Ever Work in A Fine Restaurant?

7 Reasons To Work In A Fine Restaurant!

Many consider working in fine-dining a chore, dealing with particular guests and being very snooty. Such an idea is partly true, but most stereotypes are only that, partly true. Fine restaurants have gone through a renaissance.  The focus is now on having incredible ingredients with service that provides and an experience to remember.

Having experienced everything from QSR to top dining rooms in Las Vegas, we came up with 7 things on what makes fine-dining great and wanted to share them today…on Tuesday night! Expect to see more content posted late Tuesday night around 10 or so PST. We have recently relocated from the Dallas, TX area to Las Vegas, NV.

Seven Reasons to Work In A Fine Restaurant:

  • Saying No
  • Cuts (taking off work)
  • More Money
  • Higher Sales
  • Exclusive Wine and Liquors
  • Support Staff
  • Amazing Free Stuff!

Saying No In A Fine Restaurant

Would you like ranch dressing to ruin this wonderful salad with a house made dressing? Sorry, we do not have ranch, however we have this other house made dressing that is close to ranch, but not quite like ranch.

Being able to say NO to crazy requests in a fine dining restaurant is our favorite reason to jump into fine restaurants. Even in chef-driven casual restaurants, it is hard to say no to some requests, however in fine-dining when someone wants to take that spring mix salad with candied walnuts, delicate blue cheese, fresh sliced jicama with house made champagne/strawberry vinaigrette and turn it into a “house salad with tomatoes and shredded cheddar with ranch” the response of “No, we can do the salad with avocado or blue cheese dressing” is quite empowering and more importantly lets the guest know this isn’t (insert generic chain) restaurant.

Fine-dining is about more than filling a need for food, it is Mount Everest of experiences where a chef’s vision is being served. This is not about crowd-pleasing dishes that can be replicated across a system of hundreds or thousands of restaurants. This is the big leagues of dining and working, some accommodations can be made, not creating a new dish. Most importantly, requests to create new dishes, might use ingredients the kitchen does not have available or have ready to use.

Cuts In A Fine Restaurant

In restaurants that have a price point of say about $50 or more, overstaffing is common, especially in large cities and resort areas. More importantly, it is very possible that fine dining restaurants will tell people to not even come in or offer the opportunity to take off extra days! In many restaurants, including the large employers (casual chains) everybody goes into work, then depending of business might be sent home.

This is a huge waste of time and money for everyone involved. Rarely at the higher price points is there not an opportunity for someone to have a day off. There are exceptions, including the busiest 3 days in the restaurant business. Having off those days is a matter of luck and/or seniority.

Having the option to only work 3 or 4 days a week would not be possible without the upside to working in fine dining. Money and that one can generally make a lot more money in a fine dining restaurant.

Advantages to Fine Restaurants

More Money In A Fine Restaurant

Along with higher price points, comes more money. Also, be aware this can also mean more to tip out. However, at a casual restaurant a busy night might mean having 30 guests at an average of $19 a person for sales of $570, while having the same 30 guests at $90 a person is good for $2700 in sales. 30 guests in a non-steakhouse setting would be a lot of guests, so lets be more realistic and say 20 guests at $90 would be good for $1800 in sales.

Let’s be honest, one of the reasons we are in the business is cause we are money whores that would rather not sell drugs and dodge bullets.

But, now lets to the real math, tip outs and take home. Assuming 18% tips and 4.5% of sales for casual and 8% of sales for Fine-Dining:

Sales Tips Tip Out Take Home
$570 $103 26 77
$1800 $324 144 180

Why is there more tip out in the fine dining sphere, more support and more people to tip out. In fine restaurants, in addition to bartenders and bussers, there are food runners, sommeliers, maitre D, table setter, service bartender and our favorite polisher (no polishing silverware or glasses). Quite a few more hands in the cookie jar in the fine restaurant, than at the casual restaurant.

Now, also, keep in mind there is the casual plus category. This is a new category of restaurants becoming popular with the proliferation of chains such as The Cheesecake Factory and to an extent Brio Tuscan Grille. Both restaurants have entrees ranging from the teens into the $30’s and offer wines going up to about $100 a bottle. It is possible to see some big spenders in these places and the tip out shows as well. At these restaurants, food runners serve at least 3 purposes, enable massive volumes of guests, sell the idea of being more upscale and allow servers to spend more time selling drinks.

Higher Sales In A Fine Restaurant

This is obvious, but a higher price point means higher sales, it also means, as mentioned above, less guests. This could be a could thing, depending on the concept, some restaurants insist on working the service team more than others, but generally figure at the higher price points, not having a server on the floor is a bad thing. There should always be someone available for guests.

There are a few old school restaurants that do not agree with this concept and work the service team as hard if not harder than in casual restaurants. We recommend avoiding them unless running hard for 8 hours sounds enjoyable while having PPA of $105! It is an antiquated service model and doesn’t do any justice to the guest and the art of executing at a high level for the amount being spent by guests. Feel free to Tweet, email or visit us on Facebook to ask a few more well known places to avoid.

Having these higher sales with less guests is nice, since having knowledge of the dishes is more than knowing the ingredients, its knowing where it comes from.

Having the opportunity to sell rare booze is fune in a fine restaurant

Exclusive Wine and Liquors In Fine Restaurants

How many people can say they work at a restaurant that pours Pappy Van Winkle and has DRC? Pappy and DRC have miniature production; 7,000 cases for Pappy and 3500-5600 bottles for DRC.

Having these prizes available are normal in restaurants at high price points, it also is a draw. Big spenders like to know they can pay $150 a shot for Bourbon or drop $14,000 on a bottle of wine if they choose.

Is the Restaurant Still Fine-Dining Without These?

Yes! These are two examples of prized liquors and wines available. If $150 is too plebian for a big spender, maybe the bar should attempt to get its hands on Hardy Perfection (commonly called Earth, Wind, and Fire) cognac. Empty decanters reportedly sell for almost $1,000 on eBay! A shot of this once-in-a-lifetime cognac go for about $600. Fortunately it can be sampled on a trip to Las Vegas, where quite a few bottles of the cognac landed.

The prizes can also include A5 true Japanese Wagyu from a particular prefecture (town) or dishes finished with white truffles from Alba Italy. A more modest feature is true Dover Sole from the cold waters of the UK.

Support Staff In Fine Restaurants

This as well was alluded to during the tip discussion, but in the fine-dining world, not having to do mundane tasks like polish silverware or refill ketchup. Don’t like tons of sidework at the end of the night, this might be for you. Sidework in fine restaurants might involve melting ice or ensuring your section is ready for open!

Having an army of polishers, runners, bussers, table setters at your disposal is more than worth it. This is especially when it ensures that the 6 top celebrating a 50th birthday is happy.  It means that round of Johnnie Walker Blue is coming with dessert and coffee!

Awesome Free Stuff In A Fine Restaurant

Yes a fine dining restaurant has contests usually for some pretty amazing prizes. Having a wine that goes for $200 on the wine list sounds good.  It is even better when paired with the euphoria of a $300 Wednesday! This happens frequently, especially when booze vendors get involved in contests.

The booze vendors love to visit as many fine-dining restaurants and “sample” the staff on their products. Other times they are there to “educate” and may have a few different wines to sample. Whatever the purpose is, it is hard to beat having sampling a wine that goes for $250. There is a certain excitement about having the wine.  It makes one excited to share the news of the wine with guests in a fine restaurant.  This compounds the perk of having a $250 bottle on the table!

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