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10 Steps of Service

waitress bringing food to guests seated on table in a fancy restaurant


The success of every restaurant lies in the manner in which it takes care of it's customers. Well trained staff will always deliver high quality service, hence improving customer experience and increasing revenue. Here are the 10 steps of service every waiter must know:

  1. Greet your Guests with a Smile
  2. Offer a Beverage
  3. Serve Beverages and Offer an Appetizer
  4. Take Food Order
  5. Serve Food
  6. Two-five minute Check Back
  7. Clear Plates and Glassware
  8. Suggest Desserts and After Dinner Drinks
  9. Present the Bill
  10. Collect Payment and Thank the Guests 

waitress talking to guests as they are seated on the table

Greeting your Guests with a Smile

Guests should be greeting immediately. They must be acknowledged within 30 seconds of arriving. Greet your guests with a genuine smile and a, "Welcome to ABC Restaurant". This is the time to also check the number of pax (covers) as well as whether they made a reservation or not. Follow your restaurant's procedure for guests with/ without reservations. 


John and Melissa, a couple celebrating their anniversary, step into the restaurant. They're greeted at the door by Alex, one of the restaurant's most personable waiters. Alex is already there, waiting with an open, welcoming posture and a genuine, bright smile that reaches his eyes—a clear signal that John and Melissa are entering a space where they're valued and will be taken care of.


Alex steps forward, making sure not to invade their personal space but close enough to convey warmth and attentiveness. He locks eyes with them, ensuring his smile is natural and engaging, not just a professional courtesy but a genuine expression of welcome.

"Good evening, and welcome to La Bella Vista," Alex greets them cheerfully, his tone upbeat yet soothing. "We're thrilled to have you with us tonight. May I know your name for the reservation?"

As Melissa responds, "It's under Melissa Turner," Alex maintains eye contact, nods attentively, and responds with a warmth that makes them feel recognized and expected, "Ah, yes, Ms. Turner! We've been expecting you. Happy anniversary! Allow me to lead you to your table. I hope you'll enjoy a memorable evening with us."

Why It Works:

  1. Immediate Acknowledgment: Acknowledging guests as soon as they enter sets a welcoming tone for their entire dining experience.


  1. Personal Touch: Using their names and acknowledging the special occasion adds a personal touch that makes guests feel special and valued.


  1. Non-Verbal Cues: A genuine smile and direct eye contact communicate friendliness and openness, making guests feel at ease and welcomed.


  1. Professionalism and Warmth: The combination of a professional greeting with a warm, friendly demeanor strikes the perfect balance between high standards of service and a personal, inviting atmosphere.


By executing this first step with sincerity and attentiveness, Alex not only makes a great first impression but also sets the stage for an enjoyable dining experience that John and Melissa are likely to remember and share with others. This initial interaction is a testament to the restaurant's commitment to excellence in service, starting with a simple yet powerful gesture: a genuine smile.


Offer a Beverage

As soon as your guests are seated, introduce yourself and offer them something to drink. In some restaurants, you may be required to pour water for your guests. "My name is... and I'll be your waitron today. May I offer your something to drink? A beer, cocktail, etc." Don't waste time and wait for guests to call you back to order drinks!


A group of four friends, eager for a much-needed catch-up, find their seats at a cozy corner table of your restaurant. They're still buzzing with the warmth of their greetings, settling in, and admiring the ambiance. Sara, an experienced and observant waitress at your establishment, approaches the table with a poised and friendly demeanor.


Sara arrives at the table, her approach timed perfectly—not too hurried to make them feel rushed, yet prompt enough to show attentiveness. She greets them with a smile, making eye contact with each member of the group, reinforcing the welcoming atmosphere established at the entrance.

"Good evening, everyone! I'm Sara, and I'll be taking care of you tonight," she begins, her voice carrying a blend of warmth and professionalism. "Can I start you off with something to drink? We have a special house cocktail tonight—the Citrus Breeze, and of course, a variety of non-alcoholic options as well."

As she speaks, Sara places the drink menus in front of each guest, briefly highlighting a couple of popular choices without overwhelming them with information. Her tone is inviting, encouraging questions or requests for recommendations.

One of the friends expresses interest in the house special, while another asks for a recommendation for a non-alcoholic drink. Sara responds with enthusiasm, suggesting the Mango Sparkler, a refreshing choice popular among guests. She takes their orders confidently, reassuring them that their drinks will be out shortly.

