Tips For Enhancing The Dining Experience

Our latest catalog hits the stands next Monday, November 8, and provides tips for upgrading the dining room and maximizing profits. A recent article by PMQ revealed the outlook for the restaurant industry improved in September and owners are optimistic about future sales growth. While things are looking up, there are always ways to make small improvements or be reminded of simple rules of thumb to make a restaurant even better for its customers. Here are a few resources for improving the customer’s experience.

When Is It Okay To Clear Plates?

Sometimes it can be hard to determine if a customer is finished with their plate, or sometimes one person is finished but others at the table aren’t.  The Restaurant Service website addresses this issue as having a variety of solutions. It’s broken down to the restaurants level of service, the situation at hand and what the customer wants. Customers do several things to show they are finished and if a customer hasn’t touched their plate in 20 minutes, it’s time for the server to decide if it’s ready to remove plates.

The situation of one guest being finished but others aren’t can be tricky.  It could make the other guests feel rushed to remove one person’s plate, but waiting to clear may not always be most convenient either. One of the recommendations in this article for servers is to simply ask the obvious question, “May I remove your plate?” But even before asking, the situation should be evaluated beforehand to avoid making guests feel uncomfortable. While this is obvious—common sense and evaluating each customer’s situation is critical.  The article recommends standards to be discussed and set by staff.

Importance of Proper Serving Trays

The serving tray is essential to wait staff. In Richard Saporito’s article on the Artipot website, he breaks it down to asking “what looks best in the dining room” while comparing it to “the logistics of actually getting the job done safely and in a sanitary manner.”

Saporito’s three simple but important rules for servers to remember are:

  1. Carrying too many items on a tray at once is dangerous
  2. Carrying too little items on a tray is wasted effort
  3. Separate the silverware on the tray (off to one side then stack plates)

He also reminds restaurants that a constant supply of trays should be available to wait staff in an easily accessible location. For most cases, Saporito says a restaurant should at least have two different types of trays should be available.

Table Setting Basics

While for most servers, setting the table and serving rules are second nature. But new servers or ones moving to a different environment may not have as much experience. Recipe Hut breaks it down to these three simple rules:

  1. Serve from the left and remove from the right
  2. Serve coffee, tea and fill water from the right
  3. Clear the table (except for the centerpiece) before serving dessert and remove crumbs from the table with a folded napkin and small plate

2 thoughts on “Tips For Enhancing The Dining Experience

  1. Justin

    Some great serving etiquette tips here. I wish I would have read this before I had my first job as a waiter! I can speak from experience that guests do get uncomfortable when you ask to remove a plate before they are ready!

  2. Carol S.

    Thanks for the informative article. I eat slow and my pet peeve is when a waiter cleans up my husband’s dishes before I’m finished! I think I’ll bring copies of your article to dinner the next time we go out. Haha!

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