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How to Describe Menu Items to a Customer in a Restaurant

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It can be very frustrating for a server, when guests don't order the specials or features. The feature items of the day are usually better tasting and more expensive--both of which leads to bigger tips. However, there are ways to sell those features. Read on to learn how to describe menu items to a customer in a restaurant.

Use adjectives. Make your words come to life as you describe the items. Instead of "a 12 oz. rib eye in a sweet marinade", try "We're offering a 12 oz. Hawaiian rib eye, marinated in a savory pineapple, soy and ginger glaze for 12 hours and cooked to order right on the grill." Remember words sweet, salty, delicious, smooth, creamy, light, fluffy, rich, delicious, smoky, phenomenal and homemade. Describe the items so the guests can actually taste them as you talk about them.

Sound natural. Don't sound like you're reading off a script. It can be hard, but you have to sound like yourself. There aren't many servers that sound natural saying "4 lbs. of jumbo-lump crab meat served over a bed of tangy mustard. It's a house favorite and absolutely fantastic." But find a good balance between being descriptive without sounding contrived.

Practice. It sounds silly, but practicing describing your features at home in front of the mirror will make you that much more confident and refined. Repeat it over and over again until you have it down. Sometimes listening to yourself run through your features a few times will help you catch a word that you can change or make a part that sounds scripted, sound more natural.

Try the items. It can be very hard to describe any food items without tasting it. With items on the menu, you can get away with it because there are already descriptions. But for the features, the guests are counting on you to tell them all about them.

Be concise. It's hard to cram all those adjectives into a few sentences, but as important as thorough description is, making sure you get through the feature quick is equally as important. Paint a picture in your guest's mind, but practice it until you have it down to 30 seconds or so.


Jonah Schuman has been a professional writer since 2004, penning articles for the Associated Press, "The Prince George's Gazette," "East York Observer," and many more. Schuman received a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology.

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