Restaurant Guest Service

Restaurant Guest Service: 12 Steps To Delight Your Guests​

who this class is for

Waiters and hospitality staff, hospitality managers

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About this micro-class

By following these steps and practicing proper etiquette, you will be well-prepared to provide excellent service and enhance the dining experience for your guests.

1. Greeting and seating guests

Start with a warm and welcoming smile. 

Greet guests promptly and courteously as they enter the venue.

Escort them to a clean and set table or a comfortable seating area.

2. Introduce yourself

After seating the guests, introduce yourself by name.

Offer to answer any initial questions they may have about the menu or specials.

Make guests feel comfortable and valued. Be prepared to make small talk if appropriate.

3. Presenting the menu

Provide menus to guests. If there are daily specials or promotions, mention them verbally.

Be prepared to explain menu items, including ingredients and preparation methods, if asked.

Note any dietary restrictions or allergies and offer alternative menu options.

4. Taking drink orders

Start by offering beverages such as water, coffee, or tea.

Take note of any alcoholic beverage requests and ensure guests meet legal drinking age requirements.

Recommend house specialties or wine pairings if applicable.

Collect drink orders and repeat them back to guests for confirmation.

5. Taking food orders

Allow guests time to review the menu. Approach the table to take food orders, starting with any appetizers or starters.

Be attentive and patient, answering any questions and making recommendations. Write down the orders accurately to avoid mistakes.

Confirm any special requests, like cooking preferences (e.g., rare, medium, well-done).

Special requests and modifications

Be accommodating to special dietary requests (e.g., vegan, gluten-free).

Ensure the kitchen is aware of any modifications to dishes (e.g., no onions, extra sauce).

Communicate these requests clearly to the kitchen staff.

Upselling and suggestive selling

Recommend appetizers, side dishes, or desserts to enhance the guest’s experience.

Mention any daily specials, promotions, or unique offerings.

Be genuine and not pushy in your suggestions.

6. Timing and organization

Ensure orders are sent to the kitchen promptly.

Monitor the timing of dishes to avoid long wait times.

Coordinate with the kitchen and bar staff for a smooth flow of service.

7. Double-check orders before serving

Verify orders with the kitchen staff before serving.

Ensure accuracy in every order, matching them with the written notes.

Use a tray or carry multiple items securely to the table.

8. Serving the food and drinks

Serve food with a smile, placing dishes in front of the correct guest.

Serve drinks promptly and refill glasses as needed.

Be aware of guest reactions; check back shortly after serving to ensure satisfaction.

9. Be attentive and guest-centered

Handling issues and complaints

Address any issues or complaints promptly and professionally.

Offer solutions such as replacement dishes or discounts if necessary.

Involve a manager if the issue cannot be resolved.


Maintain a pleasant demeanor throughout the shift, even during busy times.

Keep an eye on guest needs and offer assistance when required.

10. Clearing and preparing for dessert

Clear empty plates and glasses when appropriate.

Offer dessert menus and take dessert orders if desired.

Ensure the table is clean and set for dessert service.

11. Presenting the bill

Present the bill discreetly and courteously when guests indicate they are ready.

Be prepared to split checks if requested.

Thank guests for their visit and invite them to return.

12. Farewell

Thank guests again as they leave, using their names if applicable.

Wish them a pleasant day or evening.

Restaurant guest service etiquette mistakes

Avoid the worst etiquette mistakes when tending to your guests:

  • Being rude and neglecting etiquette.
  • Not paying attention to your guests.
  • Taking orders wrong.
  • Failing to accommodate special requirements.

Test your knowledge with a quick test and earn a free micro-certificate

Shop for etiquette, behavioral, and contextual signs

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