Lesson 5
Serving Food
The Experience and Service
crucial links between the establishment’s products, its
services and its customers
Lesson 5: Serving Food
Lesson Overview
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5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
Introduction
Food service in bars
Food menus
Standardized recipes for food
Customer satisfaction
Food service procedures
Conclusion
References
Lesson 5: Serving Food
Aims and Learning Outcomes of the Lesson
On completion of this lesson the learner will be expected to be able to;
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Respond to consumer decision making in relation to the food
experience
Identify the significant factors involved in the configuration,
presentation and description of food menus, menu items and
accompaniments
Demonstrate a knowledge of food costing and the benefits of using
standardized recipes
Explain the importance of customer satisfaction
Apply cover settings, service sequences, plate and service tray
carrying and clearing techniques to suit the menu type offered
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.1 Introduction
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Large numbers of consumers are choosing the bar for their food experience in the morning,
lunchtime, evening and weekend periods.
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Creating a good food experience in your bar can be very challenging because of the high emotional value which
consumers attribute to their food.
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This experience also contains both tangible and intangible elements that are not always easy to
define.
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We can however state that the food experience definitely starts with the feelings of the customer (individually or the
group) from the moment they arrive outside your establishment until they leave.
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In the bar and restaurant ‘service’ can be used to describe all phases that make a customer’s visit
memorable.
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Service does not only consist of presenting customer’s with food and beverages but includes an entire series of
procedures that must be performed before they arrive and after they have left the premises.
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These procedures and your staff are the crucial link between the establishment its products and
services and your customers.
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The technical knowledge, product knowledge, interpersonal and specialized skills involved in food and beverage
service procedures are crucial to achieving customer satisfaction and maintaining a sustainable business.
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The storage, preparation and service of food and beverages in the bar and food service areas
involves understanding how to source, maintain and operate various pieces of small and large food
and beverage equipment
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This is crucial to the practice of good service and to delivering food and drink products to the highest standards in
the bar.
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This equipment can differ depending on the food and drinks to be prepared and served
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The equipment can also depend on the particular type of bar and dining areas involved for example if the bar and
food service areas are located within a hotel, restaurant, cruise liner, night club or cinema.
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.2 Food Service in Bars
Food is now a crucial component of the bar business and the majority of bars are now offering a widening choice in
their food products.
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These major increases in food sales in bars have brought about a demand for quality meals, snacks and menus
which are professionally configured, prepared and served with attractive prices.
Consumers choose to have their food experience in bars for a number of reasons which include;
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Social: events like birthdays, special anniversaries, festive occasions. Bars can offer different styles of dining, pre
theatre, cabaret menus, and Sunday specials.
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Business: the image and expectation of the bars food offerings depends on level of business style lunches
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Convenience, time, location and access: location, speed of service, order and delivery services, flexible food
offerings, consider how your bar can develop its services and access, car parks, public transport, passing trade,
good foot flow.
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Atmosphere and service: the atmosphere, cleanliness, hygiene and social skills of your staff members
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Price and perceived value for money: affects choice, if your customers consider that your food is cheaper, more
tasty and served with great quality then they are less likely to want to cook regularly.
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The menu: adventurous and interesting, create different food experiences (i.e. tasting menus, food and beer or wine
pairings), include health choices, vegetarian choices and a good variety of ethnic choices on your menu options to
cover recent emerging trends in consumer choices.
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Quality of the food and beverages: freshly prepared, homemade, consistency.
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Sensory experiences: range of tastes, textures, aromas and colours offered by a food dish or drink.
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Presentation and recommendation of the food and beverages: the visual presentation and knowledgeable
recommendations in relation to menu choices are significant.
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Expectation and identification: ability to identify and associate with a particular bar and restaurant for their needs
and expectations, may vary from one food experience to the next
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Interior, exterior design: play the role of your customer taste your food and drinks, listen to the music and every
aspect of the experience in your bar
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Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.3
Food menus
Menu Configuration
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The menu is the single most important element of your food offering,
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It is the first contact that your customers have with your food,
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It is a major sales tool for your business, and it must therefore receive careful consideration.
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It’s primary goal is to encourage your customers to purchase your food,
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Before you plan and print your bar’s food menu you must take into account your bar’s marketplace consider in
relation its location (rural, urban, small village), local clientele (students, mixed, business type, family orientated),
foot flow and access by transport, trading hours in relation to the other local businesses.
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The size and atmosphere of your dining areas and the storage and preparation areas for your products must also be
considered. Your staff member’s skills and knowledge, your furnishings and your ability to secure good quality
products for sale will also form a significant part of your menus configuration.
Menu design
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your food groupings should be clearly separate and the overall menu design should be pleasing
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the food groupings should reflect the bar’s character (i.e. Tex Mex, traditional, old world charm, rustic)
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cold and warm dishes should be presented separately
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light dishes should be proposed first, followed by the more substantial items on the menu.
