practising the actual service of food and drink. It simply is true that when you do something regularly, you will become better at it.

At Polo & Tweed we run regular small group Silver Service courses taught by the absolute best in the industry. You can find all the information on the courses here and we look forward to welcoming you on one of our courses soon and teaching you the art of all these wonderful different types of service!






  1. Nisar Masih says:

    I have gone through your website and I have learned a lot but there’s lot to learn more about the services of F&B!
    Thanks and best regards Nisar

    • mm LucyChallenger says:

      Hi Nisar, Thank you – we are pleased you’ve found our website and all the articles helpful! Yes it’s a big subject to learn, and we teach private and group classes to help individuals expand their knowledge. If you would like to join any of our in person training please don’t hesitate to get in touch! 🙂

  2. Rebecca Weadon says:

    Question rather a comment – When serving spaghetti, how is the table set considering a knife is not used to eat spaghetti?

    • Aafke Meelen says:

      Hello Rebecca,

      Great question! So when a spaghetti dish would be on the menu, a knife would still be placed in the table setting, but a soup spoon would be added too! Hope that helps 🙂

  3. Muhammad rizwan says:

    I want to learn about the different types of service – could you help?

  4. Deb Thomas says:

    I have two Silver plated items that look like Napkin Rings from 1890-1920 in an original fitted box that is monogrammed and labelled Servet. Can not find reference to Servet anywhere. Would that be the formal name for the more common “Napkin Ring”

    • Aafke Meelen says:

      Hello Deb,

      That sounds like an amazing item to have. It is most likely a set of napkin rings indeed. The word ‘servet’ comes from the French ‘serviette’ which indeed, means napkin. So it sounds like you have a great antique napkin ring set – something to be treasured!

  5. Silvia Joseph says:

    Well understood sir.

  6. Penny says:

    Nice post. Thanks.

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