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Seating Arrangements
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Formal - 14164_220
precedence according to the time each has served on active duty as a commissioned officer of the United States  Armed  Forces.  The  seating  arrangement  changes when a guest is present. When several guests are to be present,  the  seating  arrangements  are  normally  worked out by the wardroom supervisor and approved by the caterer. MEAL  STYLE  PROCEDURES Meals  should  begin  immediately  after  the  president and the officers are seated. Prompt and courteous service add much to the enjoyment of a meal. Serving personnel should be alert. They should not lean on the sideboard or lounge against the bulkhead when they are not  busy.  With  proper  training,  serving  personnel  will know  what  their  responsibilities  are  and  how  they should  be  met. The meal may be announced by using the xylophone (fig. 9-7) or by announcing the traditional “dinner (or whichever  meal)  is  served.” The president or the officer in front of whom the buck  is  placed  is  served  first,  and  then  the  service proceeds  counterclockwise  around  the  table. Figure 9-7.—Xylophone for announcing meals. INFORMAL  MEAL  SERVICE All meals are served by family, cafeteria, American, buffet, ala carte service, or by a combination of these, as discussed earlier. Figure 9-8 shows a table setting for an informal meal. Foods, including soups, are served from the left of the  person  being  served.  Beverages  are  served  from  the right. Soup is normally ladled into the soup plates in the pantry and served rather than offered to the officer at the table. The  rule  of  thumb  to  follow  during  formal  and informal service is to serve the foods from the left and remove from the right, except beverages. To  avoid  overcrowding  the  table  during  family-style service, refill the water glasses as necessary instead of placing a water pitcher on the table. In other types of service such as cafeteria, a water pitcher maybe placed on the table for those who desire refills. Coffee  should  always  be  available  and  served piping hot. Be careful when serving coffee and other hot  beverages  especially  aboard  ship  when  the  ship  is underway. An accidental spill can cause a painful burn. When an officer has finished a course, remove the used dishes. Do not stack the dishes in front of the officer.  With  the  right  hand,  remove  the  plate  and silverware used during the course. When more than one plate is being removed, hold the first in the left hand and place the others on top of it. When desserts are not picked up from the line, they should be served. Place a pitcher of hot coffee on the table for those desiring seconds and place ashtrays within the officers’ reach. When  guests  are  present,  some  changes  to  the seating and serving order are necessary. Although some of  these  changes  were  mentioned  earlier,  bringing  them together at this point will help you to recognize what routines  should  be  changed. The buck is not used when guests are aboard. A guest of the ship or the guest of honor sits to the right of the  president  and  is  always  served  first.  Other  guests usually sit to the right of their host officer. When no guest of honor is present and more than one officer has guests, the guest of the senior host officer is served first. In all cases, after serving the guest of honor, the serving continues from that point counterclockwise around the table. Do not skip around in order to serve all guests first. 9-15

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