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The 12 Steps of Service in Restaurants: Elevating the Dining Experience

the 12 steps of service in restaurants

In the bustling world of the restaurant industry, the quality of service is just as crucial as the food on the plate. As dining out becomes more of an experience rather than a necessity, restaurants are continually seeking ways to elevate their service standards. A well-structured service sequence can transform a simple meal into an unforgettable experience. The "12 Steps of Service" is a comprehensive approach that ensures every guest feels valued, respected, and eager to return. Let's dive into these twelve essential steps that can set any restaurant apart in the competitive hospitality landscape.

  • Step# 1. Warm Welcome
  • Step# 2. Seating and Comfort
  • Step# 3. Menu Presentation
  • Step# 4. Beverage Service
  • Step# 5. Taking Orders
  • Step# 6. Table Maintenance
  • Step# 7. Food Service
  • Step# 8. Check-Back for Satisfaction
  • Step# 9. Offering Desserts and Coffee
  • Step# 10. Presenting the Bill
  • Step# 11. Farewell
  • Step# 12. Follow Up


Step# 1. Warm Welcome

First impressions are lasting. Greeting guests with a warm, genuine welcome the moment they step into the restaurant sets the tone for their entire dining experience. This includes acknowledging them promptly and courteously, regardless of how busy the establishment is.

Tips on Welcoming

Creating a warm welcome for your customers in a restaurant is pivotal in setting the tone for their entire dining experience. This first impression can significantly influence their overall satisfaction and their likelihood of becoming repeat customers. Here are some effective tips on how to warmly welcome your customers in restaurants:

Smile Genuinely

A smile is universal and welcoming. Ensure that your staff greets every customer with a genuine smile. This simple gesture can make guests feel appreciated and comfortable from the moment they step in.

Use Customer Names

Whenever possible, use the customer's name. If a reservation was made, make a note of the name and use it to greet them. This personal touch can make guests feel recognized and valued.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

A positive demeanor from staff members can significantly impact the ambiance of your restaurant. Encourage your team to maintain a positive, friendly attitude, making customers feel genuinely welcomed.

Immediate Acknowledgement

Acknowledge customers as soon as they enter, even if you're unable to attend to them immediately. A simple nod, smile, or a verbal acknowledgment can let them know that you'll be with them shortly.

Be Attentive to Needs

Pay attention to the needs of your customers from the moment they arrive. This could mean assisting with their coats, guiding them to their seats, or providing a place to store their umbrellas on a rainy day.

Offer a Comfortable Waiting Area

If customers have to wait, ensure that the waiting area is comfortable and inviting. Offer seating, magazines, or even a complimentary drink to make their wait as pleasant as possible.

Train Staff on Greeting Protocols

Ensure that all staff members are trained on the importance of greeting customers warmly. They should know how to make guests feel welcome, whether they're the host, server, or even the manager.

Personalize the Experience

Find ways to add a personal touch to the welcome, especially for regular customers. Remembering previous orders or personal preferences can go a long way in making customers feel special and appreciated.

Be Mindful of Body Language

Body language speaks volumes. Ensure that your staff's posture and gestures are open and welcoming, avoiding crossed arms or anything that might appear standoffish.

Follow Up After Seating

After seating customers, a follow-up to ensure they're comfortable and to take initial orders shows that their well-being is your priority. This step reaffirms your restaurant's commitment to exceptional service from start to finish.

Implementing these tips can transform a simple greeting into a memorable start to your customers' dining experience. The warmth and welcome they feel upon entering your restaurant set the stage for their entire visit, making it more likely that they'll enjoy their meal and return in the future.


Step# 2. Seating and Comfort

Ensuring guests are comfortably seated in a setting that suits their preferences shows attentiveness and care. Whether it’s a quiet corner for a romantic dinner or a lively spot for a group gathering, matching the ambiance to their needs is key.


