One of the essential functions of a waiter or waitress is to be able to carry multiple items to and from a table. When bringing food out to customers, most servers use a tray. However, when clearing a table, the server will need to balance multiple plates, glassware and cutlery. It is possible to carry four plates at a time -- three in one hand and one in the other. This is accomplished through proper plate placement and balance.
Grab the first plate with your thumb over its edge and your index finger on the bottom. Your index finger should be able to securely grip the rim on the bottom of the plate. Your remaining three fingers should be open and exposed.
Place the second plate on your exposed fingers so its edge is pressing against the bottom rim of the first plate. Hold the second plate securely with your middle, ring and pinky fingers.
Place the third plate on your lower arm so it also balances against your wrist and the edge of the second plate.
To carry a fourth plate, simply pick it up in your empty hand.