Rules of menu design, (scientific tools: food matrix) (Further information Chapter 5 – pp. 75-78)
Gold and Stars: premier items of the menu that have a high gross profit and are very popular. The more you can
influence the consumer towards these items, the more profitable you operation will be,
Silver and Plow or Work Horses: good volume sales, but generate little profit compared to the gold items
Bronze and Puzzles or Challenges: most misunderstood items on the menu. They manage to make above average
contribution margins, but are weak in demand.
DQ and Dogs: low in popularity and low in contribution margin.
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.3
Food menus
(continued)
Types of foodservice operations in pubs
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Pubs and bar establishments offer numerous types of food experiences which range from hot and
cold snacks to fine dining.
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Type of food your pub or bar offers will be based on the needs of your customers
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Know your customers, their wants, whom they will be dining with, the time period they have
allocated, their budget, the occasion and their tastes and preferences
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Answers to these questions help you plan your food menus (see also Chapter 5 – p. 79 ‘Style of food
operation and food offered table)
Types of food menus
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The two types of food menus: the table d’hôte; and the a-la-carte. From these two types of menus
there are in practice many adaptations of each.
Describing food menu items
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In the majority of countries to mislead consumers with false descriptions of food especially on
menus, internal or external advertising boards or electronic signage can carry a fine, caution and
possible sanctions. You must therefore be careful with
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descriptions like (fresh, homemade, mentions of weights, mentions of suitability for tolerances or for
example vegetarians).
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.3 Food menus
(continued)
Menu Presentation criteria
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menus must be attractive, clean and neat, without handwritten corrections (durable covers and inviting encouraging
you to read)
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menu items should be correctly spelled, written in different languages (if possible)
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oversized menus annoy the guests and cause problems for the bar
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if the menu is short, the size of the type should be large. Avoid small type or writing and too many different fonts or
styles
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one menu should be provided for each guest
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specialities should be highlighted, with bold or colourful print or coloured pointers (i.e. signature dishes)
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daily specials and meals that are part of the regular menu should be identified and easily exchangeable
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prices placed directly next to or under the text are most visible, make sure they are competitive and that you have
adopted pricing strategies for your food options
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numbering dishes makes ordering and tabulation easier. Numbering is essential when an electronic data system is
used.
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the nutritional and caloric values of low-calorie dishes should be stated and the menu should also reflect trends in
eating habits and dietary requirements
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dishes that may take more time to prepare should be noted on the menu. Large meat portions to be served to more
than one person should list the minimum number to be served
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be sure that the menu language is in keeping with the bar; try to keep your customers comfortable when they are
making their menu selections, make sure your descriptions of the dishes are appealing
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variety and freshness are crucial, keep a health sales mix of products to suit your various customers
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remember to liven up your menu (customers get bored, you must introduce new options to keep the menu fresh and
vibrant).
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.4
Standardized recipes for food
Using standardized food recipes provides many benefits to
bars engaged in foodservice operations, these benefits include;
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Consistent food quality
Customer satisfaction
Consistent nutrient content
Food cost control
Efficient purchasing procedures
Inventory control
Labor cost control
Increased employee confidence
Reduced record keeping
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.5
Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction and the quality of food service
The distinction between customer satisfaction and quality of food service is a very important one. The level of customer
satisfaction is the result of a customer’s comparison of expected quality of the food service with the one they actually
perceived.
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BELIEVE (acronym): business tool to assist you in this on-going work (chapter 5 - pp. 80-81)
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Expectations: expectation levels are rising, increased demand on food servers to perform in terms of customer satisfying behaviour, each
staff
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members point of view, the difference is you, need to commit yourself to providing highest level of service
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The hidden differences: personality, food service staff two categories – those who are concerned with customer satisfaction and those
who are not.
Seeing the customers point of view:
Imagine putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your customers want to feel that they matter and that they will enjoy the experience of contact
with your bar. Tables 5.1 / 5.2 – for discussion and adoption (chapter 5 – pp. 82-83).
Customer Complaints:
No matter how hard we work, things can go occasionally wrong, for example the food gets burned, orders are forgotten, or new staff members
neglect to practice their skills and knowledge from their training. How you handle customer complaints will determine if the customer
comes back to your bar, restaurant. Ensure that you;
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Listen: listen to what the customer has to say.
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Body language, posture: the way your staff members stand and look at a customer can speak more than words.
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Apologize: offer an apology, ‘I understand that you are not happy about whatever the complaint was about sir/madam, but we are working
hard to sort this out immediately.
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Complimentary offer, compensation:- if a customer has problem that could have been prevented, such as an overcooked fish or an
ignorant staff member, then the best route to take is to apologize and an offer them some sort of compensation.
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Occasionally you will have a truly angry customer, calmly assure the customer you understand their frustration, and offer an apology once
their anger has cooled
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.6 Food service procedures
Place settings: Always base your decision in relation to place settings on how many courses are being served. In
general, at a formal dinner, all cutlery will be placed at the sides unless the space is limited.
Formal and informal place settings: always laid to suit the type and style of menu
offered and the estimated number of guests attending each sitting.
Positioning and placement of the cutlery and crockery: Your bread plate and butter knife are located on your left,
and your glasses are on your right. To assist you in setting up basic settings is that drinks (wine, water, soft drinks, beer)
are placed to the right, foods on the left and main course in the centre (see figures 5.1 / 5.2 – pp. 85-86).
