Types of Restaurant Services: Which Style Should You Use?

Types of Restaurant Services: Which Style Should You Use?

Find here all about the different types of restaurant services or service styles

Posted by Victor Delgadillo on October 4, 2021

You don't know what the different types of restaurant services are?

Not sure what type of service to choose for your food business?

There are several types of restaurant services that you can use in your restaurant, in addition to the most common style today - American style service.

In this article I will talk about:

  • The different types of services that exist
  • The advantages and disadvantages of each type of service
  • About other unusual types of service
  • And about how you can choose the best type of service for your restaurant

When you finish reading this article, you will have a complete understanding of the different service options you can choose from for your restaurant. In addition, you can also follow a simple guide on how to choose the best type for your food business.

Let's get started!

The Most Common Types of Restaurant Service Styles

Waiter serving food with the American style service

The most common types of restaurant service styles that exist are the same ones that have been used in the last hundred years.

Surprisingly, little has changed when it comes to running a restaurant and the various ways in which food is served to diners.

Of course, each type of service has advantages and disadvantages that you must take into account before applying them in your restaurant.

Next, I will tell you about the most used around the world.

American Style Service

waiter serving food

American-style service is the most common service style used nowadays all over the world. In this type of service, the food is plated in a specific and standardized way from the restaurant's kitchen.

Then, it is served by the waiters of the restaurant at the table, where the diner can enjoy it.

This is a simple and straightforward type of service.

It has many advantages. For example, it limits the amount of food used in serving because each plate is the same size.

In addition, you can reduce losses and food waste, and ease calculating portions, food costs, and the general administration of the kitchen.

Also, it reduces waiter errors, since they only bring the food to the table and attend to the specific needs of the diners.

Another advantage is that the customer simply receives the food, is not at risk of making mistakes, and fully enjoys the service offered by the restaurant.

The disadvantage of this type of service is that the role of the diner is not interactive, but is relegated to receiving the food and enjoying it - this makes the experience common and dull.


buffet with self-service

This type of service involves the diner serving their food from a table or counter with several options.

This type of service is used mostly in buffet restaurants.

The main advantage of this type of service is that it does not require as many personnel.

In addition, the customer may end up over serving, which is great for the restaurant's sales.

On the other hand, it is a risky type of service because it is not always possible to ensure that the food will be sold in its entirety - although this has more to do with the type of restaurant than the service.

Fast Food or Chain Restaurant Service

McDonald's drive thru

Fast food restaurant service minimizes the interaction between diners and waiters - the latter sometimes do not even exist in these types of restaurants.

This type of service begins when the customer shows up at a counter, orders the food, pays for the food, and then lines up to receive their food.

It is normally applied in chain restaurants or franchises such as KFC, Burger King, and McDonald's.

The main disadvantage of this type of service is that it is nothing special because it is not based on courtesy, but efficiency and speed. The faster the diner can sit down to eat or leave, the better.

This type of service also includes direct service in cars, popularized by McDonald's with their iconic drive-thru.

French-Style Service

Platter with roasted turkey

French-style service is one of the most interesting, classic types of restaurant services, but currently less used due to its complexity.

In this type of service, the waiter or server presents to the clients the different preparations displayed on a platter from which they can choose.

The diner must choose the most attractive foods and serve himself using a fork with the left hand, and a spoon with the right hand.

The cutlery used are not the same ones used by the diner but are specially used for food to be served.

This type of service has several disadvantages.

First of all, it requires a lot of staff for the service, as at least one server per customer at each table.

In addition, it is complex because the waiter must be attentive to the diners to know if they want more food, and bring the platter closer to them.

They can also increase restaurant losses and food waste - although this style of service is usually not accompanied by common cost-calculating techniques.

This style of service is more used in hotels and semi-private restaurants that have enough staff to offer it, in addition to working with limited clients under reservation.

English-Style Service

English-style service is quite similar to French-style service, but it changes one important detail - the waiter, in this case, is the one who serves the food.