Ensuring comfort and thoughtful seating arrangements in a restaurant significantly enhances the dining experience for guests. As a waiter, your role in this process is crucial. Here are some tips on how to excel in seating and comfort for your guests:

Understand the Layout and Ambiance of Each Area

Familiarize yourself with the different sections of the restaurant and the ambiance each provides. Whether it's a quiet corner for couples, a lively area for families, or a spacious table for larger groups, matching guests to the right spot is key.

Consider Guest Preferences

Always ask guests if they have any seating preferences. Some may prefer a window seat, while others might want to be further away from the kitchen or restrooms. Accommodating these requests whenever possible shows attentiveness and care.

Be Mindful of Space and Privacy

Ensure there's adequate space between tables to allow for guest privacy and comfort, as well as smooth movement for both guests and staff. Avoid seating guests too closely together when the restaurant isn't full.

Assist with Seating

Help guests with seating, such as pulling out chairs or guiding them to their table, especially for those who may need extra assistance, like elderly guests or guests with young children.

Adjust the Environment

Be attentive to environmental factors that could affect comfort, such as lighting, temperature, and noise levels. Offer to adjust blinds, change the lighting, or move guests to a quieter area if they seem uncomfortable.

Offer to Take Belongings

Offer to take coats, umbrellas, or heavy bags that could clutter the space or make seating uncomfortable. Providing a secure place for personal belongings is a thoughtful touch.

Ensure Table Readiness

Before seating guests, check that the table is clean, fully set, and ready for a new dining experience. This includes making sure the table is stable and chairs are in good condition.

Be Quick to Reconfigure

Be prepared to quickly reconfigure tables for groups of unexpected sizes or when combining tables to accommodate larger parties. Doing so efficiently minimizes wait times and demonstrates adaptability.

Communicate Wait Times Accurately

If there's a wait for a table, provide accurate estimates and keep guests updated on their wait status. Honesty and transparency can help manage expectations and reduce frustration.

Follow Up for Comfort

After seating and taking initial orders, check back to ensure guests are comfortable. Ask if they need any adjustments to their table or seating and respond promptly to their requests.

By focusing on these aspects of seating and comfort, waiters can play a significant role in starting the dining experience on a positive note. This attention to detail and proactive service not only makes guests feel valued and cared for but also sets the stage for a memorable meal.


Step# 3. Menu Presentation

Handing out menus while highlighting specials or seasonal items demonstrates knowledge and enthusiasm. It’s an opportunity to engage with guests, answer questions, and offer recommendations based on their preferences.

Tips on Menu Presentation

Effective menu presentation is a critical aspect of the dining experience that can significantly influence guests' meal choices and overall satisfaction. As a waiter, presenting the menu is not just about handing over a list of dishes; it's an opportunity to guide and enhance the guests' dining experience. Here are some valuable tips for waiters on mastering the art of menu presentation:

Know the Menu Inside Out

Being thoroughly familiar with every item on the menu, including ingredients, preparation methods, and any possible allergens, allows you to answer questions confidently and make recommendations based on guests' preferences or dietary restrictions.

Highlight Specials and Signature Dishes

Start by highlighting daily specials, chef's recommendations, or signature dishes. This not only showcases the restaurant's best offerings but also assists guests in making their decisions by drawing attention to unique and seasonal items that might not be available at another time.

Understand Dietary Preferences

Be prepared to suggest dishes for guests with specific dietary needs, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or allergy-friendly options. Demonstrating awareness and sensitivity to these needs shows care and professionalism.

Use Descriptive Language

When describing dishes, use appealing and descriptive language that evokes images and flavors, making the dishes more enticing. However, be genuine and avoid overselling; the goal is to inform and intrigue, not to overwhelm.

Personalize Recommendations

If asked for recommendations, tailor your suggestions to the guests' preferences or inquiries. Sharing personal favorites or popular choices among regular diners can add a personal touch to the dining experience.

Explain the Menu Layout

If the menu is divided into sections (e.g., starters, mains, desserts), briefly explain the layout to guests. This helps them navigate the menu more efficiently, especially in restaurants with extensive or unconventional offerings.

Be Attentive to Non-Verbal Cues

Pay attention to guests' reactions or expressions as they browse the menu. If they seem indecisive or puzzled, offer assistance or further explanations about the dishes.

