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How to Carry a Cocktail Beverage Tray

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Written by Qbanlos   

There are many restaurants and bars in this great nation of ours. And within them are many a skilled & unskilled server or cocktail waitress. To be a competent server you must be able to carry a beverage tray. This skill allows you to carry more than two drinks at a time, and is much more professional than carrying drinks in your hand. Read on to carry like a pro.


Step 1: So you either already have a job a server or cocktail server or are going to become one. Congratulations. There are a few tips to remember when handling drinks. They are unbalanced. Martini and wine glasses are top heavy; cognac snifters have a lower center of balance. Beer bottles are tall. When putting all this onto one tray you must be able to feel the different heights. Be aware that these heights make it harder to carry so always keep one eye on the drinks and one on where you are going.


Step 2: Do not use both hands! This looks ridiculous, and is hard on your back. Stooped over with a heavy tray is not the way to go. Also, with this method you are more likely to spill. When using one hand it’s easier to move out of the way from careless customers or co-workers.


Step 3: Place all drinks in the center of the tray and work your way out. Slide your single hand underneath the tray and lift it off the counter/bar top. As your hand will be directly under the drinks when carrying the tray, it will be almost like you’re balancing the drinks on your hand. Whatever hand you are dominant, you might like to carry the tray with your opposite hand. This will allow you to unload the tray with your dominant hand when the time comes.


Step 4: Do not let guests take items off your tray! I have had this personally go wrong more than once. As you become a skilled tray carrying employee you’ll find when you arrive at the table, a guest may want to “help” you by taking a drink off the tray. As your hand is constantly adjusting, when you’re balancing the tray, a sudden loss of weight on one side of the tray will make you loose you balance. I have had a tray of red wine go over a woman in a white dress on the way to her son’s graduation at a lunch. She was livid, (understandably), but it was her fault. (If I recall, the restaurant paid for the dress and another meal for her later).


Step 5: Practice. It may seem silly, but ask if you can borrow a tray and take it home. Use your own glasses and have different amounts of liquid in each one. Walk around the house, avoiding the coffee table, dog etc. It’s amazing how good you can become in a short period of time. This may seem like a simple skill, but it’s a little trickier than some may think. Now get to work, and get those tips!

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