Food service becomes a meticulous task at different levels within the restaurant industry, banquet service remains amongst the highest of levels. Banquets occurring at four or five star hotels usually involve serving those who have attained elite status in society or those who have acquired a substantial amount of wealth. Using precise steps in the sequence of service along with time management has become essential in the process of professional banquet service.
Serving equipment that banquet servers have in their possession include a pen and writing pad used for taking down special orders or requests. Also a wine bottle opener, matches, and a crumber, a piece of metal four inches in length, bent into a half cylinder, used for brushing crumbs off of a table. .
Prior to a banquet, all tables in the room have been set up the night or day before by the set up team. Forty five minutes prior to service, the server begins by placing butter chips, butter formed in a circular shape, on four inch plates located above the base plates. Servers then begin filling bread baskets with an assortment of bread and placing it upon their side station. Side stations consists of the server placing two, three foot oval trays on tray stands. In addition to bread baskets, side stations also contain folded napkins, twelve inch, silver serving trays, metal tongs and extra silverware. Lastly, the server begins to light the candle centerpieces and then opens several bottles of wine and water.
As guests begin to enter the ballroom, the server remains standing behind the table facing the guests as they enter. Greeting the guests with a smile and either a good evening madam or sir establishes a formal atmosphere for the server during the rest of the banquet. While pulling out chairs for the guests, the server also begins placing the napkins upon their laps. Service can only be stopped if requested by a party during a speech, toast, or ceremony, in which the server will stand off to the side.