5 Types of Service in the restaurant

5 Types of Service in the restaurant
5 Types of Service in the restaurant
5 Types of Service in the restaurant

5 Types of Service in the restaurant
Take a look at these popular service types, along with their pros and cons.

Module 7: Service, Service, Service

Understanding these 5 different types of service, their individual benefits and challenges helps decide which one to use for your restaurant.

1. Waiter service
More commonly known as sit-down service, a waiter takes care of everything from taking orders to serving food and payment.

Service is more personalised as diners are served directly.

Special requests can be more easily accommodated compared to other services.


Requires skilled service staff because the waiter has to remember orders, service protocols and serve promptly.

More prone to mistakes as miscommunication with the kitchen can lead to wrong orders being served to guests.

2. Chinese banquet service
Another form of waiter service where each waiter takes care of a table or group of tables with 10-12 guests. Dishes are usually communal and shared.


Guests feel more relaxed because of the communal sharing dishes.

Food served is usually pre-ordered so the waiters don’t have to worry about taking orders.


Requires a big number of skilled staff because different tables have to be served at the same time.

Coordination with the kitchen is key as all the food has to be served fresh at the same time.

3. Buffet service
In a buffet service, guests can choose their food from a wider selection made available on the buffet line. There are 4 common types of buffet service:

Simple Buffet – Guests get food from a buffet line and waiters move around to clear tables and help guests with minor requests.

Station-type buffet – Waiters serve the beverages while guests get the other dishes from the buffet line.

Modified deluxe buffet – Tables are set with cutlery; waiters serve the beverages, coffee and dessert while guests get the other dishes from the buffet line.

Deluxe buffet – Waiters serve appetisers, soup and/or salads and beverages. Guests take the other dishes from the buffet line.


Buffet tables are easy to prepare.

Waiters focus only on serving a few dishes and clearing tables.


Last minute special requests can be challenging because of time and resource constraints.

This service can make diners feel alienated as waiters only clear plates and have little interactions with them.

4. Self-service
Diners place, pay and pick up their orders at a counter similar to fast casual and fast food establishments.


Waiters only need to stay behind the station counter to take orders.

Waiters do not have to go around the restaurant as food is self-serviced.


Diners expect quick service so food must either be prepared promptly or pre-prepared.

Rush hours can be tiring and stressful because there may be queues.

5. Semi-self service
Similar to self-service, diners order and pay for their orders at the counter but their food is served to them when ready.


Waiters only need to stay at the counter to take orders and receive payment.

Services have an easier time delivering orders because diners are identified via a number system.


Food has to be prepared promptly as quick service is expected.

Rush hours can be tiring and even more challenging when a long line forms and guests expect quick service.

Finding the right service for your restaurant

With all the different types of service available, finding the right one for your restaurant can create a more enjoyable experience for your diners. Here are 4 common types of restaurants and the types of matching services:

High-end restaurant – Waiter service

Casual dining restaurant – Waiter service/semi-self service/self-service

Fast food – Self-service/semi-self service

Café – Self-service