5 Types of Table Setup in Restaurant everyone should know

Whether you are hosting a formal wedding reception or an informal birthday party for kids, the table setting is as crucial as the décor of your restaurant. As a responsible manager or restaurant owner, you must know the proper types of table setup etiquette for every occasion. Having a sound knowledge of the perfect table setting will save you from embarrassing situations for your customers and guests. Read on to find out how to set up restaurant tables for different occasions effortlessly.

What are the Types of Table Setup in Restaurant?

Table set up in a restaurant is the placement of plates, centerpieces, mats, cutlery, glasses, napkins, etc. for your guests. Let’s take a look at the different types of table setups for a restaurant:

  1. Formal Table Setting

This type of table setting is the preferred choice for weddings, fine-dine re00staurants, and corporate parties, etc. The formal table setting is the most symmetrical and well-balanced and requires the maximum number of utensils.

  • The centerpiece goes in the middle of the table.
  • Each of the table mats lies near the edge paralleled and in a straight line. The formal table set up uses a charger and service plate to serve the salad course, soup course, etc.
  • Folded napkin in a triangular or square pattern along with the menu card goes on the top of the charger before serving the meals.
  • Starting from the edge of the table, keep the salad fork, fish fork, and dinner fork on the left side of the charger.
  • Similarly, on the right side of the charger, place the soup spoon, salad knife, and dinner knife starting from the outer edge of the table.
  • Other utensils like butter knife and plate, dessert spoon and fork, glasses, etc. go on the top of the charger.
  1. Casual Table Setting

An informal or casual table set up fits perfectly for dinner parties, casual weddings, and family occasions. These types of table setup require fewer utensils and give you more flexibility in arranging them on the table.

  • Although the charger is optional, you provide the service plate for serving the salad course, soup course, etc.
  • Just like the formal setting, a napkin goes on the top of the service plate along with the menu card.
  • On the left side of the service plate, keep the salad fork at the outer edge and dinner fork on the immediate left of the service plate.
  • Put the soup spoon, salad knife, and dinner knife starting from the outer edge of the table on the right side of the service plate.
  • Dessert teaspoon, water, and wine glasses go at the top of the service plate.


  1. Buffet Table Setting

Whether you are serving your guests or it is a buffet dinner, buffet table set up is perfect for customers who like to get the food on their own. The customer’s table includes just the essential utensils as spoons, forks; plates, etc. are stacked at the end of the buffet table line.

  • As the guests pick up the plates and food from the buffet table, there is no charger or service plate on their table.
  • In the center of the table, place the folded napkin and menu or name card on the plate. Alternatively, you can stack the napkins on the buffet table as well.
  • Starting from the outer edge, place the salad fork first, and then the dinner fork on the left of the plate.
  • Similarly, keep the dinner knife on the immediate right of the plate, followed by the soup spoon.
  • Water and wine glasses go at the top of the plate.
  1. Breakfast Table Setting

A breakfast table set up offers a convenient and functional way of arranging basic utensils on the table. Although the types of table setup need not look lavish or expensive, you can arrange the basic, minimum utensils on the customer’s table.

  • Place the plate at the center along with the fork and napkin to its left.
  • Keep the other types of silverware like the butter-knife or spoon on the right side of the plate.
  • Put the glasses for juice, water, and bowls for cereals on the top of the plate.


  1. Pizzeria Table Setting

One of the favorites for many people across the globe, a pizzeria table consists of the most basic restaurant table setup serving the guests. The most popular set up consists of one piece each of plate, knife, fork, spoon, glass, and napkin.

  • Put the fork on the left of the diner’s plate with a napkin underneath it.
  • Place the knife and spoon on the right side of the plate.
  • Glass goes on the upper right corner of the plate above the knife.

What is the Table Setting Etiquette?

Understanding the basic dining etiquette for setting up a restaurant table can help your business grow substantially. Irrespective of the type of table set up, here are the most elementary guidelines for how to set up tables.

  • Arrange the utensils in the order your guests will use them. For example, since you will serve the salad first, place the salad fork at the outer edge before the dinner fork.
  • Keep the forks on the left side.
  • Except for the butter knife that goes on the top of the plate, place all knives on the right side with their cutting blade facing the plate.
  • The spoons should always be placed on the right hand side of the plate.
  • Line up all the utensils from their bottom end and maintain a gap of at least one inch between them.
  • Select the proper, suitable table sets and utensils. Keep only the utensils that go with the dishes that you will be serving. For example, if there is no salad, don’t put the salad fork on the table.

Select the Proper and Suitable Table Sets

While the points above highlight the importance of table settings according to the occasion, you must not underestimate the selection of suitable types of table setup for your restaurant. Table sets that match with your restaurant design are crucial in providing the best dining experience to your guests. Well-selected table sets not only enhance your restaurant layout, but they also set the tone for a memorable time during their stay. Depending on the theme you wish to create in your restaurant, you can choose from several table sets in vintage, modern, retro, or industrial design styles. Moreover, you get plenty of style, finish, color, and shape options in table sets made from materials like wood, plastic, or metal.

Pay Close Attention to the Table Setup as per the Occasion

As you might have understood by now, the bottom line of the table setup is to arrange the various items. These items include silverware and other things on the table according to the occasion. Paying close attention towards restaurant’s table set up and the type of occasion, you can get an advantage over competitors. It not only boosts your confidence but also makes a good first impression for your guests. Properly set tables complement the restaurants design, its ambiance and make it visually appealing for your guest. Hopefully, by taking note of the points mentioned above, you will be able to provide the best dining experience to your guests for a profitable business.

Settings according to Restaurant Type

Apart from setting tables according to the occasion, must ensure the type of restaurant too for the appropriate décor. As restaurants have their separate sets of target customers, ambiance, working atmosphere, etc., their tables must reflect that as well. Let’s quickly take a look into the traits of some of the most common restaurant types

  • Fast Food Restaurants: Since fast food restaurants are ideal for quick meals or takeaways, you don’t need to set the tables at all. You can use paper bag or plastic trays to serve food with disposable cups and silverware. Laminated restaurant tables are ideal for such setting as they are easy to clean during rush hours and require minimum effort to maintain.
  • Casual Dining Restaurants: In casual dine-in restaurants and cafes, you usually serve food in disposable or easy to clean plates and baskets. In such setups, you can use casual silverware and paper napkins to set up your table with minimal effort. Padded tables made from laminate, resin, aluminum, etc. are affordable and yet give a premium look and feel to your customers. 

Fine Dining Restaurants

In formal dine-in restaurants like steak house, you have to ensure that the table is set up perfectly. This arrangement includes use of cloth napkins with high-quality silverware. Similarly, use nice plates with matching glassware for serving foods to your guests. In such restaurants you can opt for tables made from butcher block, granite, quartz, and many more. The tables with upholstered wood chairs that look elegant, reflect luxury, and offer maximum comfort can also be used.

Source of content: https://www.gotable.com/

Source of Image: Google

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