Manage Time Wisely

While it's important to be thorough, also be mindful of timing. Don't rush your guests, but be efficient in your presentation to allow them ample time to consider their options without feeling pressured.

Encourage Questions

Invite guests to ask questions about the menu, and respond with enthusiasm and knowledge. This not only helps in making informed choices but also enhances the interactive aspect of dining.

Follow Up After Ordering

After taking the order, repeat it back to ensure accuracy and to confirm any special requests. This final step in the menu presentation process helps prevent any misunderstandings and ensures guests they've been understood correctly.

By applying these tips, waiters can transform menu presentation from a routine task into an engaging and informative part of the dining experience, leading to greater guest satisfaction and potentially influencing their dining choices in a positive way.


Step# 4. Beverage Service

Promptly taking beverage orders and serving them sets a relaxing and hospitable atmosphere. Whether it’s a cocktail, wine, or a non-alcoholic option, drinks are an integral part of the dining experience.

Tips for Beverage Service

Beverage service is a key component of the dining experience, offering waiters an opportunity to enhance guest satisfaction and contribute to the overall ambiance of the meal. Here are essential tips for waiters to excel in beverage service:

Be Knowledgeable About the Beverage Menu

Understand the details of your restaurant's beverage menu, including types of wine, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks. Know the origin, flavor profile, and recommended pairings for each beverage to make informed recommendations.

Offer Recommendations Based on Preferences

When guests seem unsure about their beverage choice, ask about their preferences to offer personalized suggestions. Whether they prefer something sweet, dry, fruity, or bitter, your guidance can enhance their dining experience.

Understand Proper Serving Techniques

Different beverages require different serving techniques and glassware. For example, know the correct way to open and serve a bottle of wine, pour beer to minimize foam, and present cocktails attractively.

Be Mindful of Timing

Serve beverages promptly after orders are taken, ensuring guests have something to enjoy while they peruse the menu or wait for their meal. For wine, offer to pour a taste for approval before serving the table.

Practice Upselling Tactfully

While upselling higher-priced beverages can increase sales, it's important to do so tactfully. Suggest premium options or special drinks that genuinely complement the guests' meal choices, rather than pushing the most expensive options.

Maintain Beverage Levels

Keep an eye on guests' glasses and offer refills or additional drinks as needed. However, be attentive to cues that someone may not want more to drink, especially with alcoholic beverages.

Ensure Proper Glassware

Use the appropriate glassware for each type of beverage, as this can significantly impact the guest's enjoyment. For example, serve red wine in larger bowls to enhance its aroma and flavor.

Handle Bottles with Care

When presenting and serving from bottles, handle them with care and professionalism. For wines, present the label facing the guest, and for beers or sodas, ensure they are served at the appropriate temperature.

Educate Guests When Asked

If guests inquire about the selection, be ready to share your knowledge, including details about the beverages' origins, tasting notes, or why they pair well with certain dishes.

Be Attentive to Non-Drinkers

Offer a range of interesting non-alcoholic options for those who don't drink alcohol. This includes premium sodas, mocktails, and specialty teas or coffees, ensuring all guests have appealing choices.

Manage Intoxication Discreetly

Be trained to handle situations where a guest may have consumed too much alcohol. Know how to respectfully suggest non-alcoholic alternatives or how to handle situations discreetly to maintain a comfortable environment for all guests.

Ensure a Seamless Payment Process

When the meal concludes, provide a smooth and error-free payment process, especially when dealing with tabs that include both food and beverages.

By adhering to these tips, waiters can provide exceptional beverage service that complements the dining experience, showcases the restaurant's offerings, and meets guests' expectations with professionalism and care.


Step# 5. Taking Orders

Taking orders with attention to detail, including any special requests or dietary restrictions, shows that you value guest satisfaction. It’s essential to communicate clearly with the kitchen to ensure that each dish meets the guests' expectations.