Why It Works

  1. Timely Approach: Sara's prompt approach to offering beverages lets the guests know that their needs are a priority, setting a positive pace for the evening.


  1. Personal Introduction: Introducing herself by name personalizes the service, making guests feel more comfortable and attended to.


  1. Engaging Options: By mentioning a special and providing a personal recommendation, Sara adds value to their experience, making the choice of beverages feel curated rather than routine.


  1. Efficiency and Assurance: Taking their orders efficiently and assuring quick service demonstrates respect for their time and a commitment to ensuring a seamless dining experience.


This example illustrates the impact of offering a beverage promptly and thoughtfully. It's not just about quenching thirst; it's an opportunity to engage with guests, understand their preferences, and set the tone for an enjoyable and memorable meal. Sara's attentive and personalized approach ensures that the guests feel valued and excited for the rest of their dining experience.

waiter serving drinks to guests as part of the 10 steps of service

This is the time to also present the menus. Mention specials and out-of-stock items.


Serve Beverages and Offer an Appetizer

Serve the beverages without delay. Drinks should be delivered within 5 minutes of being ordered. Offer to pour drinks for your guests. This is also the time to offer an appetizer. Drinks should always be served on the clean tray.



Imagine a couple, Anna and Marco, visiting your restaurant for a quiet dinner. They've just been warmly greeted and have ordered drinks based on your server's recommendations. They're looking forward to a relaxing evening, enjoying each other's company over good food and drinks. Mia, their attentive server, returns to the table with their beverages—a glass of red wine for Marco and a signature mocktail for Anna.


Mia serves the drinks with a graceful flair, placing them on the table with a smile. "Here we are," she announces cheerfully, "a classic Cabernet for you, Marco, and our Sunset Serenade mocktail for Anna. I hope you'll enjoy them!"

After ensuring the drinks are to their liking, Mia seamlessly transitions to the next step. "While you're settling in, may I suggest a couple of our favorite appetizers to start with? Our chef's special this evening is the seared scallops with a citrus herb sauce, and our bruschetta trio is always a hit for something light and flavorful. They pair wonderfully with your drinks."

Mia's suggestions come with a brief description, enticing but not overwhelming, showing her knowledge of the menu and her ability to match the couple's drink choices with complementary appetizers. Her tone is enthusiastic yet relaxed, inviting curiosity rather than pushing for an immediate decision.

Why It Works

  1. Smooth Transition: Mia bridges the serving of beverages to suggesting appetizers smoothly, keeping the flow of the dining experience seamless and engaging.


  1. Knowledgeable Recommendations: By suggesting appetizers that complement the drinks, Mia demonstrates her menu knowledge, making the dining experience more curated and thoughtful.


  1. Guest Engagement: Engaging the guests with appetizer options shortly after serving drinks keeps their interest piqued and makes them feel taken care of without rushing their decision-making process.


  1. Creating Anticipation: Briefly describing the appetizers creates anticipation for the meal ahead, enhancing the overall dining experience from the start.


This approach by Mia not only showcases the restaurant's commitment to excellent service but also enhances Anna and Marco's dining experience by making them feel valued and excited about their meal choices. By thoughtfully suggesting appetizers that complement their drinks, Mia sets the stage for an enjoyable and memorable dining experience, reinforcing the importance of each step in the service process.

waiter serving appetizers to guests in a fancy restaurant

Take Food Order

Take food order, starting with the ladies. You should have intimate knowledge of your menu and be able to guide your guests. You should also be able to answer any questions pertaining to the meals. Remember to repeat the order. 



Consider a family of five, with parents and three young children, dining in your restaurant for a special occasion. They've enjoyed their appetizers and are now ready to order their main courses. Rachel, their server, approaches the table with a friendly and confident demeanor, ready to assist them in selecting their meals.


Rachel arrives at the table, notepad in hand, and smiles warmly at the family. "I hope you enjoyed the appetizers. Are we ready to think about the main courses?" she asks, making sure to engage the entire table in the conversation, including the children, which adds a personal touch.

Before taking their orders, Rachel offers insights into the menu, highlighting a couple of dishes that are popular among families and explaining the chef's special for the evening. She also mentions which dishes can be adjusted for children's tastes, showcasing her attentiveness to the needs of all guests.

