are the terms sweep service, hand service the same in profesional catering service

Joined Aug 18, 2007
I have read about these forms of service used at banquet functions on the net.  Yet, I would like to confirm whether they are exactly synonymous with one another.  They both seem to be synchronised forms of plated service. 

May I know what service staff to guest ratio is the norm when organising function catering service n these manners?

Thanks in advance for any answers with regards this query
Joined May 5, 2010
Sweep and Hand service refer to serving styles like Russian and French, but are usually used in more fine dining venues.

The service people bring the plated and domed food from the kitchen to the room and stand behind the seated guest.

A dining room manager signals and the food is placed in front of the guest and the dome removed.

This action is choreographed so that each server does the same move at the same time.

It is quite dramatic.

For this style of service the ratio is usually one server for every two guests.
Joined Oct 11, 2014
I believe the main way to call it IS sweep service however the difference is that "hand" service is what @Chefross  has stated above which is called a "timed hand sweep service" where there are 4-5 waiters for every table of 8-10 people (consisting of a lead waiter and a second lead or caboose) and is the most efficient and fastest way of serving large functions.

The other sweep service is when you have limited amount of waiters but need to get a plated service out so the waiters all take two to three plates out at a time and continue to all serve one table starting with the ladies first and finishing with the men at one table before they all go onto another. The do not wait to synchronize but literally "sweep" the entire table floor plan like a wave, starting one side with one table and moving across the room. This requires less waiters and is a wee bit more time consuming but efficient with limited numbers which could be a ratio of 1-2 waiters for every table in the function sort of thing.

HTH /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif  
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top Bottom