Types of service

American service

Food is plated in the kitchen and then served to seated guests.


Guests help themselves from large displays of food.

Butlered service

Servers mingle, offering trays of hors d'oeuvres or drinks.

English service

Servers carve and plate main courses away from the table; vegetables and side dishes are placed on a self-serve banquet table.

Family style

Guests help themselves to large servings of food placed on the table.

Food stations

Different types of cuisines are divided into several themed locations (i.e., sushi, crepes, tapas) in a reception area; promotes mingling.

French service

A waiter serves each guest individually from a tray held by another waiter; special equipment such as a gueridon (wheeled cart) and rechaud (heating unit) is sometimes used.

Russian service

Similar to French service, but waiters hold trays of food in one hand and serve guests with the other.

Viennese table

A buffet of baked desserts like napoleons, petit fours, and tarts.

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