As she takes each person's order, starting with the children to make them feel involved, Rachel demonstrates her deep knowledge of the menu. When one of the parents inquires about a particular dish, Rachel describes its preparation and ingredients in detail, even suggesting a modification to suit their preference for less spice.

After taking all the orders, Rachel repeats them back to the family to confirm accuracy, ensuring that every detail is correct. "So, that's two of our grilled salmon with a side of asparagus, one chicken alfredo pasta with the spice toned down, and for the little ones, we have the mac and cheese and a cheeseburger cut in halves. Does that sound right?"

Why It Works

  1. Personal Engagement: Rachel's approach to involve each family member, especially the children, personalizes the dining experience and makes the guests feel valued and respected.


  1. Menu Expertise: Offering detailed descriptions and answering questions confidently demonstrates Rachel's expertise, which helps build trust and makes guests feel more comfortable with their choices.


  1. Customization Offers: By suggesting modifications and understanding dietary preferences, Rachel caters to the individual needs of the guests, enhancing their dining experience through personalization.


  1. Order Confirmation: Repeating the orders back to the guests for confirmation minimizes errors and communicates a commitment to getting every detail right, reinforcing the guests' positive impression of the service.


This example highlights how expertly taking a food order goes beyond merely recording what guests want to eat—it's about engaging with them, understanding their preferences, and contributing to an overall dining experience that feels personalized, attentive, and memorable. Through Rachel's knowledgeable and thoughtful interaction, the family not only feels taken care of but also more excited about the meal to come, anticipating a dining experience that has been tailored to their tastes and needs.

waiter writing down food orders from guests in a restaurant in Camps Bay

Serve Food

Bring food immediately when it is ready. Serve ladies first. If the table has kids, offer to bring the kids' meals earlier. The same goes with older guests. Warn your guests if the plates are hot. After you finish serving, check if everybody has the correct item.


Serve from the left/ right in accordance to your restaurant policy. The general rule is if you are serving from the left, use your left hand and if you are serving from the right, use your right hand.  Also make sure that the table has the correct condiments for the dishes served. Be available in case the customer may need a condiment that you did not bring. For example, some customers may ask for mayonnaise with their French fries instead of tomato sauce. 


This is also the time when you can also offer beverage refills. Feel free to recommend a even a drink they were not having. A good waitron is a good sales person. Most restaurants conduct waiter training to help you perform effectively and efficiently in your job. 


A business group of six is dining at your upscale restaurant, discussing important deals over dinner. They've ordered a variety of dishes, some with specific modifications due to dietary restrictions. Kevin, their server, is well-prepared to handle the complexity of the order with grace and precision.


As the kitchen notifies Kevin that the group's meals are ready, he conducts a quick final check with the chef to ensure all modifications have been accurately applied. With the help of a fellow server, Kevin begins to serve the food, starting with the guests who have dietary restrictions, to avoid any confusion.

"Here we have the gluten-free seared tuna salad, prepared as requested," Kevin announces as he places the dish in front of one of the diners, making sure to use his right hand for serving from the diner's left side, adhering to proper service etiquette. He then moves on to serve the vegan mushroom risotto to another guest, similarly announcing the dish to reassure the guest of the attention to their dietary needs.

For each dish, Kevin briefly describes the key ingredients and preparation method, adding an extra touch of engagement and enhancing the dining experience. He makes sure to ask if everything looks satisfactory before moving to the next course, ensuring any additional requests can be promptly addressed.

After all the dishes have been served, Kevin takes a moment to scan the table, making sure that every guest has the correct dish and that all the necessary accompaniments are present. He then reassures the group, "I'll be nearby if you need anything else or if there's anything I can adjust for you."

Why It Works

  1. Attention to Detail: By double-checking orders with the kitchen and carefully serving each dish, Kevin demonstrates a high level of attention to detail, crucial for guests with dietary restrictions.


  1. Proper Serving Etiquette: Adhering to the right serving etiquette not only showcases professionalism but also ensures that the service is smooth and non-intrusive, enhancing the overall dining ambiance.


  1. Clear Communication: Announcing each dish as it's served, especially when modifications are involved, reassures guests that their preferences and needs have been met, building trust and satisfaction.


  1. Guest Engagement: Briefly describing dishes and checking for satisfaction shows Kevin's engagement and commitment to providing a memorable dining experience, encouraging positive feedback and repeat visits.


