How To Properly Set Your Table For Your Thanksgiving Meal

When it comes to a special event like Thanksgiving Dinner in your restaurant, you will want to make the right impression. One of the key ways you can do this is by setting the table properly. Of course how you set the table will depend on the style of your restaurant. A buffet style restaurant will have a different set-up than a sit-down restaurant. This article will explore the table setting requirements of an upscale, sit-down establishment. Your goal is to impress your customers with more than just your food. You want them to enjoy the entire package when they visit your restaurant on Thanksgiving Day.How To Properly Set Your Table For Thanksgiving

Table Setting Basics

An elegant table setting says a lot to the customer. It shows them that you value style, quality and class. It also lets them know that you are well versed in the proper table setting etiquette. When setting a table you should remember that everything has its place and that the importance of any given utensil is based on its placement. Table settings have a uniform style that restaurants around the world use. Once you know the proper place for every utensil you can train your staff, and then setting the table will become a simple matter.

Begin with the Plate

Every place setting begins with a high-quality dinner plate. At an informal setting, the dinner plate is placed in the center of the place setting with the other cutlery placed around it. For a formal setting, a charger plate is placed at each setting. Larger than a dinner plate, regal looking, and available in many styles and colors, the charger plate will remain on the table throughout the meal until the dessert is served, acting as a base for the salad plate, dinner plate and soup bowl. A butter plate will often be placed to the top left of the charger plate with a butter knife placed diagonally across it.

The Placement of Cutlery

For a formal setting as well as an informal setting, the dinner fork goes to the left of the plate, and the dinner knife to the right of the plate. The soup spoon is always next to the dinner knife, while the teaspoon or dessert spoon goes to the left of the soup spoon. The dinner napkin is either placed to the left of the fork or on top of the plate. However, for a formal setting, there are additional knives, forks and spoons that are often placed around the plate, to complement the menu. These may include fish forks, fish knives, oyster forks and other utensils. Once the meal is ordered, these pieces of cutlery may be removed if they will not be needed for the meal.


While table settings are uniform from one restaurant to another, it is that extra touch that you add to the table that will make your establishment stand out. By adding a centerpiece to the table you can make your table settings unique and set your restaurant apart from others. To complement a Thanksgiving Dinner milieu, you may want to use a centerpiece that is seasonal such as autumnal flower arrangements, gourds, or something like restaurant candles may work. You can easily find the right centerpiece idea by searching PInterest and then apply these ideas to your own restaurant, adjusting it with your own personal touch.

Mastering Table Settings

While not every table setting will work for every style of restaurant, if you have an upscale establishment it is imperative that you utilize the most impressive ideas you can find. This becomes even more relevant when it comes to a once-a-year, high-end Thanksgiving Dinner. Your customers will expect a formal table setting and you should be prepared to provide them with a beautifully set table that they will remember. 

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