Place setting – Lunch and Brunch setting.
Place setting – Breakfast setting
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.6 Food service procedures
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(continued)
Formal business function table setting – five course meal: The crockery and cutlery laid out below illustrate the
different utensils and their placement. Note that the napkin could be placed to the left or in the centre of the dinner
plate. In this case, the napkin will be placed on the dinner plate.
The easiest way to assist a guest in determining which items to use is to start with the knife, fork, or spoon that is the
farthest from their plate and tell them to work their way inwards using one utensil for each course. If you tell to
remember the rule to work from the outside in, them they will be fine. Also as the meal progresses, the used silverware
for each will be removed as that course is finished.
Even though all these crockery and cutlery items may seem confusing, they are a crucial component of the food
experience as the meal progresses the used silverware is normally removed, making the identification of the remaining
items a lot easier for the guest.
Place setting – Formal Dinner
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.6 Food service procedures
(continued)
Food service – sequence of service: (chapter 5 – p. 87 for discussion)
Carrying and clearing plates: Food should always be served to the left of the guest and drinks to the right of the guest.
(chapter 5 – p. 88 for discussion)
Two and three plate carrying technique.
Knife and fork positioning for clearance.
Lesson 5: Serving Food
5.6 Food service procedures
(continued)
Carrying a service tray
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One hand underneath (depends on load), both hands would be more stable, especially for variety of
food and beverage items. Best practice procedures (chapter 5 – p. 89).
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Further best practice advice and safety procedures: most countries have developed specific safety
guidelines in relation to this area (see also ‘Young Worker Safety in Restaurants’: Chapter 7 – p. 118)
Glass carrying.
Carrying a drinks service tray.
Lesson 5: Serving Food
Conclusion
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In the past food in the bar was designed to be simple and salty to keep customers drinking, these times have changed and the food produced
and served in bars is top quality.
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Bar owners have invested a lot of money, training and research into their food offerings and they now offer quality meals, well thought out
menus and attractive prices.
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Consumers however still enjoy the traditional bar selling fantastic homemade food or for the young and lively contemporary twists on classic
dishes.
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Modern food trends which include food sharing and grazing have lead bars to offer small taster or sharing plates at reasonable price which have
become really popular.
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Consumers are always looking for value for money, even in gastro pubs, restaurant quality food at below restaurant prices.
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Bars must keep a tight control on costs, portions and profit margins, be careful not to over complicate your menu offering, keep it simple, local
and fresh.
Sometimes when things go wrong with your food offering customers complain always try to see their point of view, act quickly.
The golden rule is to ‘never lose a customer’ because dissatisfied customers tell their friends and family and their lifetime value to your business
must never be underestimated.
Staff members must master the best practice procedures and maintenance of all food and beverage equipment and understand their
importance to effective food and beverage service for customers
The variety and functionality of this equipment depends on the products sold and can differ from bar to bar
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In every bar and restaurant when your customers are enjoying the pleasures of the bar and dinner table they must encounter
servers with the appropriate food and beverage knowledge and specialised skills to deliver high standards of service.
Your servers must also have the ability to carry out their performance with discretion and competence having carefully practised
and studied each detail involved in the service.
They must be also capable of helping customers to fully grasp the sense and taste of the unique moment they’re experiencing in
your establishment.
Lesson 5: Serving Food
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References
Agar Hotel Shop. (2012) available http://agarwalhotelshopee.com/crockery.html#crockery
[accessed 12/3/12].
Cousins, J. and Lillicrap, D. (2010) Essential Food and Beverage Service, London: Hodder
Education.
Kasavana, M and Smith, D, J. (1982)A Practical Guide to Menu Engineering, US.
Newall, M.(1965) Mood and Atmosphere in Restaurants, Barrie & Rockliff: London.
Murphy, J. (2009) ‘Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the Licensed Trade Industry’,
Licensing World, March Issue, Jemma Publications Ltd: Dublin.
Murphy, J. (2013) Principles and Practices of Bar and Beverage Management, Goodfellow
Publishing Ltd, Oxford: England.
Murphy, J. (2013) Principles and Practices of Bar and Beverage Management – The Drinks
Handbook, Goodfellow Publishing Ltd, Oxford: England.
Web resources
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http://www.kendallhunt.com/uploadedFiles/Kendall_Hunt/Content/Higher_Education/Uploads/McVety_Ch7_4e.pdf Calculating food
costs.
http://www.kn-eat.org/SNP/SNP_Docs/SNP_Guidance/Menu_Planning_Guidance/Menu_Plan_FB_Ch6.pdf Food production records.
http://www.wellington.govt.nz/services/foodsafety/pdfs/safe-food.pdf Selling safe food.
http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/hospJobDict2Restaurants.pdf Analysis of regular tasks and body movements in the
bar, restaurant and hospitality industry.
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/youth/restaurant/strains_serving.html United States Department of Labor – Occupational Health and
Safety ‘Young Worker Safety in restaurants’.
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Lesson 5 Food and Beverage Equipment