Kevin's careful and thoughtful approach to serving the food not only meets but exceeds the expectations of the business group, reinforcing the restaurant's reputation for outstanding service and attention to detail. By serving food with care, Kevin contributes significantly to creating an enjoyable and hassle-free dining experience, leaving a lasting impression on the guests.

Two-five minute Check Back

Within two-five minutes, come back to the table and check if everything is good. Clear unnecessary plates and glassware. This is important so that you can verify the quality if the food. Sometimes when customers start eating, they may need some condiments. If there are any problems or complaints, they can be resolved immediately. If the guest complains about the meal, apologize, take it away and fix it immediately. 


Linda and her family are dining out to celebrate her promotion. They've just been served their main courses, each looking more delicious than the last. As they begin to dive into their meals, Julia, their attentive server, is preparing to execute the perfect check-back to make sure everything is as delightful as it looks.


Julia gives the family a couple of minutes to taste their dishes, carefully timing her approach to ensure she doesn't interrupt a mid-bite moment. As she returns to the table, she does so with a friendly demeanor, ready to gauge their initial reactions and address any potential issues swiftly.

"I hope you're all enjoying your meals. How is everything tasting for you?" Julia inquires, directing her question to the table at large while making eye contact with each family member to invite individual feedback. This open-ended question is key; it's not just a courtesy but a genuine inquiry into their satisfaction.

Linda mentions that everything is fantastic, but her youngest, who ordered the chicken, hasn't touched his meal. Upon noticing this, Julia immediately shifts her attention to the child, kneeling down to his level with a smile. "Is there something else you'd like instead of the chicken, or can we get you some extra sauce that might make it yummier for you?" she offers, demonstrating not only sensitivity to the child's preferences but also a proactive stance in ensuring his dining experience is just as enjoyable.

After a brief discussion, they decide on getting some extra sauce. Julia assures them it will be out in just a moment and reiterates, "If there's anything else I can do to make your meal more enjoyable, please don't hesitate to let me know."

Why It Works

  1. Timely Follow-Up: Julia's check-back is perfectly timed—not too soon, yet early enough to catch any issues before the guests are too far into their meal.


  1. Open-Ended Inquiry: By asking an open-ended question, Julia encourages honest feedback, opening the door to addressing any concerns that may not be immediately apparent.


  1. Personalized Attention: Julia's direct engagement with the youngest diner shows a personalized approach to service, recognizing that happy children are key to a family's dining experience.


  1. Proactive Problem-Solving: Offering solutions on the spot demonstrates Julia's commitment to guest satisfaction, ensuring that even small hiccups don't overshadow the celebration.


This scenario showcases the importance of a well-timed check-back in enhancing the dining experience. By attentively addressing guests' needs and showing genuine concern for their satisfaction, Julia reinforces the restaurant's commitment to quality service, turning even potential issues into opportunities for positive guest interactions.

Clear Plates and Glassware

When guests are finished, clear plates from the table with minimum disturbance. Do not start clearing when some guests are still eating. This may be seen as rude. Clear according to your restaurant's standards and policy. 


Offer Desserts and After Dinner Drinks

You may need to crumb the table down. This is the opportunity for you to suggest desserts. Here are examples:

  • "May I delight you with our amazing, freshly baked carrot cake or malva pudding with vanilla ice cream?". 
  • "How about an Amarula dom pedro to finish off your meal?"
  • "A double shot of cognac (nightcap) will ensure a peaceful sleep for you sir"




A group of old college friends are enjoying a reunion dinner at your restaurant. They've laughed and reminisced over a sumptuous meal and now seem to be winding down, looking satisfied yet open to what the evening has yet to offer. Elena, their server, approaches with a timing that feels natural, ready to guide them through a sweet finale.


Elena, with a friendly smile and a tone that matches the table’s relaxed and happy mood, starts, "I hope you've enjoyed your meals and the time together. May I interest you in our dessert menu? Our pastry chef has outdone themselves with seasonal creations that are the perfect end to your meal."

She highlights a couple of dessert options, describing them in a way that makes them sound irresistible. "Our raspberry chocolate fondant is a favorite—it's rich, with a heart of molten chocolate and a refreshing raspberry coulis. Or, if you're looking for something lighter, our lemon tart with a side of homemade vanilla bean ice cream is absolutely delightful."

