Dining Experience Lectures

Dining Experience Lectures

This is designed to give you a better conceptual understanding of serving. Try to think of the lessons as frameworks from which to approach your work and not rules.

There is no one exact way to do things. All restaurants vary, all shifts vary, all tables vary and thus require varied approaches.
We're trying teaching you how to think about each stage of dining - not exactly how to conduct each stage of dining.
Make sense?

We can't assume anything of your existing knowledge and have to start at zero.

Some of it you may know already, but I can assure you there is plenty in here that you likely haven't considered or is at the very least worth reviewing.

Hope you enjoy, gain value from this, and ultimately, learn to earn in more upscale restaurants.

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Dining Experience Lectures
  • How to Greet Tables and Build Rapport - Ebook

    10.7 MB

    The greet is really more important than a lot of people recognize. This sets the tone for the relationship that you’ll be developing with your guests, and while you may never see these people again, you will be interacting quite a bit over the next couple hours. So it’s worth considering how exac...

  • Why the greet matters

    Rapport: a connection of sorts where both parties feel comfortable and are on the same page.

  • A template for greetings guests


    If guests just arrived and are at the table exchanging hugs and kisses with their friends OR you're busy diverting a crisis, let them get situated/ get yourself situated before approaching.

    Typically, however, try to get to the table within 1-2 minutes of guests sitting down.

    When g...

  • Please keep in mind...


    Why do I have a general, flexible template for how I greet tables?
    Situations vary and warrant varied responses.
    So that my delivery is not so scripted that it sounds robotic and stale.
    So that I'm not having to make up something new with every approach.

  • Transitioning into drink orders

    I view my relation to the guests as relatively equal; both humans worthy of respect but in different roles. They're my guests, I'm their host; the inverse could be true tomorrow if I visit their place of business for a desired service.

    Before asking about drinks, I try to establish so...

  • Getting drink orders


    Guests are often more interested in drink recommendations after they've looked over drink selection.

    If guests don't need time to look over bar selection and know what they'd like to drink, I put the orders in and often serve waters while waiting on bar to make drinks.
    *Be mindful, h...

  • Why to sell appetizers


    Reasons I want every table to get an appetizer:
    It's a quick way to get the table temporarily situated - especially if I'm too busy to take orders and/ or kitchen is backed up.
    Puts guests more at ease while waiting to order/ receive their entrees.
    Increase sales at the table (which w...

  • How to sell appetizers


    When asking about appetizers, I ask if they'd like me to get them a specific item (or two).

    I ask guests if they would like an 'appetizer' because:
    'Appetizer' is an undefined, vague label that holds no inherent appeal.
    Calamari (for example) sounds more appetizing than the word appe...

  • If they decline appetizer offer


    If they reject my offer to get them an appetizer (and I don't have time to take entree orders), I tell them to take their time looking over the menu, and I'll be by shortly to discuss menu/ answer questions.

    If they reject my offer to get them an appetizer (and I have time), I transi...

  • Reading your table


    Not every table will move through the dining experience at the same pace. Nor will each table want the same level of interaction. When can I start picking up on this?
    When I first approach.

    When I drop the appetizer, this is another good opportunity to assess my table. What am I payi...

  • Different scenarios when getting orders


    If another server drops the app, ideally I can follow right behind to check in/ make assessment. If I am too busy and can't do that, it's okay. That's one reason I sold the app. They're situated, and I've bought myself some time before I really need to get to the table.

    If table look...

  • Moving your table towards a decision


    If I've approached my table multiple times already about ordering to no avail, and I need them to start making some decisions (maybe I need the table or I'm about be get busy with a party), what's one thing I can do?
    Approach and offer recommendations.
    "Can I offer you some recommenda...

  • Building trust with your tables


    I build trust through authenticity, reliability, timeliness, and menu/ operation knowledge-base.

    My recommendations won't hold much weight if they can't trust me.
    What is the simplest way to build trust? Do what you say when you say you'll do it.

    Understanding the operation allows ...

  • How to give recommendations


    I offer recommendations as necessary in order to help guests narrow down options and ultimately make a decision they can feel good about.

    When providing recommendations, I often ask guests questions such as "what are you in the mood for?" Why?
    To better know what to recommend.

    When ...

  • Getting orders after recommendations


    When taking orders, For you ma'am? And for you sir? What can I get you ma'am? What would you like sir?
    *All the nice language you learned growing up ;)

    I collect menus, AFTER everyone tells me their order so I'm not juggling menus and orders and people's attention.
    *If your restaura...

  • How to manage your workflow


    After taking orders, I first see if there are other orders I can take in my section, then pre-bus, then put in orders.

    This is the best way to manage your workflow and get as much done as possible with each trip AND improve the operation of the restauran...

  • Why to set your tables up for entrees


    In order to give a) guests enough time to enjoy appetizer and b) myself enough time to reset before entrees come, I learn entree average ticket times and track current ticket times. I also track my tables progress on the appetizer.

    If entrees are coming out soon, and guests haven't f...

  • Scanning tables


    As I move through my section, I'm always scanning tables. I'll often have my eyes glued to the table and don't need to pretend that I'm not scanning, but I avoid locking eyes and staring into the guest's soul.

    I move through my section and scan tables in order to 1) notice items to c...

  • How to sell more drinks


    A lot of people will take another round if you ask them, but won't flag you down to ask.

    Best way to sell more drinks is to be on top of things, anticipate needs of guests, be proactive, and move with a sense of urgency. Ya heard?

  • Consider your coworkers


    Why do I make sure to set the table up (clear app plates, replace silver, second rounds, etc.) to receive the entrees? For all reasons below:
    So guests are positioned to seamlessly continue meal.
    So whoever runs my food doesn't need to do anything.
    So once the food is delivered I can ...

  • How to serve entrees


    Easiest way to get guest's attention when serving entree: announce name of dish.

    Your restaurant may require you serve from the left which is what you'll do.
    But I typically just serve from the side that makes the most sense (the side guests can see me from, side with greatest openi...

  • How to handle guest requests


    A guest request is anything they need to start/ continue enjoying their meal. (fork, ketchup, etc)

    If an issue arises (missing fork, steak isn't cooked right, etc), I immediately handle it. I DON'T repeatedly apologize and express remorse or echo back the problem and what I intend to...

  • When, why, and how to pre-bus


    After serving plates, checking in, and knowing everyone's happy, I leave them alone to enjoy it, but continue scanning the table.

    Some restaurants will require you to wait for every person to finish completely before pre-busing. If that's their policy, you'll respect that. But I get ...

  • How to turn tables


    Pre-busing entrees helps me move guests through, generate volume, and better scan tables.

    I make more sales and thus greater income NOT by identifying tables that are likely to spend more and really investing myself completely into that one table, but by providing attentive service t...