Fine Dining Etiquette For Servers

  Georgie  Hawthorne     July 28, 2021    619

 

When we think of a fine dining experience, we think of elegance, sophistication, style and class, not to mention the restaurant adhering to the highest possible standards in food preparation and service. It is this ambiance, exclusivity and classy experience that has caused fine dining restaurant pricing to be a little bit more on the higher side than normal restaurants, but of course, it is well worth the price for the exceptional service and overall quality that you get from them.

Servers and waiters who work in such fine dining restaurants are generally attired in very elegant uniforms together with high quality designer server aprons. Even bussers and other lower end staff wear waist aprons and uniforms that adhere to a set standard, and create this aura of sophistication that is synonymous with this type of restaurant. It is not only the uniforms, but the mannerisms, attitudes and personalities of the staff, as well as the décor and style of the restaurant, that exudes the exclusivity of such businesses.

To work successfully in a fine dining restaurant, servers need to develop the following personal qualities:

  • Politeness – They should be friendly and polite, setting the tone of the guest experience from the time they enter the restaurant. Guests should be given special attention, and making eye contact when speaking to them is one of the best ways of showing the guest that they are giving them the attention they deserve. Being helpful and courteous at all times is essential.
  • Patience – When dealing with customers in a high-end restaurant, servers should never rush them just because they may have other tables to wait on, but should be patient with their customers and give them ample time to decide on what they want. Giving them privacy to decide on their choices is a good start, and the server can always check back with them after some time to take their order.
  • Knowledge – The staff are representatives of the restaurant and its brand, and as such are expected to be highly knowledgeable with regard to the menu, the ingredients and the way in which each dish is prepared. They will also require training on allergens so that they can inform their customers accordingly.
  • Responsiveness – Being available whenever your guest needs you, without being intrusive, is an important characteristic of an experienced server in a high-quality restaurant.
  • Efficiency – Being timely in your work is essential in providing an efficient service to guests. Guests should never be kept waiting, and although this can be difficult when serving several tables at once, it will be easier with experience.

The aspect of fine dining has many rules that need to be followed, and it is an area where service staff should be highly trained on. It is not only the staff personalities and attitudes, but so much more, that creates an exceptional fine dining experience for the customer. The following are some tips of fine dining etiquette which should be followed.

  • Prepare for service – All tableware, flatware and dining tables should be prepared well before the restaurant doors are open. All tableware should be inspected for breakages, chips and cleanliness, the server mise-en-place station should be prepared, tables and chairs should be cleaned and wiped down, and any mood settings such as candles etc should be prepared and lit before opening.
  • Table settings – Impeccable detailing should go into table settings in order to create the ambiance that you want for this type of restaurant. Setting up the tables with the right tableware, freshly laundered linen and the correct flatware and glassware is very important. Ensure that there are no fingerprints on any of the tableware.
  • Service etiquette – Formal dining requires a very high level of service excellence, where a server should be intuitive, observant and detail-oriented. A key element in creating a fabulous guest experience is to anticipate the needs of the guests, while still being unobtrusive.
  • Cutlery etiquette – Non verbal communication is very important under these circumstances, and therefore servers should be able to understand what the guest is saying to them from the way they have placed their flatware on the plate. Such cutlery etiquette helps the server to proceed with service, without interrupting the guests.
  • Serving wine – When it comes to fine dining, it is the servers themselves who provide wine service to the tables, and hence should be well trained in the proper steps to be taken during wine service, such as knowing how to use a wine key, bringing the items required in one go, presenting the wine, sampling, pouring and knowing not to touch the wine glasses at the table once wine service has begun.
  • Clearing tables – Tables should not be stacked with dishes and flatware, since it will hamper the guest’s experience at the restaurant. Servers should wait for all the guests at the table to finish their meal, and then first remove the flatware and condiments which will not be used in the next course. Clearing should be done from the guest’s right side, and servers should ensure not to stack dishes on trays when clearing. De-crumbing a table after a meal is a sign of high-quality service.
  • Grooming and etiquette – A server’s personal grooming, personality and behavior should be flawless and kept to the highest standard. Uniforms and server aprons should be freshly laundered, personal grooming such as hair, nails etc should be clean and neat, servers should never slouch, cross their arms or keep their hands in pockets, they should never touch a guest, should never engage in informal conversation with or near a guest, should never eat and drink where guests can see you, and should not point at or to a guest.
  • Type of service – There are different types of fine dining service such as French, English, Russian, American and Butler service, each with their own rules and regulations which servers are required to be knowledgeable on.

Servers working in high class restaurants should get proper training on personal grooming and etiquette and should follow through with an excellent service, that will provide customers with an exceptional and memorable dining experience, and will keep them coming back to the restaurant. Maintaining such standards is good for the business’ bottom line as well as to maintaining a good reputation in the industry.


 Article keywords:
Waist Aprons, Server Aprons

 


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