restaurant steps of service
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Eating out is about more than just consuming food. It’s about having a pleasant experience that starts with servers welcoming you in and ends with them thanking you for dining there. To create an excellent dining experience at your eatery, follow the restaurant steps of service outlined below.

What is The Sequence of Service in a Restaurant?

The sequence of service refers to the order in which you should serve your restaurant patrons, from greeting customers at the door to bringing their checks.

The steps of service in hospitality follow a specific pattern designed to ensure that all your customers’ needs are met at the exact right time.

The Importance of Sequence of Service

Why should you follow the basic steps of service in a restaurant? Because this is the mark of excellent customer service that will help you attract customers to your restaurant and turn them into loyal patrons.

A clear sequence also helps you organize your time better, ensuring your team works together like a well-oiled machine, and that you’re ready to serve as many daily customers as possible.

12 Restaurant Steps of Service You Need to Follow

1. Welcome customers to the restaurant

6 steps of service restaurant

The first step in the food and beverage service sequence is greeting your customers as they arrive. Greet them with a smile and a warm welcome.

Ask whether they have a reservation and if they don’t, try to accommodate any seating requests they may have if possible (such as a table by the window).

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This would also be the time to ask them if they’ve ever dined with you before, so you know what to expect and how in detail you need to walk them through the menu.

5 steps of service restaurant

As the guests get settled, you should bring over the menus and ask whether they’d like to start with something to drink.

If they need more time, you can come back, but some guests already know what they want to drink and don’t like waiting for the waiter to come back to take the drinks order. This saves you both time.

If you have a QR code menu instead of a physical one, make sure to mention that as you seat customers and explain how to use it if needed.

To skip some of these restaurant steps of service, you can also enable customers to order and pay through the QR code, which eliminates a lot of back and forth.

3. Serve the beverages and inform them of menu specials and promotions

After you bring the beverages, especially if it’s the customers’ first time dining with you, present the stars of the menu, any daily specials you might have, or promotions that might apply to their group (such as discounted kids meals for families).

Customers will appreciate your dedication to presenting the menu and it might make it easier for them to make a decision about what they want to order.

4. Suggest food and drink pairings and answer questions about the menu

While you’re helping customers decide on their order, be prepared to answer questions about all your dishes. This is one of the most important restaurant steps of service because it also gives you a chance to upsell and increase the check value.

The better you know the menu, the more you can recommend drinks or side dishes that would go well with the main course.

5. Take the food orders and double-check their accuracy

7 steps of service restaurant: taking order procedure

Once the customers have decided on what they want to eat, write down the orders and double-check you haven’t missed anything by repeating it to them. You know the old saying: better safe than sorry.

To lower the risk of human error when you take orders, you can implement a QR code menu for dine-in ordering that enables customers to place their own orders.

Free QR code menu for dine-in ordering Enable customers to order and pay at the table

6. Check in during the meal and refill drinks

While customers are enjoying their meal, you should pay attention to the table without hovering. Be attentive in case they require anything else but don’t make them feel like you’re watching them eat.

Ask if everything is okay with their meal and if you notice their drinks are empty, offer refills. An attentive server can go a long way to ensuring customers will return to your restaurant.

7. Clear the table quickly

According to the proper sequence of food and beverage service, you need to clear the table after all guests have stopped eating and with minimum disturbance.

However, don’t assume they’re done. Ask customers if it’s okay for you to clear the table because in some cases, they might want to continue eating after a small break.

8. Offer coffee and dessert in the restaurant or to go

12 steps of service restaurant

Next, after you’ve cleared the table ask customers whether they’d like a cup of coffee or a dessert to finish off the meal.

In case they seem on the fence because they aren’t sure if they can finish the dessert after a full meal, make sure you let them know you can also pack it to go. This can help you increase the check value without seeming pushy.

9. Bring the check and collect the payment

After guests have finished eating and drinking, it’s time to bring the check. Ask whether they want to pay by card or cash and accommodate any requests to split the check for large groups of friends or families.

Do not bring the check before you’ve made sure people are ready to go. Otherwise, they’ll feel unwelcomed and like you are chasing them away.

10. Thank the guests for dining with you

One of the smaller but nonetheless important restaurant steps of service, thanking customers for choosing your restaurant is low effort but can wield excellent results.

Tell them you hope they’ll dine with you again soon. This can also increase your chances of getting a good tip.

11. Invite customers to review your restaurant online

10 steps of service restaurant

This is one of the optional restaurant steps of service that depends on your marketing strategy. If you’re trying to gather positive online reviews on multiple platforms, it’s worth asking satisfied customers whether they’d consider leaving you a review.

To make it easy and more likely for them to do so, you can implement a QR code that redirects customers to your Google account, where they can leave their thoughts and feedback.

12. Clear and clean the table for the next party

As a satisfied customer leaves your restaurant, a new one appears, and you have to be ready when they do. Clear the newly empty table as quickly as possible to avoid making the next party wait while you clean.

Final Thoughts

To ensure customers have a flawless experience at your restaurant from beginning to end, implement these 12 restaurant steps of service. Write them down and post them in the back or the kitchen so that your staff sees the list every day and they don’t risk forgetting them.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.