Unit 6 Reading Activity Plus Questions

Listen to the audio recording while you read the text below. Then answer the comprehension questions that follow the text.

Restaurant Staff Positions and Responsibilities

As with the hotel itself staff positions in the restaurant can vary greatly depending on the type of hotel. In general the restaurant staff can be placed into two main categories: food preparation and service staff and drinks preparation and service staff.

Food preparation staff are staff that usually stay in the kitchen and prepare and cook the food. They might occasionally come out into the public restaurant if a customer has asked to see the chef, this could be to compliment the food or complain about a problem with the food.

The drinks preparation and service staff are those staff that take orders from the guests and/or carry those orders to the table e.g. waiters/waitresses and bartenders. Alcoholic Drinks are usually prepared behind a drinks bar in the restaurant, while non alcoholic drinks, e.g. coffee and tea, are prepared in the kitchen in a special department called the Stillroom.

The drinks bar will need to hold a license to be able to serve alcoholic drinks and it must only serve alcoholic drinks to people that are over the legal limit. The legal limit is the age a guest has to be to buy an alcoholic drink; this age varies from country to country. All staff that serve alcoholic also need to be the correct age according to the country's legal limit. The bar could have a manger, bartenders/ barmaid and drinks waiters; this will depend on the size of the bar and the amount of customers it caters for.

The bar manager will have sole responsibility to ensure that the bar in well stocked with wines, beers and spirits and that the bar makes a profit from its sales. A bartender's/barmmaid's job can vary from establishment to establishment. In some countries bartending can be a temporary job while earning extra money, e.g. a university student working in their spare time to fund their course and living expenses while away from home. In other circumstances a bartender can be a highly trained professional, who has to have the skills and knowledge to know and understand drink recipes e.g. making cocktails to customer's specifications and they will be expert in serving techniques, have vast knowledge on alcohol contents, correct gas mixes and licensing law. These bartenders will tend to work in the same bar over a period of years and develop good customer working relationships. The drinks waiters/waitresses are the staff that take orders from the customers, who are eating their meal, and then collect the drinks from the bar and deliver them to the customer. This can be a very challenging role as the customer could ask the waiter to recommend a drink. For example, the customer could want to know which would be the most suitable red wine to accompany the beef dish.

There is a vast range of food preparation staff that can be found in a hotel's kitchen. In a large establishment the kitchen staff tend to be organised into sections; starters and salads, main course and sweets.

The Head Chef will be responsible for the smooth running of the kitchen as a whole, while Chef de Parties will run each individual section. As with Chef de Partie there is a French term for most of the positions in a kitchen. The most commonly used ones are Chef de Cuisine (Head Chef), Sous Chef (Second or Deputy Chef), Commis Chef (assistant chef), Apprenti (Apprentice Chef) and Chef Patissier (Pastry chef).

These terms tend to be used in kitchen rather than the English terms even if the restaurant is in a country where English is the main language spoken. These staff will be qualified and experience in their specialist department of the kitchen. There are many other ancillary personnel that can be found in a kitchen such as the Aboyeur (Kitchen Announcer sometimes called the Barker), Plongeur (the person who washes up the pots and pans), Commis de Cuisine (Porters) and of course the Serveurs (waiters/ waitresses).

As you can see from the amount of staff a restaurant could have, it can be a very busy place to work. One of the greatest advantages of working in a restaurant is that there is nearly always a role that will suit your requirements. If it is a temporary summer job that you are looking for then a bar or kitchen assistant's job will suit, but if you are looking for something more permanent then there are lots of specialist roles to choose from.

Quiz: Reading Questions

1. Waiters/Waitresses are usually the first ones to deal with a customer problem.
2. The chef is responsible for preparing the tea in the morning.
3. Cocktails and other alcoholic drinks are served at the bar.
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