Tips on Taking Orders

Taking orders is a fundamental aspect of a waiter's responsibilities, directly impacting the dining experience and overall satisfaction of guests. Here are essential tips to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and customer satisfaction when taking orders:

Be Prepared with the Right Tools

Always have a notepad and pen ready, or be proficient with a digital order-taking device, to ensure accuracy and speed when taking orders. This preparation shows professionalism and readiness to serve.

Listen Actively

Give your full attention to guests as they place their orders, making eye contact and nodding to acknowledge you are listening. Active listening helps prevent misunderstandings and errors.

Repeat Orders for Accuracy

After a guest has placed their order, repeat it back to them to ensure accuracy. This step is crucial for catching any mistakes or misunderstandings before they affect the meal.

Clarify and Confirm Special Requests

Pay close attention to special requests, such as dietary restrictions or allergies, and confirm these with the kitchen. Clarifying these details upfront can avoid issues later on.

Know the Menu Thoroughly

Be well-versed in the menu, including ingredients, preparation methods, and potential allergens. This knowledge allows you to answer questions confidently and make recommendations based on guests' preferences.

Suggest Pairings

Offer suggestions for drink pairings or complementary side dishes based on the guests' orders. Thoughtful suggestions can enhance the dining experience and demonstrate your expertise.

Handle Modifications Gracefully

Be accommodating of menu modifications and communicate these clearly to the kitchen. Ensure guests feel their requests are welcome and manageable.

Manage Large Orders Efficiently

For large parties, develop a system to remember who ordered what, such as numbering guests or using a seating chart. This organization helps ensure that dishes are served to the correct person without having to ask.

Stay Patient and Friendly

Maintain a patient and friendly demeanor, even when guests take a long time to decide or have many questions. A positive attitude can make the dining experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Be Mindful of Timing

Coordinate with the kitchen to manage the timing of courses, especially for large groups or during busy times. Keeping guests informed about expected wait times can help manage their expectations.

Upsell Wisely

Practice subtle upselling by highlighting specials, premium dishes, or add-ons. However, ensure that your suggestions are in line with the guests' interests and preferences.

Check for Satisfaction

After delivering the meal, check back with guests to ensure they are satisfied with their dishes and to address any immediate concerns or needs.

By following these tips, waiters can provide seamless, efficient, and thoughtful service that enhances the dining experience, builds rapport with guests, and encourages repeat visits.


Step# 6. Table Maintenance

Keeping the table clean and organized throughout the meal without being intrusive is crucial. This includes discreetly clearing unused plates and cutlery and ensuring that the table remains a comfortable space for dining.

Tips on Table Maintenance

Table maintenance is a critical aspect of restaurant service that ensures guests enjoy a clean, organized, and pleasant dining environment. Here are effective tips for restaurant servers on maintaining tables efficiently and discreetly:

Stay Observant

Regularly scan your tables to assess the needs of your guests. Look for cues that they are finished with a course, require a refill, or need additional tableware. Quick observation allows for prompt service without the need for guests to ask.

Clear Dishes Promptly but Politely

Remove empty plates and used utensils as soon as guests have finished with them, but always ask politely before taking anything away to avoid making guests feel rushed.

Pre-bus Tables Throughout the Meal

Pre-bussing involves discreetly removing items that are no longer needed, such as empty glasses, bottles, or napkins, throughout the meal. This helps keep the table tidy and makes the final clean-up easier.

Keep the Tabletop Clean

Wipe down the table between courses, especially if there are spills or crumbs. Use a clean, damp cloth to avoid leaving streaks or residue. Ensure this is done discreetly and without disturbing the guests.

Maintain Table Setup

Ensure that the table remains properly set throughout the meal. Replace utensils or napkins as needed, and make sure condiments and other table essentials are replenished and neatly arranged.

Manage Crumbing Efficiently

For fine dining establishments, crumbing the table between courses is a sophisticated touch. Use a crumber or a clean cloth to gently remove crumbs from the table surface.

Refill Water and Beverages Regularly

Keep an eye on guests' water glasses and other beverages, offering refills without being asked. This attentive service contributes significantly to the overall dining experience.

Use a Tray for Efficiency

Use a tray to carry dishes and utensils to and from the table. This not only looks professional but also helps in clearing and setting the table more efficiently.

