Fine Dining Service: Procedures, Steps & Plan

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  • 0:04 Elevated Dining
  • 0:43 Fine Dining Plans
  • 1:55 Fine Dining Steps and…
  • 4:08 Being Your Best from…
  • 4:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Thinking about a job in fine dining? Even if you've worked in food service before, you may not be familiar with this distinct environment. In this lesson, you'll learn about the procedures and steps in the fine dinigng industry.

Elevated Dining

What kind of imagery comes to mind when you hear the term ''fine dining''? Maybe it's finely-appointed tables, servers in their best attire, or perhaps even relaxing music or lighting that sets the mood. Likely, you imagine a pricey dinner, too, but one that's well worth it because of the scrumptious food and sophisticated atmosphere you'll get to enjoy.

Behind the scenes, there's a lot that goes into making your fine dining experience everything you expect it to be. The smallest details, from the type of wine glasses chosen for the table to how a server greets you, can make or break your evening. How do employees at these elevated establishments go about their duties? Let's take a closer look at these establishments.

Fine Dining Plans

Fine dining isn't fast food or even a casual quick bite after work on Friday. Fine dining plans run the gamut from ''family'' to ''flying.'' Here are a few types of table service you may encounter.

Family service

Guests may order individual proteins, but share family-style sides and accompaniments that are passed from left to right around the table. Servers are usually on hand to assist throughout the meal.


Modeled after meals in English manor houses, this type of dining plan involves a server who portions food from a larger dish and serves each guest separately.


Guests in the American fine dining plan peruse menus and place their order with the kitchen preparing and plating the meal. A server brings the plated meal to the diners' table.


You may have seen this fancy dining plan on television or maybe you've been fortunate to witness it in person. Flying service utilizes servers who present food on serving trays, from which diners can select and eat. This is common at events where sitting at a table is not possible.


Like table-side service? Then French may be the plan for you. Food in this atmosphere is prepared right at diners' tables. Russian-style service is very similar, except the food is prepared in the kitchen with final touches made table-side.

Fine Dining Steps and Procedures

There's a lot more to the procedures and steps of fine dining service than meets the eye. Let's take a look at them one at a time.

1. Preparing the Table

Workers in a fine dining restaurant follow a set pattern for plates, cups, and utensils, including a clockwise pattern of wine and water glasses, spoons, knives, plates, forks, accompaniment plates, and dessert utensils. Place settings with more than one glass take on a square or diagonal placement on the right side of the dinner plate. Atop of the dinner plate is the diner's napkin.

Small details like handling glasses by the stem to eliminate fingerprints or folding napkins into more ornate designs help set these types of restaurant apart. Place settings that are not going to be used are typically removed from the table before the meal begins. Menus are opened and presented to diners. When taking orders, fine dining servers should know the ins and outs of the menu without looking at any notes and be able to make food and drink suggestions as necessary.

2. Serving Diners

Once the food is ready for the table, guests are served from their left with women being served before men. Most servers at these establishments will rotate the diner's plate so that the protein is closest to the diner, not any accompaniments. Servers should always remember which diner ordered what meal before serving the table. All diners should be served simultaneously, not staggered as food is ready. Servers in fine dining restaurants never reach across a diner to help another; instead, they move around the table.

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