Fine Dining Server Job Description
Fine Dining Servers are waiters and waitresses in upscale restaurants. Patrons at these places expect a high level of service because of the prices they are paying for the eating experience. Fine Dining Servers work to provide exceptional levels of customer satisfaction.
Hours for Fine Dining Servers vary according to when the establishment is open, and evening and weekend schedules are common. Like any waiter or waitress, Fine Dining Servers should expect to spend a great deal of time on their feet. They also need to be coordinated and sufficiently strong to move seamlessly around the area and carry items without incident. Employment of Fine Dining Servers, categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics under Waiters and Waitresses, is expected to increase 7 percent between 2016 and 2026. Competition for jobs at upscale establishments likely will remain high because of their higher earning potential.
Fine Dining Server Duties and Responsibilities
To accomplish their goal of providing diners with an outstanding experience, Fine Dining Servers take on a variety of duties. Based on our analysis of several job postings, these are some of the most common Fine Dining Server duties.
Learning the Menu
Fine Dining Servers must be experts on a restaurant’s offerings. When patrons inquire about food choices, Fine Dining Servers should be able to explain ingredients, preparation techniques and available substitutions. They know about daily specials or seasonal offerings not on the menu and convey information about these additional choices to the dining party. Fine Dining Servers also may offer suggestions to enhance the experience, such as which wine pairs well with a given entrée.
Fine Dining Servers take food and beverage orders from customers, deliver written requests to the kitchen for preparation, carry items to the table in the proper order, help the bus staff as needed with the removal of finished plates, refill drinks and collect payment when the meal is over.
Providing Customer Service
Whether a food item isn’t up to satisfaction, a guest drops his fork and needs another one or the air conditioning is too cold, Fine Dining Servers rectify the problem.
Upscale restaurants often have strict guidelines in order to keep operations flowing and service consistent. Fine Dining Servers are aware of these instructions and act accordingly. They also pay close attention to safety measures so that food does not inadvertently become contaminated or someone gets burned by a hot plate.
Seasoned Fine Dining Servers often assume the responsibility of getting new hires up to speed.
Fine Dining Server Skills
Good Fine Dining Servers embrace their role. They know their appearance, attitude and actions play a large part in creating a pleasant atmosphere. Thus, hiring managers search for candidates with these capabilities:
- Looking well-groomed and neatly dressed consistently to reflect positively on the employer
- Paying attention to detail, such as placing orders exactly to customer specifications
- Listening carefully to determine the desires of patrons and act accordingly, such as figuring out the right level of pinkness for a steak
- Maintaining politeness and positivity, especially when dealing with rude or disgruntled patrons
- Multitasking in order to serve the needs of various diners at the same time
- Interacting sufficiently with customers to build goodwill and attend to their needs, but also being sensitive about giving people their space
Fine Dining Server Education and Training
Though no formal education is required, most Fine Dining Servers possess at least a high school diploma. A culinary or college degree, however, can impress hiring managers at upscale restaurants and increase the chance of landing a position. Employers also look at past experience, so servers sometimes work at less prestigious restaurants first in order to build their resumes. All Fine Dining Servers can expect plenty of on-the-job training to ensure they know exactly what to do to best represent the restaurant and provide a quality experience for diners.
Fine Dining Server Salary
The BLS includes Fine Dining Servers under the category of Waiters and Waitresses. The median annual salary for waiters and waitresses is $19,900. Workers in the 10th percentile earn about $17,000 a year, and the highest paid make more than $38,000 a year. Waiters and Waitresses in Hawaii, Vermont and California make the highest median salaries in the U.S. – $34,230, $29,180 and $25,470, respectively. It should be noted that Fine Dining Servers rank among the best paid in the profession. Tips often get calculated based on a percentage of the bill, so expensive restaurants lend themselves to servers earning more.
Fine Dining Server Resources
Check out the following additional resources to learn even more about a career as a Fine Dining Server.
National Restaurant Association – The Careers section on the website of this leading industry organization offers information on training, education, scholarships and the future of working in the restaurant business.
Careers in the Restaurant Business by Institute for Career Research – Where do Fine Dining Servers fit in among the many careers in the restaurant industry? This book offers vocational guidance for prospective applicants.
Remarkable Service by The Culinary Institute of America – Respected industry-wide as a contemporary reference guide and refresher for food service professionals, this book offers straightforward advice on everything from setting tables to properly taking orders to dealing with customer complaints. Reviewers call it “easy to understand,” “comprehensive” and “helpful.”
Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter by Edmund Lawler – Want the inside scoop on what it takes to operate a successful restaurant? Renowned restaurateur Charlie Trotter knows all about the importance of customer service in upscale establishments. His tips and insight can help Fine Dining Servers anywhere develop into superstars.
Fine Dining Advising: The Ultimate Guidebook to Success by Franky Surroca – Ready to maximize your earning potential? The subtitle of this Kindle book is “how to make your tips, knowledge and hospitality skyrocket,” making it a great read for Fine Dining Servers wanting to do a spectacular job – and get rewarded for it.
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