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How To Set Up A Fine Dining Restaurant?

It is your birthday! You want to dress up and go out for a meal to celebrate. 

You are looking to have a top-notch dining experience.

What would you choose? 

Most definitely, a fine dining restaurant, right? 

1. What is Fine Dining?

Fine dining can be explained as the kind of restaurant which has impeccable food, elegant ambience and superior service. Every aspect of this kind of restaurant is carefully thought out, meticulously planned, finely designed and perfectly executed. This is because while a fine dining restaurant offers a first-class dining experience, it is also much more expensive than any other type of diner. It is in fact the priciest of the lot.

2. How Is It Different From Other Outlet Types?

A fine dining restaurant operates in a way that is distinctly different from other types of restaurant outlets. The atmosphere is more subdued, dressing formal and the service top-drawer. The presentation of the food matters as much as the taste and therefore, the price is on a higher end than other restaurant types.

Casual dining and fast food, as the name suggests, are more relaxed and informal dining options. While casual dining is a step down from fine dining, in the way that in such types of restaurants also a server takes your order, the atmosphere is more easy-going and laid-back. Fast food restaurants are QSRs and the food served is also such. The price range is also on the lower end and is more accessible to the masses for frequent dining.

difference between casual dining and fine dining restaurant
The difference between a fine dining and casual dining restaurant.

3. Characteristics Of A Fine Dine Restaurant

Fine dining restaurants are a class apart from other outlet types. Below described are the features essential for setting up a fine dining restaurant:

3.1 Tone & Ambience 

Fine dining is no more an experience that is availed once in a while. It has now become more accessible to the larger masses. However, people still opt for fine dining to experience premium service, a posh atmosphere and divine food EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!

But, no longer do the interiors have to be formal and muted. With changing times, modern and chic are also acceptable choices of decor. You may also have high-quality artwork on the walls, tastefully arranged.

Another factor which is a must is music. It plays a key role in not just setting the tone of the restaurant but also in maintaining the mood of the night. A live jazz instrumentalist or an acoustic singer would make the diners’ experience much better. If you are short on place then instrumental music on a low yet decipherable volume through speakers distributed evenly around the room would go a long way. The music should not interfere with the conversations happening on the table but should be able to tune out the other table’s voices.

best fine dining restaurant interiors
Modern interiors with contrasting colours are acceptable in a fine dining restaurant.

3.2 Seating

Furniture at a fine dining restaurant should be comfortable and stylish. It is not a QSR and diners will take their time to enjoy their meal and the conversation along with the atmosphere at a pace they like.

The placement of tables is also extremely important. Cramming as many tables as possible is not recommended in a fine dining restaurant. Depending on the availability of the area, you can arrange tables at such a distance that no two tables are disturbed by each other. 

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For parties with a larger crowd, try to separate an area either by installing a partition or by building a small room which you can allot to them.

The chairs or the sofas must be plush and the height should be complementary to the height of the table. The colour of the furniture should be compatible with the overall theme of the restaurant and can be a mix of both modern and antique.

seating in a fine dining restaurant
A fine dining restaurant with more space can use a combination of seating arrangements.

3.3 Staff & Service

We now come to the most vital part of the experience of a fine dining restaurant. The service and the staff. This has to be, without a fail, faultlessStaff etiquettes play a major role in service in a fine dining restaurant.

The staff has to undergo rigorous training before they can serve customers in the restaurant. They have to be polite, courteous and not snooty. They have to be well-behaved, well-groomed and their uniforms, spotless. The staff must also be well-versed with the menu (all menus in case of a multi-cuisine restaurant and also the bar service). The staff must be equipped to deal with all sorts of situations that may arise during the course of the meal with the customers.

The service begins right from the time a customer reserves a table and lasts till the customer leaves the restaurant premises. All customers should be given personal attention and exclusive treatment throughout their visit. For eg., there should be someone waiting right at the door to greet the customers with a smile and help them guide their way to the table. A detailed guide on how to achieve the best restaurant customer service can be found here.

fine dining restaurant service training
A uniformed server pours wine for the diners.

3.4 Table Setting

The table setting at a fine dining restaurant has evolved over the years. No longer are table clothes considered necessary, mainly due to them being high-maintenance. The crockery used must be fine china or fancy ceramic. Silverware must be provided in accordance with the food which would be served and in sync with the patterns of the tableware. Each type of drink – be it water, wine or whisky – has its own glassware. Ensure all drinks are served in the corresponding glasses.

setting a table in a restaurant
The tableware set up for a meal in a fine dining restaurant.

3.5 Menu & Food

Plan your menu well in advance. Keep in mind that the food you select to serve in your restaurant blends well with the tone and ambience of your restaurant. You can choose to have a limited menu with numbered items. However, each of the dishes you serve from this menu should be cooked to perfection and you should be consistent with the taste and presentation every time.

Another option is to have a rotating menu or a new menu every week or every month. This will enable you to experiment with ingredients and diners might be drawn to try out the new dishes more often.

Hire world-class chefs, use the best quality ingredients (these days locally sourced produce is very popular for its high nutritional value and better taste) and employ the services of a restaurant consultant round-the-clock to keep up with the trends and overlook the behind-the-scenes (kitchen) operations!

food plating and presentation ideas
The food presentation is as important as the taste in a fine dining restaurant.

One other component which you can include while setting up your fine dining restaurant is to integrate technology into your restaurant. With the Petpooja POS, you can accelerate your restaurant automation & growth and augment the fine dining experience for your diners.

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Shanaya Udeshi
Shanaya Udeshi
From being a practicing lawyer to a writer, the only thing that has remained constant about me over the years is my love for food. I talk food, dream food and now even write about food!

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