Be Mindful of Guest Interaction

When maintaining the table, be mindful of guests' conversations. Approach and service the table in a way that is least disruptive, particularly during important or intimate discussions.

Offer Assistance with Leftovers

If guests have leftover food, offer to pack it for them. Ensure that this service is provided swiftly and with proper packaging to maintain food quality. Follow your restaurants procedure in doing this. Some restaurants want you to bring the take-away box to the customer and either let them do it themselves or do it in their full view.

Handle Glassware with Care

When removing glassware, be cautious to avoid breakage or loud noises that could disrupt the dining atmosphere. Always check for and promptly clean up any broken glass to prevent injury.

Anticipate Needs

Based on your observation and experience, anticipate what your guests might need next, whether it's a fresh set of cutlery for the dessert course or a small plate for sharing appetizers.

By implementing these tips, restaurant servers can ensure that table maintenance contributes positively to the dining experience, showcasing attention to detail and a commitment to guest satisfaction.


Step# 7. Food Service

Serving food promptly and at the correct temperature, with a brief description of the dish, enhances the dining experience. Presentation matters, and so does ensuring that all guests receive their meals simultaneously.

Tips of food service
Effective food service is crucial in creating a memorable dining experience for guests. Waitrons, or servers, play a vital role in this process, from the moment a dish leaves the kitchen until it's placed before the diner. Here are some tips to ensure excellence in food service:

Understand the Menu

Know every detail of the menu, including ingredients, preparation methods, and potential allergens. This knowledge allows you to answer guest questions confidently and make recommendations based on their preferences or dietary restrictions.

Serve Correctly

In many cultures, it's standard to serve food from the left and remove dishes from the right, though this may vary. Always serve and clear dishes with minimal disruption to guests.

Present Dishes Professionally

When presenting dishes, briefly describe them, especially if they include special ingredients or were prepared in a unique way. This enhances the dining experience and shows off the restaurant's culinary expertise.

Check for Completeness

Before serving, double-check that the order is complete and correctly prepared, especially for guests with specific dietary requests. This step can prevent unnecessary trips back to the kitchen and ensure guest satisfaction.

Be Attentive to Timing

Coordinate with the kitchen to ensure that all dishes for a table are ready at the same time. Serve hot dishes hot and cold dishes cold, maintaining the integrity of each dish's flavors and textures.

Handle Special Requests with Care

Pay close attention to special requests and dietary needs. Communicate these clearly to the kitchen and verify that the dish meets the guest's specifications before serving.

Practice Tableside Manners

Be polite and professional when interacting with guests. Avoid reaching over guests or interrupting conversations unnecessarily. Move around the table smoothly and efficiently to provide service without being intrusive.

Ensure Proper Utensil Placement

Make sure that the appropriate utensils are provided with each course. If a dish requires a special utensil, bring it to the table when you serve the dish.

Offer Bread and Water Service

If your restaurant offers complimentary bread or water, ensure these are served shortly after guests are seated. Keep water glasses filled and offer bread refills as appropriate.

Manage Spills and Accidents Gracefully

Accidents happen. If you or a guest spills something, handle the situation calmly and efficiently. Clean up promptly and offer assistance to affected guests with a focus on minimizing their inconvenience.

Be Mindful of Guest Preferences

Some guests may prefer dishes to be served or cleared only when everyone at the table is finished. Be observant and adapt your service accordingly to match the table's pace and preferences.

Check Back After Serving

Once the dishes have been served, check back with the guests within a few minutes to ensure everything is to their satisfaction. This allows you to address any issues promptly and show that you care about their dining experience.

Implementing these tips will help waitrons provide impeccable food service, contributing to a positive dining experience that guests will remember and appreciate.


Step# 8. Check-Back for Satisfaction

Shortly after serving, checking back to ensure that everything meets the guests' expectations shows that you care about their dining experience. It’s also the perfect time to address any issues promptly.


