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The Rules of Fine Dining Service

Guidelines for fine dining service are more stringent than those for casual dining establishments because a higher standard is expected. Restaurants with a high standard of excellence seek out employees who have the skills and experience necessary to deliver a memorable dining experience.


The Setup and Welcome

Starting with the first meal, flatware and silverware are positioned from the outside in. Tablecloths are spotless and equally distributed. For unoccupied seats, any silverware, plates, and napkins are removed. When guests arrive, extend a cordial and polite greeting to all members of the group. "Good evening, sir," rather than "How's everything going tonight?" is appropriate.

The Dish

Glasses and silverware are held by the base to avoid leaving fingerprints. Servers never reach across the table to help a guest. Taking the plate from the nearest point is the recommended practice. Servers remove used dishes and silverware from tables at the conclusion of each meal.

Following the Meal

The server will clear the plate once everyone has finished their meal.

To avoid generating a racket, servers stack plates one at a time off the table when clearing it.If the dinner is not served as part of a set menu, servers will bring out dessert and drink menus before presenting the bill.


At a fine dining establishment, guests are required to maintain a particular level of etiquette. The following are some of the unsaid norms, however they are not exhaustive:It is necessary to dress appropriately.While this is not the case in every good dining establishment, young children are generally not allowed to partake in the fine dining experience. Learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of dining without children.Speaking loudly or creating excessive noise is frowned upon and considered disruptive.


Depending on how "fine" the fine dining restaurant is, attendees may be expected to follow a dress code. Any mandatory dress code will usually be announced ahead of time so that no patrons are singled out, but it is not uncommon for restaurants to turn people away at the register if they are not dressed appropriately.


Expect to take your time at the restaurant because good dining is frequently multi-course. No matter how crowded a fine dining restaurant is, guests should not expect to be hustled. Customize the menu as little as possible. Changes, substitutes, and/or special requests are usually not allowed because the menu has been painstakingly designed by a skilled chef.

Menu of Traditional Entrees

Some fine dining establishments use a more mainstream ordering style, with entrees including side items to be paired with the main course. The filet, for example, may be served with roasted potatoes and a side salad, whilst the New York strip could be served with french fries and seasonal vegetables. Additional courses such as appetizers and desserts are available on both the standard and a la carte menus.

Getting a Fine Dining Restaurant Off the Ground

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