Food plating and presentation are crucial components of the customer experience in the restaurant business.
Unfortunately, plating the food is sometimes one of the first things to be forgotten during a dinner rush. Food presentation becomes an afterthought since you are either too busy or too preoccupied with the flavor of the food.
You don’t need to be an expert artist to transform your food into beautiful works of art, so don’t worry! There are a few key elements to remember when preparing and plating your restaurant dishes, but there are no strict guidelines for “perfect” plating.
What Is Plating and Food Presentation?
The arrangement of the food on the plate appeals to the diner and is referred to as meal presentation.
Similar to how a painting in a gallery draws in the viewer, a plate should stimulate the diner’s senses and attract them to the experience. When a dish looks as wonderful as it tastes, your customers are more likely to post and share it on Instagram. An excellent presentation will also enhance their eating experience.
Taste, texture, and color should all be perfectly balanced on the plate. By experimenting with these elements, you may make your diners feel satisfied as soon as the dish is brought to the table—before they even take a bite. The platter can be garnished, treated with a sauce, or presented in a strange, enjoyable way.
Why Presenting Food Well Is Important
The advantages of presenting food on a beautiful platter are numerous. The final meal presentation allows the chef to express their creativity and put their unique stamp on the menu because cooking is, first and foremost, an artistic endeavor. Your diners are given a story to read with their eyes and taste sensations. Restaurant patrons who observe a dish being brought to a table and immediately want to order the same thing are tempted by the dish’s appearance and plating.
From a management standpoint, better food presentation and plating are easy ways to give customers a better dining experience. If done correctly, it may make a dinner party a huge success and bring attention to your entire business. Having a system in place for plating will also help you maintain inventory because you’ll be able to determine how many items are used up in every dish if you know what goes on each plate rather than haphazardly tossing garnishes on a plate.
Now, look more closely at why excellent food presentation is essential for your restaurant business.
Top 11 Restaurant Food Presentation Tips
Food can be served and presented in so many different ways. But the little things set your cuisine and restaurant apart from the competition.
Here are 11 serving-related techniques to help you improve your meal presentation.
1. Comply with the theme of your restaurant
Your restaurant’s style should be evident in how you dish and present your cuisine. Therefore, start by thinking about your restaurant’s motif.
Your customers would expect a straightforward, rustic, hearty meal presentation if you own a small, ethnic restaurant. However, at a high-end, expensive, and trendy restaurant, your customers would expect to see some level of delicacy in the presentation of your dishes, from the plate presentation to the word it’s served on.
2. Select the Proper Tableware
It’s crucial to consider the tableware’s color and size. It’s best to keep things straight if you’re new to food plates and design using white, ivory, or light-colored crockery. By doing this, you can embellish with garnishes or sauces and play with the ingredients’ arrangement without being concerned about color contrast.
Make sure you keep an eye out for cracked or damaged tableware because it can be dangerous to eat off of and a significant turnoff to customers. Conduct routine inspections to replace or repair broken dinnerware.
3. Add Height and Layers
Instead of going up or down, start high. Your dish can gain a lot of depth by using layering and stacking techniques with the food.
A decent rule of thumb is to have three distinct heights when plating food. It makes food appear larger and helps fill up space (without increasing the portion size). Start by experimenting with the heights of three ingredients: vegetables, protein, and starch.
4. Play around with textures.
Adding textures to your food presentation is a fantastic technique to add depth and character. This might be as basic as topping sauces with a crunch or a delicate foam. You can alternatively put the meat in the center of the platter and sparsely sprinkle dressing around it.
5. Present smaller servings
Finding the right balance in this situation is crucial. Smaller quantities are typically more enticing and simpler to style. Presentation is limited if your platters are filled to the brim with food. However, you want to ensure they are happy when they leave. Nothing is worse than walking out of a restaurant still hungry.
Everything relies on the kind of restaurant you run and the types of patrons you draw. You have some leeway to explore and strike a balance between a dish that fills them up and a food presentation that impresses if they aren’t anticipating enormous servings. According to the National Restaurant Association, serving lower portion sizes is one of the top five restaurant trends for 2019!
6. Horizontal Meat Slicing
To highlight the quality of the meat, try fanning it out by cutting it horizontally. To produce a more tender cut, it is recommended to slice the meat at a 45-degree angle and against the grain.
7. Utilize Complementary Colors
Your dish gains energy and contrast from color. Beets, carrots, and cauliflower are a few examples of colorful fruits and vegetables that stand out on a plate. Try using complementing hues (like red and green) and garnishing meats and salads with citrus zest or banana leaves.
However, avoid using hues that appear synthetic. Because blue isn’t a hue that is frequently found in food, serving blue dishes is generally regarded as improper.
8. Select the Proper Plates
Large plates are usually a good choice because they allow you more room to work with, but don’t feel you have to fill them up! If you cover a large plate entirely, it will appear cluttered and crammed; leave some space.
Additionally, it would be best if you utilized several plate sizes for various dishes. For instance, large plates are better suited for serving steaks, while smaller containers are typically used for serving appetizers. The food customers perceive receiving may be impacted if large leaves are used for all portions.
9. Coordinate garnish and décor
Your food can benefit from garnishing by gaining taste and texture. Instead of being a last-minute addition, it should be a deliberate culinary component balanced with the other ingredients in the dish.
Although it can seem simple, choosing the proper garnish needs excellent care. Be careful not to overdo it. Additionally, make sure it is edible; no server wants to have to tell a customer that something on their dish is inedible.
Many types of garnishes include citrus zest, edible flowers, sauces, and spices. They can also be used in desserts. For instance, to add color, texture, and a fresh appearance to a serving of mango ice cream, place a slice of mango in the middle or corner of the scoop.
10. Use the Correct Equipment to Serve
When plating food, using the appropriate utensils is crucial. Use plating utensils as meticulously hardworking as the preparation methods you used to create your food.
11. Keep it straightforward and be yourself
Let go of the past! The majority of chefs advise using white dishes to present food. However, you may always be inventive and use dinnerware made of organic materials like wood or stone. Serve wine in a vase decanter or soup in a coffee pot. Be bold and let your creativity shine!
Food styling and plating may need patience and time, but the extra work will benefit your restaurant’s operations and reputation. To improve your food presentation and bottom line, consider experimenting with different methods using these food plating tips, tactics, and strategies.