Checking back for guest satisfaction is a crucial step in providing excellent service in a restaurant. This gesture shows guests that their enjoyment and comfort are your top priorities. Here are effective tips for waiters on how to check back for satisfaction:

Time Your Check-Back Appropriately

Wait for the right moment to check back with your guests, usually a few minutes after serving each course. This gives them enough time to assess their meals but is prompt enough to address any issues early.

Be Observant Before Approaching

Before you approach the table, observe from a distance. Look for visual cues that might indicate their readiness for interaction, such as looking around for assistance or pausing in their meal.

Approach with a Positive Attitude

When checking back, approach with a friendly demeanor and a smile. Your attitude can significantly affect how guests perceive the interaction, even if there's an issue with their meal.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Instead of asking "Is everything okay?" use open-ended questions like "How is everything tasting?" or "Can I get anything else for you?" This encourages more detailed feedback and makes it easier for guests to mention if something is amiss.

Listen Actively to Feedback

When guests provide feedback, listen attentively and acknowledge their comments. If there's a problem, express empathy and take swift action to rectify the issue.

Offer Solutions Proactively

If a guest is not satisfied with their meal, offer solutions immediately, such as replacing the dish, removing it from the bill, or providing a complimentary item. Always let the guest decide what solution they prefer.

Thank Guests for Their Feedback

Whether the feedback is positive or negative, thank guests for sharing their thoughts. This shows you value their input and are committed to improving their dining experience.

Follow Up After Resolving Issues

If you had to take action to correct a problem, check back again to ensure the guest is now satisfied. This follow-up demonstrates thorough care and attention to their experience.

Use Discretion with Sensitive Issues

Be discreet when addressing sensitive issues at the table, such as complaints about the food or service. Keep your voice low and the conversation as private as possible to avoid drawing attention from other guests.

Report Feedback to the Kitchen and Management

Share relevant guest feedback with the kitchen and your manager, especially if it's a recurring issue. This can help improve the overall quality of food and service in the restaurant.

Learn from Every Interaction

Use each check-back as a learning opportunity. Whether you receive praise or criticism, consider what you can do to enhance the guest experience in the future.

Be Genuine

Ensure your concern for the guest's satisfaction is genuine. Guests can tell when servers are insincere, which can negatively impact their dining experience.

By following these tips, waiters can effectively check back for satisfaction, addressing any concerns promptly and ensuring guests have a memorable and enjoyable dining experience.


Step# 9. Offering Desserts and Coffee

Introducing dessert options or coffee towards the meal's end provides a complete dining experience. It’s a chance to impress with sweet treats and a final touch of hospitality.

Tips on Offering Desserts

Offering desserts is a sweet opportunity for waiters to enhance the dining experience, increase sales, and leave a lasting impression on guests. Here are practical tips for waiters on how to tempt guests with desserts:

Know Your Dessert Menu

Be familiar with all the dessert options available, including ingredients and preparation methods. This knowledge allows you to answer any questions and make recommendations based on guests' preferences or dietary restrictions.

Timing is Key

Wait for the right moment to present the dessert menu, typically after clearing the main course dishes. Give guests a few minutes to relax and consider the idea of dessert without feeling rushed.

Present the Dessert Menu with Enthusiasm

When offering the dessert menu, do so with enthusiasm and a smile. Your attitude can significantly influence guests' decisions to order dessert.

Use Descriptive Language

Describe desserts in a way that makes them irresistible, focusing on the flavors, textures, and ingredients. For example, instead of saying "chocolate cake," try "decadent Belgian chocolate cake with a velvety ganache center."

Make Personal Recommendations

Share your personal favorites or highlight popular choices among guests. Personal recommendations can make the decision easier for guests and add a personal touch to the service.

Mention Specials or Seasonal Offerings

If there are any dessert specials or seasonal items, be sure to mention them. Limited-time offers can create a sense of urgency and entice guests to indulge.

Consider Dietary Needs

Be prepared to suggest desserts that cater to specific dietary needs, such as gluten-free, vegan, or dairy-free options. Guests will appreciate your attentiveness to their health or lifestyle preferences.

