Fine Dining Restaurant Service SOP


From customer service to place settings and posture, there are many rules and standards that are expected to be followed when working in a fine-dining environment. Though some of these etiquette practices may seem like common sense to some servers, such as smiling and being polite, others may be unfamiliar to new employees who aren’t used to working at formal restaurants. Though the rules may differ from place to place, these fine dining etiquette tips should serve as a basic guideline when providing patrons with the best meal, service, and atmosphere possible. Whether you’re serving dinner at a fine dining restaurant, wedding reception, or upscale event, these etiquette tips will help ensure you act professionally in any formal food service setting.

Fine-dining environment:


Depending on the event or meal being served, the type of table service will vary. Fine-dining at restaurants will be different than at a buffet or catered wedding reception, but all service types aim to serve patrons quickly, efficiently, and with great care.

The following are some of the fine-dining restaurant service standards applicable in the hospitality industry;

Your pledge: To offer 5-star customer care with flair, quality, professionalism, and confidence.

  • The customer is acknowledged within 30 seconds of arrival with eye contact and a friendly smile and verbal greeting.
  • The guest is politely asked if they would like a table and for how many guests. A table is allocated immediately, according to guest preference and availability. Extra covers are removed from the table.
  • Guests are presented with open menus immediately, specials of the day are explained and guests notified of any missing items. Guests are offered drinks.
  • Drinks will be served within 3 minutes of ordering from a clean tray and glasses handled from the base.
  • Any order taken is repeated back to the guest for clarification.
  • After the delivery of soft drinks, guests will be asked if they would like to place the food order. Food orders are taken from the right side of the guest – ladies first.
  • Starters will be served within 10 minutes of ordering while mains will be served within 20 minutes of ordering (unless agreed otherwise with the guest, with appropriate cutlery and accompaniments.
  • Freshly cracked pepper will be offered and ground for each guest.
  • The waiter checks guest satisfaction 15 minutes after the meal is presented.
  • The table is cleared of dirty and excess crockery and cutlery within 2 minutes of finishing each course.
  • Additional drinks are offered every time there is ¼ of drink remaining in the glass, and empty bottles and glasses will be removed immediately.
  • Ashtrays will be cleared with no more than 2 butts in the ashtray at a time.
  • The guest should be offered tea/coffee/desserts. Tea and coffee will be served within 3 minutes of ordering and desserts will be served within 3 minutes of ordering.
  • Upon finalizing the guest is asked if they would like anything else, if not the bill is to be delivered in a clean bill-folder with a pen and questionnaire within 4 minutes.
  • The change will be returned within 5 minutes of payment.
  • The guests will be thanked for their patronage and wished a pleasant day/evening/night.

Finally, exemplary product knowledge and great customer service are the key factors that contribute to great guest’s experience in the hospitality industry.

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