Mind your manners for a positive dining room experience

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Make a good impression with courteous consistency that puts guests at ease.

Who says etiquette doesn’t matter? Well-trained food and nutrition services team members play a critical role in guest satisfaction, and their good manners create a positive dining experience.

The little things people might not notice at first add up. Having a dining room ready for service makes a good first impression and leads to a lasting impression that pays off.

A correctly set table, clean chairs, crisp table coverings, appealing dinnerware, spot-free glasses and utensils will set the table for success.

Add comfort with consistency

Seal the deal with service etiquette that expands on that consistency and improves the dining experience. Guests are comfortable and eat better when they know what to expect. Here are some steps for proper service etiquette:

  • Serve food from the guest’s left side, with your left hand. 
  • Serve beverages from the guest’s right side, with your right hand. 
  • If the situation calls for something different, just remember:
    • When serving from the left of the guest, use your left hand. 
    • When serving from the right of the guest, use your right hand. 
  • Clear food and beverages from the guest’s right side. 
  • Never reach in front or over a guest while serving. 
  • Say “excuse me” before serving or clearing. 
  • Place an entrée plate with the main protein closest to the guest.
  • Always be courteous. Do not interrupt guests’ conversations.
  • Ask the guest if you “may remove” uneaten foods. Ask if they would prefer something else to eat.
  • Seek help from team members and be willing to assist your team as needed.
  • Do everything you can to say yes if a guest makes a special request. 

Make guests aware of choices

Everyone has different preferences, so it’s best to offer choices when possible. Here are things to consider:

  • Don’t assume guests will always want the same thing, day after day.
  • It’s a mistake to pre-pour coffee because the guest regularly drinks it.
    • Offering choices can reduce food waste.
  • Be flexible and accommodate requests when possible.
    • Individual mealtime habits may differ greatly.

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