How to Take Orders at a Restaurant Using the Pivot System

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Waiter serving woman diners.
Waiter serving woman diners. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The pivot system is a seating and order-taking method that can help even your restaurant's most inexperienced server look like a seasoned professional. It involves identifying a corner of each table as the pivot point. According to an online column by Susan Ross, a restaurant expert, the point for each table should all face the same direction, which for most restaurants is either the kitchen door or the front door. Seat numbers should move around the table in a clockwise direction, starting to the left of the pivot point. It’s at this place where the pivot order-taking system always begins.

Pivot System Instructions

Instruct servers to identify the table number and number of guests at the top of the guest check. Next, number each seat on the order pad and identify empty seats using a strike-through or other symbol. Start with seat one and move around the table in a clockwise direction taking and writing orders for the appropriate seat.

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