Service plate – why do people put a plate on a blank one?

30 November 2015

Do you ever wonder why a plate is placed on another one in European table?


A plate is placed underneath another blank one named “service plate” or buffet plate, charger plate, cover plate, lay plate or plate place.

The reason that service plate is put under another plate in European table or in their formal banquet because it has been a rule or ritual – “never let any space in front of guests ” which means each seating position has a space on the table with a complete set of knives, forks, spoons, plates and as if the meal began. If the food has not been served out, a service plate is still needed on the table.


Service plate

Service plate is 11 to 14 inches long equivalent to 28 to 35 cm.

In formal banquet, the service plate is usually expensive with beautiful textures and food is never served directly on the service plate.

As always, they use the service plate to be the background for 1 or 2 starters such as salad or soup, Service Plate will be taken away with the plate placed on it before they serve the main dish.

In the normal meal, service plate can be just big-size one and it depends on the situation that they will serve the main dish on the service plate or not.

There is sometimes two plates used for beautiful decoration and the food looks more appealing.