Noticing their interest, Elena smoothly transitions to after-dinner drinks, "And perhaps a round of our signature espresso martinis or a classic digestif to complement your dessert? They're the perfect way to extend this wonderful evening."

Why It Works

  1. Seamless Transition: Elena introduces the idea of desserts and drinks at a moment when the guests are most receptive, seamlessly moving from the main meal to the idea of a sweet conclusion.


  1. Engaging Descriptions: Her vivid descriptions of the desserts and drinks evoke imagery and flavors, tempting the guests to indulge further.


  1. Customized Recommendations: By suggesting items based on the tone and progression of the meal, Elena shows a personalized approach to service, enhancing the guests’ dining experience.


  1. Creating an Experience: The suggestion of desserts and after-dinner drinks isn't just about extending the meal; it's about enriching the overall experience, giving the guests more time to enjoy their reunion in a relaxed, enjoyable setting.


Elena’s approach not only showcases the restaurant's offerings but also demonstrates an understanding of the guests' needs for a memorable evening. By thoughtfully suggesting desserts and after-dinner drinks, she adds an extra layer of satisfaction to their reunion, contributing to lasting memories of a meal that was perfectly rounded off with sweetness and warmth.

waitress presenting desserts to guests

Present the Bill

When your guests are done, check if they would like anything else. Do no ask if you can bring the bill; they may feel like you are chasing them away. Present the bill as per your company procedure and confirm method of payment. 


A couple celebrating their anniversary has just finished their desserts and after-dinner drinks, basking in the glow of a romantic evening. They’ve shared laughs, exchanged gifts, and are now sitting back, relishing the final moments of their special night. Michael, their server, understands the importance of timing and discretion in presenting the bill, aiming to maintain the evening’s enchantment.


Michael, who has been attentive throughout the night without being intrusive, spots a natural pause in their conversation. He approaches the table with the same warmth and professionalism he’s shown all evening. With a soft smile, he gently places a small, discreet folder at the edge of the table, nearest to the person who had earlier requested the check with a subtle gesture.

“Please take your time, there’s no rush at all,” Michael whispers, ensuring his voice doesn’t break the intimate atmosphere they're enjoying. “And may I say, it’s been a pleasure having you both this evening. If there’s anything else you need or have questions about, I’m here for you.”

Why It Works

  1. Discretion and Timing: Michael’s decision to wait for a natural break in the conversation before presenting the bill shows a high level of discretion and respect for the couple’s experience.


  1. Non-Intrusive Placement: Placing the bill folder discreetly on the table without announcing it allows the couple to continue their evening unhurried, maintaining the romantic ambiance.


  1. Warm, Respectful Acknowledgment: His gentle acknowledgment of the special occasion and the offer of further assistance adds a personal touch, reinforcing the exceptional service they’ve received throughout the meal.


This approach ensures that the act of presenting the bill does not disrupt the dining experience but rather complements it, embodying the restaurant's commitment to customer care and attention to detail. Michael’s tactful handling of this final step exemplifies how a thoughtful, discreet approach to service can leave a lasting positive impression, making the guests feel valued and respected right up to the moment they leave.

Take Payment and Thank the Guests

Take payment as per your restaurant procedure and thank the guests. Hopefully you got a good gratuity (TIP) for your excellent service. 


At a bustling bistro, a group of four friends has just concluded their meal with a round of desserts and coffee. They've shared stories and laughter, clearly enjoying their time together. As they signal for the bill, Natasha, their server, is ready to close their evening on a high note, demonstrating the bistro's appreciation for their patronage.


Natasha returns to the table with the bill already discreetly enclosed in a tasteful folder, which she had presented moments earlier. Seeing that one of the guests is ready with a credit card, she gently retrieves the folder, ensuring the transaction can be as swift and smooth as possible.

"I'll take care of this right away for you," she says with a warm smile, maintaining her professional and friendly demeanor. Within a minute, Natasha is back at the table, credit card and receipt in hand. She places them back in the folder, laying it down with care.

"As always, it was truly a pleasure having you all with us tonight. We're so glad you chose to spend your evening here," Natasha expresses genuinely, her tone conveying appreciation. "We look forward to welcoming you back soon. Have a wonderful night!"

