I've been a server for 22 yrs. in casual dining. How do I move up to fine dining

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kema00032 in Saint Paul, Minnesota

79 months ago

I have worked in casual dining restaurants for 22 years. I would like to get into fine dining serving. Am I to old? I'm 40. Do they like to hire people with little experience so they can train them the way they want? I dont know where to start as far as resumes, what I have to learn before applying and what are some places where I might have a chance to get my foot in the door? Interview tips would be greatly appreciated as well. Thank You

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73 months ago

Here's what I would do if I were in that position.


-First learn about some of the in fashion wines. South America, specifically Chile is pretty popular right now. I'm not saying you need to become a master sommelier, but it would be helpful to know more wines than just Merlot, Cab & Chardonnay. I would also go to a wine tasting room in your area & take notes - probably the best $20 (or less) you'll spend as a waiter.

-Next I would check out what the popular upscale dishes are. I'd know one or two seafood items (nut crusted, mild fish are fairly popular), one or two chicken dishes (like a marsala) & a couple steak dishes (go for something like a Roquefort Steak or Burgundy Steak Medallions).

-This may cost a few shekels, but I would go to a few upscale restaurants on a slower night & observe how the waitstaff carries itself. This is huge because there's a different demeanor that is required. In casual restaurants, a "folksy" attitude does well. In fine dining, it's about being professional.

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73 months ago

The interview:

-If I have been in jobs for long periods of time, I would stress that when a restaurant is the right fit, I like to build a base of repeat clientele & that I'm usually the go-to guy for questions from the guests & staff. If most of the recent jobs I was at was under year, I'd stress that initially I thought that it was the cultures in the individual restaurants, but then I discovered that it was that I've grown tired of the stale atmosphere that casual dining provides. I'd follow that up with stating that I'm interested bringing my skills to a new arena, especially with an constantly evolving menu (they'll usually have 2-6 daily specials) that keeps the staff sharp.

-When asked why I'm looking for a change (as in a different type of restaurant, I'd say something like "I was talking to a friend/cousin who works in a _-Star Restaurant (in a far away state if asked) & we were talking shop. While I was griping about unreliable, 20-something coworkers who are just working for beer & gas money or corporate micro-management, his gripes were that they ran out of the Macadamia Crusted Mahi-Mahi before he could order it for himself & that he'd gotten something on his favorite tie."

-At 40 I wouldn't mention my age. They'll know you're older by your appearance (which is usually what they're looking for, for more reliability, accountability, etc), but when you state your age they may start to question why you haven't gone into management "at your age".

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