Ten questions for a perfect dining room service

Enrico Camelio answers the FAQs on high quality service. The result is a sort of decalogue

For many chefs the dining room service is the main

For many chefs the dining room service is the main problem in today’s fine dining. How can you train professionals capable of working well in fine dining restaurants? Enrico Camelio tries to answer this question

I’ve asked myself what I believe are the ten main questions regarding the following general issue: how can one have a high quality service in a fine dining restaurant? Here are my answers.

1) How can you form an expert and high quality team?
An accurate selection is essential, with direct channels from which to draw staff members. You also need to select staff that spent a long time in just one firm. I believe a true growth is favoured by relating, over time, with different professional figures and situations.

2) Do dining service managers need to be leaders?
Absolutely, for two reasons: first, they need to attract the team and convey the philosophy of the firm for which they are working; second, they must glue owners and staff.

3) Do you need to create a team in order to connect all the food & beverage departments (dining room, kitchen, bar and cellar)?
Indeed: working in harmony is crucial in the restaurant industry. Clients eat, match a wine, end the meal with spirits... The connection is straightforward.

For years Enrico Camelio has been training service professionals in the restaurant industry

For years Enrico Camelio has been training service professionals in the restaurant industry

4) What should the staff’s approach be like, in order to fully satisfy the client?
Welcoming a client in the best way is the necessary initial step. Staff members need to have what I call a “real smile”. A professional can only show it if he believes in what he’s doing and if a firm knows how to have the waiter involved in the project.

5) How crucial is passion?
Very crucial. The work in the dining room is complicated, it has many facets, sometimes complex (such as how to behave with a difficult client; how to work on hard days and schedules…). This will not be a problem only if you’re made stronger by an out-of-the-ordinary passion.

6) Do you need to have a profound knowledge of the products and procedures used in the kitchen?
The era of fun yet ill-prepared waiters has gone, because you risk being less informed than clients, which would be unacceptable. There are no longer unprepared guests.

7) Is it important to look after one’s appearance?
Appearance has become important in the restaurant industry too. Uniforms should no longer be classic but very smart and dynamic.

8) Has the approach between waiter and guest changed?
Guests have become curious, they ask many more questions, therefore creating an initial empathy is essential.

9) In what way has service changed? Is it true that you need to get clients involved?
The current trend is to get clients as much involved as possible, so much so they become the main characters. Either by finishing the dish in front of them, or inducing the client himself to make these final steps.

10) Will it be possible to return to the kind of service that has disappeared over time?
Unfortunately, services such are flambé carts, meat carving in the dining room, or the cheese or spirits carts are now disappearing. It’s a real pity. We hope to return to the professional skills of the past with the new generations, this would make it possible to return to these “classic services”, perhaps turning them into a new trend.

In sala

The public side of a restaurant seen by its protagonists: maître, restaurant managers, waiters


Enrico Camelio

born in Rome, 1971, graduated into Tourism economy, he's now working as a haute cuisine consultant. He's been working together with Heinz Beck, Antonello Colonna and Niko Romito

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