Working in a fine dining setting does not have to be daunting as long as you know the standards and rules expected of servers. Most protocols may seem basic—such as being polite, maintaining a good physical appearance, projecting a pleasant demeanour, and smiling. However, if you are new to serving in certain restaurants with specific cuisines, like Italian, you may need to learn about the country’s formal dining practices as well. Rules tend to differ from one place to another, but these etiquette tips should guide you in ensuring the best service to patrons.
The kind of service being offered:
Table service varies per the meal or cuisine being served, but the goal is the same: To ensure that diners are served efficiently and quickly. Italian fine dining usually goes in this order:
- Antipasto (appetizers)
- Main dish
- After-dinner drinks (i.e. espresso)
Wines to offer:
Several kinds of red and white wines are enjoyed in Italian cuisine. In fine dining restaurants in Vaughan, Woodbridge, and Kleinburg, the finest whites or reds are typically served first, so diners can appreciate them better. For desserts, sweeter wines may be served.
Pay attention to the diners’ table manners:
In Italian dining, if diners place both their eating utensils down on their plate for an extended period, that is usually a sign that they are finished, so you can take their plate away. If their cutlery is set on either side of their plate, that means they are not done yet. If a diner needs your assistance, they should make eye contact with you.
Keep small talk to a minimum:
Unless the customer shows that they want to talk, minimize the need for chit chat. Even if they want to talk, avoid asking personal questions. Go for light questions (i.e. “How’s the weather outside?” or “How’s your day?”) and avoid making yourself the topic of conversation.
Know the menu:
Servers in all restaurants must know the menu inside out, including the specials. When you know what the restaurant is serving, you should be able to explain certain dishes to customers and advise them on alternatives if they have specific dietary restrictions or allergies.