This type of service has similar disadvantages to the French type of service, plus it is a bit more complex and has more specific rules.

For example, the dishes used by the diner must have a specific order and so must the cutlery.

In addition, waiters must be trained for this type of service, since they can make serious mistakes, such as misserving food, dirtying the table, dirtying the diner, and more.

This type of service also requires a lot of staff, so it is not as widely used - although it is more used than the French service.

Guéridon Service

Restaurant trolley cart or gueridon

The guéridon service is a type of service almost forgotten, characterized by the use of a cart called a guéridon (in French) where the food is presented to the diner.

The food is then served directly in front of the diner by a trained server or waiter who cuts the food, which is usually whole turkeys or roast.

This type of service has many disadvantages. It requires numerous trained servers, teamwork, and different tools to serve food.

In addition, like the English or French services, it requires numerous staff to repeat the process with the rest of the diners.

This type of service is hardly used anymore due to its complexity.

Other Types of Restaurant Service

There are many other types of services that are currently used in innovative restaurants around the world. Typically, these are types of service in experimental restaurants or fancy types of cuisine, such as molecular cuisine.

Cooking and Serving in Real-Time or Show Cooking

In this type of service, the chef works directly in front of the diners to prepare the dishes. It is a type of interactive service, where the chef speaks directly with the diners while preparing the food, while performing tricks, such as showing off his cooking skills.

It is a very interesting and attractive style of service. However, it requires special facilities, an open kitchen, and in addition, it carries many risks for the customer and the chef alike.

It is also a rather unrefined service.

Serving Food Directly on the Table

An interesting trend in restaurants of different types is to serve food directly on the table.

This is a very interesting experience that you will not be able to find or apply to any restaurant, since it is directly associated with the concept of the restaurant itself.

This style of service involves a great deal of special preparation, and of course, a few limitations.

For example, the table used for service must be constantly and thoroughly cleaned, and it must also be made of a special low-porous material - such as cutting boards and other restaurant equipment.

In addition, in this type of restaurant, some dishes simply cannot be served, such as creams or soups.

Still, it's a new style of service in the food industry.

How to Choose the Best Type of Service for Your Restaurant?

Choosing between the different types of restaurant service is quite straightforward.

Here are some simple things to consider when choosing the right type of service for your restaurant.

Consider the Concept of Your Restaurant

The concept of your restaurant is closely linked to all its details, which includes, of course, the service. Therefore, you should choose a type or style of service according to the rest of the concept and theme of your restaurant.

For example, it is not a good idea to choose English service for a fast food restaurant - it just doesn't make sense.

Therefore, the style of service of your restaurant must be designed to fit in with the rest of the restaurant.

Consider Your Clients

Considering your clients is very important to choose the right service.

For example, if your clients will be wealthy people who want a comfortable and personalized experience, it is a good idea to choose a type of service in which their participation is reduced to ordering the dishes and tasting them.

Also, you should choose a type of service that is refined.

Consider the Amount of Staff Required

If you want to start a restaurant that requires little staff, the best type of service you can use is self-service.

On the other hand, if hiring numerous restaurant staff is not a problem, then you can use any other type of service.

Consider the Complexity of the Service

A complex service involves much more work, preparation, and a large number of variables compared to a simple service.

If you want to offer a service that is easy to organize, prepare, and execute, it is best to stick with simple services, such as American-style service.

But if you want to offer a specialized and complex service that requires a certain level of education regarding etiquette from servers and diners alike, other types of services are the best option.

Many Types of Service, but the Winner Is…

The best type of service you can choose is American-style service. This type of service is the best simply because it is the most common today.

This can be very beneficial to integrate with the rest of the restaurants that the diners are used to.

On the other hand, using any other type of service can differentiate your restaurant from the competition, help you offer a unique experience to your diners, and easily highlight your restaurant.

Of course, you should consider the aspects mentioned above to make the right decision.

This decision can greatly affect your restaurant, so you should choose a service that is accepted by the majority of your guests.

Have you already chosen a type of service for your restaurant?

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