Tips for Serving Large Groups

Being a server in a restaurant is more than just having a sociable personality, knowledge of food-related issues, and a professional attitude because you also need to have the skill of serving people as quickly as possible. This is very challenging for servers especially when they need to serve large groups of people. These can be a 20-person extended family, a 30-man soccer team, or 10 co-workers who happen to walk through the doors of the restaurant you’re working in.

If you’re a new server or it’s your first time to deal with large groups, you need to develop a strategy that would help you reduce the time you spend on serving them. With that, we are here to give you some tips for serving large groups.

For Restaurant Owners

Before we talk about the skills needed to develop by the servers, there are two things that restaurant owners should consider first to be able to provide the best dining experience for large groups. Those are spacing and serving.

  • Spacing: Restaurant owners or managers should designate an open space and a larger table in the restaurant where the staff can seat large groups. This way, people in large groups will be able to be seated immediately and this will also ensure that there would be no overcrowding in one area of the restaurant.
  • Serving: Another thing that restaurant owners or managers should consider is who will be responsible for serving large groups that will dine in the restaurant. Since you will be dealing with lots of customers, you should consider putting your strongest servers on tables where a large group of diners is seated. But you can also add additional wait staff for these tables as well.

Aside from the servers, you should also consider giving large groups limited menu options. It’s because selecting a few standard items to groups will be able to simplify the process of taking orders and preparing meals. It will enable your kitchen to produce a high quantity of a few selected meals, compared to preparing a number of separate dishes at once.

For Servers

If you’re a new server in a big restaurant and you’re not yet used to serving large groups, your manager might not put you at that task for now, however, you also need to learn the skills for that so when the time comes that you will be handling that side of the restaurant, you will come prepared. To help you out, here are some tips for you to develop your skills in serving large groups.

1. Memorize the menu

To be able to serve large groups quickly, it’s better if you can memorize the menu. Be familiar with the options that your customers have when ordering food. This can also be helpful in times when customers would ask for your opinion about what foods are best to have. If you have no idea about the menu, then it will be difficult for you to give recommendations and it may take a lot of time for them to decide.

2. Write orders down

Good servers are known to have the ability to memorize orders. But when you’re dealing with large groups, it can be challenging, therefore, writing the orders down is great and it will help you avoid forgetting their orders which can prolong the serving time. Also, when the customers see that you’re writing their orders, it ensures them that you will remember everything they want.

3. Be familiar with the wine list

If the restaurant is serving wine or other beverages, knowing the lit is important as well especially when serving large groups. Make sure that you know which wines are available to avoid wasting time on checking each wine that the customers will order. It’s also important that you know how to pronounce the name of each wine clearly for the customers to consider you professional.

4. Suggest to serve them a pitcher or bottle of drinks

For large groups, you should suggest having a bottle for each table instead of serving individual glasses of drinks. This way, you will not have to go to every table and pour a drink. However, this may decrease the bill but it will allow you to serve more people quickly.

5. Clear plates and empty bottles quickly

As soon as diners finish eating and drinking, you can clear the tables so that the crowd will engage in other activities. This will also give your customers more room and a cleaner place to socialize with one another. But remember that when you do this, you should be careful and make sure that you will not disturb them.

6. Take your time

There is indeed a greater pressure when serving large groups in a restaurant. But remember that you do not have to do things in a rush. If you’re still new to it, it’s better that you take your time. Also, if you appear to be in a hurry, your customers might feel uneasy with your service, and it will also give you more possibility of messing things up such as dropping things and bumping into people.

It’s indeed challenging to serve large groups of people at first but when you get used to it, you will be able to do it as quickly as possible without feeling any pressure. We hope the tips we shared will help you develop your skills in serving large groups.