Most restaurants have different managers for each section. There is a kitchen manager who is responsible for making sure guests get their food in a timely manner and there is a front of the house manager whose responsibility it is to make sure guests are seated and have good service. The equipment in the front of the house helps ensure that guests have good dining experiences so they will return or recommend the restaurant to friends.
Table Top Equipment
The front of the house equipment will differ depending on the type of restaurant you have and the food it serves. However, there is equipment that is similar no matter what type of restaurant you run. Probably the most important equipment and accessories is what the guests see when they sit down, which is what sits on the tables.
Whether you have a casual dining restaurant or something much more upscale, you will need to have salt and pepper shakers, napkin holders or rings, cruets, and decorations on each table. The decorations may be as simple as bud vases with single flowers or tea candles in silver holders. Whether simple or elaborate, anything sitting on a table should be easy to clean, kept stocked, and coordinated with table settings.
Table covers, napkins, and placemats, if they are used, should all coordinate as well. Each table should look the same so there is no variance and each guest feels as if he or she is getting the same service. The table linens should be kept clean and crisp for each guest so you should keep enough on hand to change out each table as needed every night.
The type of glassware and crockery chosen should also match the type of restaurant you’re running. A casual dining restaurant may use heavier stoneware pieces that are more durable and will last longer than the finer china used in elegant dining establishments. Fine china, silver cutlery, and crystal glassware are usually reserved for higher-end restaurants.
Food Presentation Equipment
If food is served tableside, then the wait staff will need to have platters, utensils, and serving dishes befitting the restaurant’s style. The platters and serving dishes will usually match the table crockery in colour and style. There should be several utensils available to servers so that if they drop one, they can simply get another and continue with their duties.
Water pitchers, coffee urns, coffeemakers, and tea sets may all be used in the front of the house to quickly provide guests with water, tea, or coffee while they read the menus, place their orders, and wait for their food. Everything used in the front of the house should be in ample supply so that each table is dressed and ready for the next guests.
The front of the house manager is responsible for inventorying and placing orders for anything needed to provide a great guest experience. Since guests usually only see the front of the house, its appearance will be the major factor in the success of your restaurant.