Offer Coffee or Tea Pairings

Suggest coffee, tea, or dessert wines that pair well with the dessert options. This not only enhances the dessert experience but also increases the overall bill.

Create a Visual Temptation

If possible, show guests a dessert tray or provide pictures of the desserts on the menu. Visuals can be incredibly tempting and often result in guests making a spontaneous decision to order.

Be Mindful of the Guests' Experience

Read the table to gauge if guests are celebrating a special occasion or if they've enjoyed a particularly indulgent meal. Tailor your dessert recommendations to suit the mood and context of their dining experience.

Offer to Share

For guests who seem hesitant, suggest desserts that are ideal for sharing. This can make the idea of dessert more appealing by reducing the commitment to a full serving.

Handle Declines Gracefully

If guests decline dessert, accept their decision gracefully. Offer coffee, tea, or after-dinner drinks as alternative options to conclude their meal.

By following these tips, waiters can effectively encourage guests to indulge in desserts, adding a sweet finale to their dining experience and positively impacting their overall satisfaction.

Offer your specialty coffees with dessert or alternatively some liqueurs or even a cognac.


Step# 10. Presenting the Bill

Presenting the bill upon request in a discreet and efficient manner respects the guest's experience. Offering multiple payment options can also enhance convenience.

Tips on Presenting the bill

Presenting the bill is a critical moment in the dining experience that requires tact and professionalism. It marks the conclusion of the meal and significantly influences the lasting impression guests have of your service and the restaurant. Here are essential tips for waiters on how to present the bill effectively:

Wait for the Right Moment

Do not rush to present the bill. Ensure guests are finished with their meal, including desserts and any after-dinner beverages. Look for cues that they are ready, such as pushing their plates away or asking for the bill.

Ask If They Need Anything Else

Before presenting the bill, politely ask if they would like anything else, such as coffee, tea, or dessert if they haven't already had one. This ensures that guests feel their dining experience is complete and not being rushed.

Present the Bill Discreetly

When presenting the bill, do so discreetly to avoid drawing attention. Place the bill on the table in a bill folder or with a small thank you note from the restaurant. This adds a touch of class to the transaction.

Be Prepared for Split Bills

In today's dining culture, it's common for groups to request separate bills or split the payment. Be prepared to accommodate these requests efficiently and accurately to avoid any confusion or discomfort among guests.

Offer Multiple Payment Options

Inform guests of the various payment options available, including cash, credit/debit cards, or mobile payments. Having a portable card machine ready can also expedite the payment process for guests.

Be Attentive to Payment Processing

Stay nearby after presenting the bill in case guests are ready to pay immediately. However, maintain a balance between being available and giving them privacy.

Handle Payment Securely and Efficiently

When processing the payment, do so with attention to security and efficiency. Ensure that all transactions are handled carefully, and promptly return any credit cards or change to the guests.

Express Gratitude

Regardless of the tip amount, always thank guests warmly for dining at the restaurant. Gratitude leaves a positive impression and encourages guests to return.

Offer Farewell Greetings

As guests prepare to leave, offer a sincere farewell greeting. Wish them a good day or evening, and invite them to return. This personal touch can make guests feel valued and appreciated.

Be Ready for Feedback

If guests choose to share feedback or comments while paying the bill, listen attentively and thank them for their input. If there are complaints, apologize sincerely and assure them that their feedback will be addressed.

Maintain Privacy

Ensure that the bill and any payment details are kept confidential, especially in a group setting. This respects the privacy of the paying guest and maintains the comfort of all diners.

Follow Up Post-Visit

For establishments that track guest visits, consider following up with a thank-you message or email. This can include an invitation to return, feedback requests, or information about upcoming specials or events.

By adhering to these tips, waiters can ensure that presenting the bill is a smooth and positive conclusion to the dining experience, reinforcing the quality of service and encouraging guests to return.


Step# 11. Farewell

Bidding guests a warm farewell and thanking them for choosing your restaurant leaves a lasting impression. It’s an invitation for them to return.