Why It Works

  1. Efficiency and Discretion: Natasha's prompt and discreet handling of the payment process respects the guests' time and privacy, making the transaction feel seamless.


  1. Personalized Gratitude: Her personalized farewell message, thanking the guests for choosing the bistro and expressing eagerness for their return, adds a personal touch that guests will remember.


  1. Professionalism Throughout: Natasha's consistent professionalism, from greeting to goodbye, reinforces the high standard of service, ensuring the guests' final moments at the bistro are as positive as their arrival.


This approach to collecting payment and expressing gratitude not only completes the dining experience on a positive note but also strengthens the guests' connection to the establishment. Natasha’s genuine appreciation for their patronage, combined with the seamless handling of the transaction, leaves the guests feeling valued and encouraged to return, demonstrating how thoughtful service can turn a simple meal into a memorable experience.

waitress taking card payment from guests after a good meal

Here are some extra tips to better your restaurant service:

  • After taking an order, repeat it back to the customers. This gives them confidence in you, and studies show can result in bigger tips.
  • Learn proper table service manners: serve from the left, remove from the right; beverages poured from the right as the cups and glasses are always on the right; glasses never picked up when filling; bring fresh wine glasses with every new wine; and MANY others... Books written on this subject include "The Main Course on Table Service". Get one and read it.
  • Learn the correct way to set a table: forks left, knives right, napkin, coffee/teacup handles at 5 o'clock with teaspoons parallel to the handle... etc.
  • When clearing a table do it quietly as not to disturb the diners at other tables.
  • If you have spare time: If two people are sitting at a table and one goes to the restroom or excuses her- or himself for a moment, and if the other person looks even slightly uncomfortable or awkward sitting alone, go by and make small talk until the partner comes back or as long as you can before another table needs attention. (Do not fail to keep an eye on other tables while doing this.)
  • Even if not required in training, memorize the menu cover to cover ASAP. Talk to the kitchen to familiarize yourself with any specials. Taste sauces if possible.
  • If you are not busy at the moment and notice a customer at another table is in need of something, assist them. If you help out your fellow waiters, they will be more likely to help you out as well. Good service (no matter who provides it) will ensure that customers will come back - that's keeping your paychecks coming.
  • Striking up friendly chat is usually recommended, but keep it short and bear in mind that some customers desire privacy more than others and may become irritated by intrusions.
  • Customers can boil up and become upset over the most minuscule things, such as the wrong drink order. When this happens, stay calm and correct the situation and apologize to the customer. You may find the LEADS policy helpful:
  • Listen to the customer's complaint.
  • Empathize with the concern ("I know it can be frustrating when you get the wrong order...").
  • Apologize personally for the problem, even if it isn't your fault.
  • Do what it takes to make it right with the customer, such as offering a free appetizer or other cheap item, or reducing the bill (check with your manager).
  • Stand by your promise.
  • Never tell a customer you will do something or "be right back" and not do it. Do not promise to do something, anything, and not do it.
  • Interaction and cooperation among co-workers is crucial in the speed of the deliverance of food. Be kind to others, though they may be sour.
  • Answering the phone may be part of the waiter's job. Clearly speak into the receiver to be understood, and make sure you understand what the customer wants. Always write down the customer's phone number.
  • Use caution when writing down orders.
  • Remember good drinks and quick service = good mood = good tips. Try your hardest to keep their water/tea glasses filled without being intrusive.
  • Even when having pleasant conversation with co-workers, face your tables so you can see if they motion or start looking for something. If customers see you with your back turned, chit-chatting with a friend, they are more likely to be annoyed and feel they are not receiving good service.
  • Keep a spare shirt or tie at the restaurant. Accidents happen and a sloppy waiter is not good for the appetite.
  • If someone forgot to make tea and there is only enough for half a glass or a little more, add more ice and fill the rest with water. Customers appreciate fast service more than anything. Go back and start the tea. If they notice the tea is weak (most won't), tell them you will start a fresh brew just for them.
  • Don't give each table the same speech. It's much more personal that way.
  • When serving couples, always take the woman's order first.
  • Smile A LOT! Depending on the environment you work in, make jokes, small talk etc. to keep the mood light and friendly.
  • If a customer complains, don't try to blame it on the cooks, hostess, or anyone else. Simply apologize and work to resolve the problem. Check with the manager before offering discounts, comped meals, etc... If the customer is still not satisfied, ask if they would like to speak to the manager.
  • When you get busy, make sure to let new tables know you will be with them in just a minute. Don't get frantic, trust me, you'll start forgetting things.
  • Never talk about how long of a day you've had or complain to customers or coworkers. No one wants to hear it. Leave your problems at the door and fake a smile if you have to.
  • Be polite, call men Sir and women Ma'am or Miss.
  • Interact with the kids. Parents love it. If children are becoming rowdy or irritable, offer to bring them crayons, paper, crackers, something to keep them busy. The parents will often be very grateful.
  • Plates and silverware should always be brought before food arrives. You can to this when you greet the table, or after you have brought the drinks.
  • Once you get into a routine, stick with it. Analyze it frequently to see if there's anything you can to more efficiently.
  • Learn the menu, the ingredients and the cooking processes. Customers ask weird questions sometimes and if you don't know the answer, be sure to ask someone who does...most likely your manager.
  • Be friendly with your co-workers, bartenders, cooks, busboys. If they like you, they'll help you out more and make you job so much easier.
  • Stay alert for refills, customers trying to get your attention, frowns from guests, dropped silverware, spills, empty plates etc.
  • If the restaurant you work at does not give free refills, but a customer asks for one, be sure to inform them and ask if they would like another anyway.


