How to plate up your restaurant food successfully


There is no doubt that food needs to taste good if you want customers to return; however, the first impression they get will be visual. Food that looks good will be more appetising. By following a few simple rules, you can make a huge difference to how your food is received.


You want your food to reach customers at the optimum temperature, so it is important not to start plating up until all the elements are ready. You should also make sure that any tools you might need for plating up, such as brushes, moulds or tongs, are readily to hand.

Consider plate selection carefully

The plates you choose to present your food on will say as much about your restaurant as the décor or the furniture. The food should always be the focus; however, by selecting plates of the right size, shape and colour, you can show off the food to its best advantage.

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Consider all options for locations where you can present your food to customers. It is not necessary to wait until your food reaches the table before you show it off; for example, a display freezer from a supplier such as could be placed front of house to show patrons some of the delicious options available to them.

Be creative with sauces

Sauces can be excellent decorative elements to add colour and interest to a meal. Careful placement using a bottle or spoon can draw the eye around the plate, highlighting the different elements and bringing them together; however, care should be taken. Daniel Wilson, head chef at Huxtable, points out that cleanliness is paramount and any stray sauce should be wiped off the plate.

Ingredient placement

The layout of ingredients on a plate of food is similar to framing elements in a picture. It is a good idea to plate runny ingredients at the base so that they are held down by other elements, as this increases the probability of dishes arriving at the table looking the same as when they are first plated. When you have multiple elements to a dish, you want customers to experience the best flavour combinations. You can lead them to this by using careful placement to create flavour bites whereby each forkful has a combination of all the ingredients.

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