How to serve afternoon tea efficiently?

Joined Feb 26, 2018

I'm pastry chef, but serving afternoon tea is quite different to decorate desserts and cakes, then I move thrm to display fridge.

Can somebody here with catering experience/ chefs experience to share how to improve on the flow of service during busy time? We often get 40-70people coming in on the weekend between 2-4pm, and my team is only myself and one guy (with no chef experience)

I have a function for 60 people in April, and I know I can be prepared, but I can't help myself to be nervous on how to make the service flow smoother, keep the foods at its best.

Please shed some light, Any idea will be great.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
Need a bit more to go on.
Is this a formal white glove tea room service or a cafe that happens to serve tea during the afternoon?
There are numerous books and magazines dedicated to the subject.
If you have never done so treat yourself and a few friends to the experience.
Almost as good as a spa day lol.

Joined Jun 27, 2012
I missed the part about having an event for 60 on the books.
How formal does the client want to go?

Joined Oct 1, 2006
Greetings Colletoliu,

flipflopgirl nailed it. "Need a bit more to go on."

Easiest solution, get another person to help with serving or cleaning. Four hours should do it. Your "guy" may not be a chef but still knows your operation.

I guess you have a pastry shop or bakery that also serves "some?" food items or sandwiches.

As far as flow, mentally follow your steps from prep to service of everything you serve so that you don't double back and waste time and steps. Like taking a clean plate from back of house, out front to the display case, select item and then go back to kitchen for the whipped cream/garnish. For this example, only display one of each item in the case out front and have the rest in back for service. Have items where they are needed. Loads of possibilities but I'm not really sure what you think is impeding the flow... The flow issue isn't a narrow aisle in your shop is it?

I further guess you have normal walk-in business the day of the party of 60. When you have a large function and not enough staff, limit the choices on your normal menu. Market it as a "Special" menu for your birthday, your cats birthday, Christmas in April, Support Vets menu, etc. It doesn't matter... Anything to expedite service, cut down on normal prep work. Don't serve things needing assembly like a sandwich. Make a big pot of Chili, Stew, Veggie Lasagna, Beans and rice, or something that only needs portioning and serving. *Helpful if "Special menu" item or items are not on your normal menu.

Is the big party a buffet?

Best I can do.

Good luck!
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
What is your afternoon tea format?

If you're serving stuff on the usual three-tier stand thing, then it's just a matter of putting items on the plates and sending them out. Everything is done ahead of time, so 2 people is definitely enough to do the plating.

What are you having difficulty with exactly?
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