Did you find this helpful? Please comment. 

waiter training on 10 steps of service

Are you running a restaurant and looking to better the service or are you working in a restaurant as a waitron? Where are you based? Is it a standalone restaurant or is it in a hotel, resort or lodge? Talk to us if you need fine dining waiter training at your establishment. We offer on-site training countrywide.

Spotlight on Samkeliso Nkwanyane | Hospitality Expert Consultant & Trainer


And there you have it, a full-service guide to making every dining experience a standout one, passionately presented by Samkeliso Nkwanyane. Who is Sam, you ask? Well, let me tell you, he's not just anyone. Sam is a beacon of knowledge in the hospitality industry, with over 23 years of experience under his belt. In 2011, he took a giant leap by starting his own hospitality consultancy and training company, driven by a mission to elevate industry standards, enhance guest experiences, and boost ROI. His expertise isn't just sought after in South Africa; it spans across various countries, benefiting Resorts, Hotels, Safari Lodges, Restaurants, and other hospitality businesses.

Sam's approach is hands-on and results-driven, focusing on practical strategies that bring about tangible improvements. Whether it's through customized training sessions, operational assessments, or strategic consultancy, he's all about adding value and making a lasting impact.

So, why does his endorsement matter? Because when someone with Sam's background shares insights, you know you're getting advice that's not just theoretical but grounded in decades of real-world experience. Following the steps outlined in this guide, under Sam's expert eye, is like having a roadmap to success in the highly competitive hospitality industry.

Interested in transforming your business with Sam's touch? Whether it's refining your service steps, enhancing overall guest satisfaction, or anything in between, he's your go-to expert. Reach out to him via email at training@hospitalitycourses.co.za, or give him a buzz on WhatsApp at +27-82-765-9238. It's an opportunity to bring excellence to your doorstep, directly from a seasoned professional who knows the industry inside out.

By embracing the essence of top-notch service, as detailed in our guide, and possibly getting Samkeliso Nkwanyane on board, your establishment isn't just offering meals; you're crafting experiences that linger long after the last bite. Remember, in the grand tapestry of hospitality, it's the nuances of service that can elevate your brand from good to unforgettable.

Ready to embark on this transformative journey? Sam and the principles of exceptional service await. Let's make dining not just an activity, but an experience to cherish.


Q: How can Sam's consultancy help a new restaurant?

A: Sam's consultancy can assist a new restaurant in setting a solid foundation for success. This includes everything from designing a service blueprint that exceeds guest expectations to training staff and implementing best practices in customer service. His experience can help avoid common pitfalls and accelerate the journey towards becoming a sought-after dining destination.

Q: What sets Sam apart from other hospitality consultants?

A: It's his hands-on experience, tailored approach, and comprehensive understanding of both local and international hospitality landscapes. Plus, Sam's commitment to not just meeting but exceeding industry standards makes him a valuable ally to any hospitality business aiming for excellence.

Feel free to drop any more questions or if you need further assistance. Sam and the steps to elevating your restaurant's service game are just an email or call away!