Fine dining restaurants have different characteristics. The French Laundry, for example, offers contemporary French cuisine with an American touch, as well as two tasting menus consisting of nine dishes each and special holiday dishes. No matter your choice in a fine dining restaurant, nonetheless, you will find similar aspects that it shares with its competitors.
Here are the aspects of operations that makes fine dining restaurants what they are – expensive, yes, but worth the price.
Reservations System in Place
While not all fine dining restaurants require reservations before the staff allow entry into the main dining room, most of them have a reservation system in place for good reason. With the number of people that will be coming for a particular day and time known to the staff, especially the kitchen staff, it’s easier for them to deliver exceptional service.
Even the best chefs and their assistants can be overwhelmed by the sheer number of diners, which can result in more mistakes made and less quality delivered. Besides, in fine dining, the dinner rush can actually be the entire length of the service so the less overwhelmed the kitchen staff are, the better your food will be.
But there are also restaurants without a reservation system, such as with cutting-edge yet easy-to-execute menu. Still, you may want to ask about the reservation option, especially if you’re coming with a large group.
Tablecloths Are Typical
White tablecloths are the most common choice in fine dining restaurants because of their clean appearance, as well as the fact that white can easily set off the beauty of the cutlery, the dishes and the décor. The quality of the tablecloths may even surpass your tablecloth at home because everything that affects your dining experience will be considered.
But there’s been a sea change in the way fine dining restaurants view white tablecloths in recent years, too, with many of them skipping the added table covering. The reasons: These require significant time, energy and money for their upkeep, as well as cover the beauty of the tables underneath. Many restaurants want to highlight the aesthetics of their tables and to use these tables as part of their branding.
Prix Fixe Menus Are Popular
Known as a set menu in the English language, a prix fixe menu can actually be changed on a daily or weekly basis; the term stuck, however. The menu can consist of a few or several courses depending on the chef’s preferences, the availability of ingredients, and the price, among other factors.
For example, the French Laundry has nine courses in its tasting menu, which usually changes from day to day and which doesn’t contain an ingredient used on two different dishes. Other restaurants can have set menus with as little as four courses while others offer a 10-course set prix fixe.
In keeping with the times, many restaurants offer two types of set menus – a meat-lover option and a vegetarian option. Most, if not all, of the dishes are also made of seasonal ingredients to ensure the best quality; the on-season fruits and vegetables are at the peak of their freshness and, thus, have better tastes than off-season ones.
And we have to say that the food at fine dining restaurants are more delicious than those found in your fast-food joints! The delicious food, which will be presented so beautifully you may not want to eat it, is the main reason why you’re splurging on it.
Expensive Wine, Spirits and Cocktails
If you’re not up for paying for a bottle of wine with a restaurant price tag double, perhaps even triple, the price of the same bottle in a supermarket, then a fine dining experience may not be up your alley. Many fine dining restaurants can make up to 300% profit on their alcohol sales, thus, the exorbitant prices.
But if you want the services of a sommelier as well as the excellent food-wine pairing that the wine professional can offer, then go ahead and splurge on a fine dining experience at least once a week! Besides, it may be your only chance to enjoy a glass of the best burgundy without tipping your credit card into breaking point.
The servers are the best in the business, too, so diners can expect exceptional service – courteous, fast, and efficient. Here, you will find that the servers are well-trained in the art and science of fine dining, from the china, cutlery and stoneware to the subtleties of the dishes and desserts. You can also ask them to explain the entire menu – and they won’t look at notes, to boot – so that you will know what to expect once the food is delivered to your table.
Indeed, the guest experience is the most important thing for the management and staff of fine dining restaurants. This entails attention to the smallest details, attentive service, and attractive food that’s as delicious in the mouth as it’s appealing to the eyes.
Now, aren’t these reasons enough to treat yourself to a fine dining experience as many times as possible?