This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Waiters will be divided into two classes, namely, Entree Men and Vegetuble Men.
Entree Men will be distinguished by wearing a red ribbon in their left button holes, and Vegetable Men by a white ribbon.
Superintendents will wear white waistcoats, and control their tables; when quite ready for a course, they will signify it by holding up their right hands.
Tables are divided into separate divisions; each table is numbered alphabetically (A B C), and will have a special staff appointed under the charge of a superintendent. Waiters are requested to pay special attention to his orders.
Roll Call in the vestibule at 1.30, when each man must be present to answer to his name, he will then be shown his position at table, and receive his badge, after which he will at once take his position until reviewed. All waiters to be in their places at 3 p.m., to assist the guests to their seats.
Dinner Service regulated by the sound of the gong. At the first sound waiters at once stand to attention; at the second sound to proceed to their respective serving tables and commence the course.
At the second sound of the gong all waiters will advance to their serving tables and serve soup.
All waiters change plates.
At the second sound of the gong proceed as above; vegetable men must then leave the room and secure their vegetables. Each man will have a dish of peas, beans and potatoes. Entree men clear away dirty plates.
Entree men only serve joints; vegetable men to serve only vegetables and bread.
N. B. - Immediately after dessert plates are passed round, and all dirty plates and silver removed, all waiters (except wine stewards) are to leave the room and attend to their respective duties, arranged by the headwaiter.
Service Porters to bring in plates, meats, soups, etc., and to clear their respective serving tables after each course. During service of fish and joints, one porter to remain at each carving table to serve gravy, etc"
"A Liverpool journal of the semi-satirical order, called the Porcupine, has the following amusing commentary on these singular regulations:
"The military spirit having been thus introduced into attendance upon public banquets, we do not see why it should not be considerably developed. It would certainly add immensely to the excitement of the dinner table, and remove in a great measure the ennui and monotony so often expecienced when waiting for the various courses, if a stalwart drill-instructor in full regimentals and ablaze with military decorations, were to stand in a conspicuous place, sound the assembly and, in stentorian accents, put the waiters through their facings something after the following style:
"Hawn - tree wait - er-r-rs! at - tintion! Vege - tarble wait - er-r-rs! heyes fa - runt!
"Shoul - der-r-r - nap - kins!
"Vege - tarble wait-er-r-s! present ar-rums------for the soup and fall in I.
"Hawn-tree waiters! Standateas' !-----with the ladle!
"Vege - tarble wait - er-r-rs! For - rum squa-a-re! Char-r-r-ge------with the new perta - ties!
"Hawn - tree wait - er-r-rs! for rum fourdeepin-echelons! Lefthar-raf fa-a-a-cel ------for the biled mutton I
"Vege - tarble wait - er-r-rs! Slop arrums! Doub - bl-bl-ble------for the sparrergrass!
"Hawn - tree wait - er-r-rs! Byyourri-i-i-ght quick mar - rarch------for the gooseberry tarts!
"Wait - er-r-rs! At - tintion! Gur-r-round------dessert plates!
" By your cen - trrrr-re left wheeeeel---to the kitchen !
"'God save the Queen' on the gong".
When we are done laughing with the newspaper, and at it, we may turn back and find a must excellent example in the said handbill, even if it be on a somewhat exaggerated 6cale. For service is all-important to the success of a banquet. The waiters gathered together for such an occasion are likely to be a mixed lot and many of them as green as they can be, and some such resolute measures for making them know exactly what to do and when are quite necessary to avert confusion and failure. A number of examples of catering on a grand scale have been given in previous pages and not one of them mentions the very important particular, how the waiters were made to understand each one his particular duties on the occasion, and the "regulations" above exhibited convey a very perspicacious guide for all such emergencies. The same paper says: "The waiters at Young's Hotel, Boston, have been 'uniformed' in spotless white, and must cut rather a queer figure. The ' captains' and head waiters are, it appears, arrayed in dress coats of white flannel".