Preparing customer and dining areas

This Page explains:

Folding napkins
Menus and promotional items
Lay-ups for banquets and other special functions
Environmental systems

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Folding napkins

Make sure your hands and the surface you are using to fold the napkins are spotlessly clean before you start.

There are many different and attractive ways to fold napkins. Starched linen napkins give the widest scope. With paper napkins, choose folds that do not rely on a great deal of stiffness. Try out various folds to see what works and looks best for the table layout:

  • napkins add height and colour but a flat fold may look better when the table has candles, decorations, and glasses at each setting
  • the more complex the fold, the longer it takes to do
  • some customers do not like folds which involve a lot of handling to make, Why do you think this is?


Napkins can add interest and style to the presentation of food and drink items, e.g. a bread roll in a rose.


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Menus and promotional items

The purpose of Menus and other promotional material is to inform customers what is available and to encourage them to buy

They must be :

  • up-to-date - for the correct day and meal, promoting a future event or a special offer while it is valid
  • accurate - describing what is actually available and the price which will be charged
  • pleasing to look at and handle - no food or grease stains, clean and undamaged.

Why do you think menus should be checked prior to use?


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Lay-ups for banquets and other special functions

For banquets, lunches, weddings, cocktail parties, conferences, meetings and similar functions, the detailed arrangements will have usually all been agreed with the organisers in advance. These could include:

  • any special table decorations or settings that are required
  • any requirements for entertainment such as sound systems, stage or dance floor

· the food and drinks to be served - from this the table lay-up can be worked out

· how many cutomers and the table layout and plan

These details are written down on a f………….. s………. or in the bookings book.

See Function Sheet

For larger functions it is advisable to draw up an action plan deciding on which tasks need to be done first, what sequence to follow and which are best done in teams or such as laying large table cloths and setting up tables.

Position place settings carefully and symmetrically to create a good overall effect. When everything is on the table, stand at one end to check that the glasses, flowers, candles, napkins are. in a straight line. Chairs may have been moved adjusting the table settings so make sure the backs of chairs lined up straight.

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Environmental systems

Customers usually prefer a comfortable softly lit and well ventilated room. During mise en place it is advisable to have the room well lit the lighting will therefore need to be dimmed when the room is ready. Day-time and evening sessions will require a different procedure and could vary depending on the weather:

  • opening or closing doors and windows
  • turning on side lights, dimming main lights
  • adjusting temperature by thermostats for the central heating or air conditioning
  • turning on the music system and playing a suitable music.

What is suitable music?


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