Tips on Farewell

The farewell you give to your customers can leave a lasting impression, influencing their decision to return to your establishment. For waiters, ensuring that this final interaction is as positive as the entire dining experience is crucial. Here are some tips on providing a memorable customer farewell:

Offer a Warm and Personalized Goodbye

Make your farewell warm and personal. If you remember their names, use them. A simple “Goodbye, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we hope to see you again soon!” can make a big difference.

Express Genuine Gratitude

Thank your customers for choosing your restaurant and express genuine appreciation for their visit. A sincere “Thank you for dining with us tonight! We really appreciate it.” shows you value their patronage.

Provide a Parting Gesture

If your establishment offers mints, chocolates, or any parting gift, ensure to offer them to your guests. These small gestures enhance the guest's experience and leave a sweet impression.

Check for Overall Satisfaction

Quickly gauge their satisfaction by asking how their experience was. If there’s any hint of dissatisfaction, apologize and assure them that you will pass their feedback on. This shows you care about improving their experience.

Invite Them to Return

Encourage guests to come back by mentioning any upcoming specials, events, or menu changes. An invitation like “We have live music on Fridays. We’d love to see you again!” can incentivize return visits.

Offer Assistance with Departure

Depending on your establishment's setting, offer assistance with getting their coats from the coat check, calling a taxi, or directions for exit. This extra step in service can be very appreciated, especially in unfamiliar or upscale venues.

Ensure the Exit is Smooth

Make sure the pathway to the exit is clear and that the exit process is smooth, whether it's opening the door for them or simply guiding them to the exit. This ensures the last moment in the restaurant is positive.

Be Present and Visible

Stand near the exit or in a visible area as guests leave so you can give a proper goodbye. Being physically present for a farewell shows respect and appreciation for the guests.

Follow Up on Promises

If you’ve promised to do something, like make a reservation for their next visit or send them home with a recipe, ensure you follow through. This reliability enhances their overall experience.

Maintain a Professional Demeanor

Even at the end of a long shift, maintain your professionalism. Your energy and demeanor during farewells should be as enthusiastic and courteous as when the guests arrived.

Encourage Feedback

Let guests know their feedback is welcome, whether through a comment card, online review, or directly to the manager. This can provide valuable insights for improvement.

Personalize the Farewell Where Possible

If you've had an engaging conversation with the guests or if they celebrated a special occasion, mention this in your farewell to make it more personal and memorable.

By incorporating these tips into your service routine, you can ensure that every guest leaves with a positive impression, making them more likely to return and recommend your restaurant to others.


Step 12. Follow-Up

Following up, when appropriate, through feedback forms or online reviews, shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to continuous improvement.


The "12 Steps of Service" is more than just a guideline; it’s a philosophy that puts the guest experience at the heart of restaurant operations. By meticulously following these steps, restaurants can create memorable moments for their guests, encouraging loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations. In an industry where competition is fierce, mastering the art of service can make all the difference.


On-site Waiter Training by Sam Hospitality

Sam Hospitality offers on-site waiter training designed to enhance the skills and professionalism of waitrons in various hospitality settings, including restaurants, hotels, game lodges, resorts, and more. Their training covers a range of topics essential for providing top-notch service to guests. Here are some key highlights of what their waiter training includes:

Comprehensive Skill Development: The training aims to equip waitrons with the necessary skills to excel in their roles, focusing on customer service, communication, and efficient service delivery.

Customized Training Programs: Sam Hospitality tailors its training programs to meet the specific needs of each establishment, ensuring that the training is relevant and impactful.

Experienced Trainers: The training is conducted by experienced professionals in the hospitality industry, providing valuable insights and practical knowledge to participants.

Immediate Application of Skills: One of the benefits of on-site training is that staff can immediately apply what they've learned in their work environment, allowing for real-time feedback and improvement.

Team Building: Shared training experiences foster team spirit and improve coordination among staff, leading to a more cohesive and efficient service team.

For establishments looking to elevate their customer service and enhance the overall dining experience, Sam Hospitality's on-site waiter training provides a comprehensive solution. It not only focuses on the technical aspects of service but also emphasizes creating memorable guest experience. Email us training@hospitalitycourses.co.za