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4 Roles at a Fine Dining Restaurant

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The Rise of Fine Dining Restaurants

Fine dining has expanded its audience -- it's no longer simply a luxury for the wealthy, but a mainstream indulgence. There are several different jobs available in fine dining establishments, and all restaurant staff are expected to give customers a high quality experience. To work in a fine dining establishment, you must be extremely knowledgeable about the restaurant and all it has to offer, as well as give exceptional service. Here we will detail the job descriptions of 4 important roles in a fine dining restaurant.

Host

As the restaurant's host, you give customers the first impression of the establishment. Hosts greet customers and take reservations, both in person and over the phone. It is important that the host has an approachable, friendly demeanor and treats all customers with the utmost respect. Your role as a host is also in answering any initial questions that customers may have about the restaurant. Hosts are also tasked with keeping the lobby area, dining room, and front of house (FOH) clean and neat.

Server

Servers in a fine dining restaurant are required to meet all customer needs, often needing to exceed their expectations and be practiced at multi-tasking. As a member of the wait staff, you'll take orders for food and beverage, and then deliver the items to the table in a timely manner. Servers should also be prepared to accurately answer questions about the menu and restaurant. When you apply for a server position in this type of establishment, you're expected to have a friendly personality and solid knowledge base about the restaurant and menu. Many fine dining servers will also have an understanding about wine and beer so they know how to pair drinks with food, although this can be taken over by a sommelier in some fine dining restaurants, who handles everything wine related in the restaurant, is generally knowledgeable about wine and winemaking, and can assist guests in pairing wines with their meals.

Executive Chef

Being the executive chef, or head chef, of a fine dining restaurant can be stressful, but it can also be a very important career step for professional chefs. The executive chef creates different menus for the restaurant, often with different daily specialties to provide repeat customers with a unique experience. Chefs act as a general manager for the kitchen staff, which includes training other employees like line cooks and sous-chefs. The chef prepares appetizers and main courses for customers, in addition to instructing other kitchen staff in the preparation of these foods. An executive chef will also oversee the purchasing of supplies, food, and equipment for the kitchen.

Pastry Chef

The pastry chef is in charge of desserts. This type of chef designs dessert selections that complement the day's menu. A pastry chef reports to the executive chef, and they are expected to work together to develop menus that appeal to customers and reflect the taste of the restaurant. If you want to work at a fine dining restaurant as a pastry chef, you're expected to have had formal training, as well as past experience as an apprentice at another restaurant.

Other Positions

There are many different positions in the kitchen that work under the executive chef and the pastry chef. These include sous-chefs, line cooks, prep cooks. They are the people who work hard to prepare large amounts of food in a very specific way, according to orders from the kitchen managers. There are also bussers, who work to keep the front of house clean and presentable so customers can have the best dining experience. Every team member who works in a fine dining restaurant has to undergo a more detailed training program in order to work there, since the expectations at these restaurants are much higher than normal food service establishments. Often these positions are not entry-level, which means these restaurants will prefer if you have worked in the service industry previously and already have a base-level of knowledge of the day-to-day expectations. Staff members have to work together to ensure the best customer experience possible in any full-service establishment in the restaurant industry, and especially in fine dining restaurants.