What Fine Dining Patrons Look For: From Restaurant Linen to Customer Service
From exceptional customer service to top-shelf wine and spirits, there is a cocktail of elements that goes into creating the perfect fine dining experience for your guests. When striving for the highest quality service, it is important to pay close attention to detail. Everything from the cleanliness of the staff uniforms down to the quality of the table linen must be of the highest standard.
While this may seem like a tricky task, following this simple guide will provide you with all the information you need to take your restaurant to the next level and impress even the most meticulous of guests.
Quality Table Linen
Paying close attention to small details can mean the difference between a subpar restaurant and a fine dining experience.
One way that you can elevate your restaurant is by styling your table using the finest table linen.
An empty table with no place setting is a clear indicator that the service will be causal. By simply adding a crisp, white tablecloth topped with shiny silverware, you are informing your guests that they can expect to receive a high-quality level of service.
Formal Table Setting
Follow these steps to create a formal, fine dining dinner table setting:
Start by placing a freshly ironed tablecloth on the table Place a serving plate in the centre of the place setting A bread plate should be placed to the top left of the serving plate. Place a butter knife on top of the bread plate with the blade facing down, and the handle towards the right Silverware on the left side of the serving plate begins with the salad fork on the outside and the dinner fork on the inside Silverware on the right side of the serving plate, from the inside out, will consist of a dinner knife, salad knife, soup spoon and teaspoon All flatware should be evenly spaced, and the bottoms should line up with the bottom of the serving plate The dessert spoon should be placed directly above the serving plate, in horizontal alignment with the handle towards the right Place a water glass above the dinner knife Place the white wine glass below the water glass and position it slightly to the right Place the red wine glass above the white wine glass and position it slightly to the right A cup and saucer should be placed above the soup spoon and slightly to the right
Formal Table Linen
It is important to choose high-quality linen for your table. This is because table linen needs to be able to survive spills, stains and frequent washes so you need good quality fabrics that won’t fall apart or become threadbare after the second wash.
Table linen is an investment - you’re paying not only for a piece of cloth but also for the aesthetic and experience it provides.
Ensure that you choose table linen that matches your restaurant's colour scheme to create a cohesive style within your restaurant.
At Stalbridge Linen, we offer high-quality table linen in a range of colours and styles, including classic black and white, red, biscuit and buttermilk.
Staff members often greet their guests at the door so their interaction is crucial in setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
If staff members' uniforms are mismatched and coated in stains, guests will be left with poor expectations for the rest of their night.
This is why it is important to create a cohesive uniform, using high-quality clothes that can withstand the challenges that come with working around food.
In most fine dining restaurants, servers will wear black and white uniforms. These are traditional waitstaff uniforms. Black and white is a classic colour scheme that does not take away from the overall ambience of the restaurant.
Black and white are also easy for guests to identify staff members at the restaurant, so staff can provide quick and efficient service should their guests need assistance.
Staff members must be fully equipped with the correct uniform to enable them to perform their duties at the optimum level. These are the typical uniforms for waiting staff and chefs:
Chefs must wear a double-breasted chef jacket which provides an additional layer of protection from heat or any hoot splashes. The material is often made from heavy cotton or a polyester and cotton mix as this allows extra breathability.
The chef’s jacket should be paired with chef trousers. Typically, chef trousers are designed to have a black and white checked pattern, however, some chefs opt for trousers with a more simplistic design.
It is a good idea for chefs to wear an apron over the top of their uniforms to provide an additional layer of protection against heat or flames.
Chefs must wear durable and comfortable footwear as they will be on their feet for hours at a time.
Finally, chefs should wear a traditional chef hat to prevent hair or bacteria from contaminating food.
Waiting Staff Uniform
Generally, a waiter in a restaurant should wear a white shirt, black trousers, black shoes and a tie. While this will vary from restaurant to restaurant, it is important that the uniform is clean and fits well.
Quality Customer Service
One of the most important factors that contribute to a fine dining experience, is the quality of customer service provided.
Even if your restaurant provides five-star worthy dishes presented on crisp table linen, if the customer service is poor, guests will leave feeling disappointed with their experience.
Here are some tips for providing fine dining service:
- Provide a warm welcome when guests arrive
- Quick service at all fronts - from being seated to receiving the cheque and everything in between
- A pleasant and comfortable atmosphere
- High-quality food
- Easy payment methods
A pre-fixe menu is a menu that offers a full meal at a set rate. Typically, this means that diners get three courses consisting of a starter, main and dessert. Diners choose from multiple options for each of the three courses, but the price remains the same no matter the selection.
This allows for much more accurate forecasting of food items needed and price per head.
These are some tips for creating the perfect pre-fixe menu for your guests:
- Put best-selling dishes on the pre-fixe menu - Figure out which of your items sell the most, and create a prix fixe menu that incorporates those dishes
- Follow the “three of each” rule - There should be at least three varied offerings per section to give guests more choice with their meals, but refrain from providing too much choice so diners aren’t overwhelmed
- Include vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options - Ensure that you are providing an inclusive service by offering vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Guests with a restricted diet will appreciate the thoughtfulness that you have put into your dishes when you cater for them too
- Be timely - Pacing your pre-fixe menu is critical. Food should arrive at leisurely and well-timed intervals so guests never feel too full. Avoid awkward delays so guests feel fully engaged throughout the entire meal
- Cohesion - Ensure that all dishes are cohesive to create continuity throughout the courses. Try basing the meal on the season, a region or a certain mix of flavours
- Smaller portions - Fine dining restaurants often go by the phrase ‘less is more’ by providing smaller portions but more courses. When there are smaller portions but more courses, diners get to try more dishes without being full, meaning that they get more out of the experience than they typically would
Top-Shelf Wine and Spirits
Top-shelf wine and spirits are the more expensive, carefully selected wine that is kept on the top shelves of bars.
Providing top-shelf drinks demonstrates that the restaurant is willing to go above and beyond to cater to its guests.
Top-shelf wine is often wine selected from different countries at varying prices.
South west laundry: Tablecloth Rental and Linen Napkin Hire
If you are looking to elevate your restaurant and create a fine dining experience for your guests, look no further than Stalbridge Linen.
AtSouth West Laundry, we are the leading table linen company offering a number of products and services to take your restaurant to the next level.
The services we provide include hire table cloths, crisp commercial linen, high-quality chef’s uniforms and so much more.
With over 40 years of experience in the industry and a team of linen experts, we are more than equipped to provide flawless service every time.
For additional information on the services we provide or to get in touch with a member of our friendly team, contact us here today.