How to Give Recommendations to Restaurant Guests: Real Server Tips

Are you a server looking to enhance your skills in delivering recommendations to restaurant guests? Look no further! In this video and following article, we will explore practical tips on how to provide thoughtful and concise suggestions to patrons, ensuring they have a well-guided dining experience without feeling overwhelmed.

Timing is everything when it comes to recommendations, so we’ll discuss the strategic moments to offer suggestions during a meal. Additionally, we’ll delve into the power of recommendations in buying time for guests to make decisions and explore alternative options. From tailoring recommendations to individual tastes to emphasizing satisfaction, we’ll cover it all. Remember, as a server, your expertise and genuine care play a vital role in creating a memorable and delightful dining experience for every guest.

Strategic Timing for Recommendations

Focus on serving drinks and settling guests

When it comes to making recommendations, timing is everything. As a server, it’s crucial to establish a rapport with your guests and create a comfortable atmosphere before suggesting any food items. Start off by focusing on serving drinks and ensuring that your guests have everything they need to settle into their dining experience.

Offer a warm welcome, take drink orders promptly, and deliver them efficiently. By doing so, you allow your guests to relax and enjoy their initial moments at the table without feeling overwhelmed.

Inquire about appetizers after delivering drinks

Once the initial interaction has taken place, and your guests have been served their drinks, it’s the perfect time to inquire about appetizers. Instead of bombarding them with a list of options straightaway, gauge their interest by asking if they’d like to start with some delicious appetizers.

This approach gives your guests the opportunity to consider their hunger levels and preferences before committing to additional food. By waiting until after the delivery of drinks to bring up the topic of appetizers, you ensure that your recommendations are made when your guests are more receptive to them.

Handling Rejections

Rejections are a natural part of the process, and how you handle them can set the tone for the rest of the meal. If customers decline the appetizer, a smooth transition is key.

Instead of an awkward pause, you can ask, “Would you like me to go ahead and give y’all a few recommendations on the menu here?” This keeps the conversation flowing and shows that you’re attentive to their needs.

Offering Recommendations

When it comes to recommendations, less is often more. Picking three consistent and well-liked items from the menu can be more effective than overwhelming customers with too many options.

It’s essential to choose dishes that you’re confident about and have received positive feedback. Letting customers know that these are just a few ideas and that you’ll be available for further questions creates a comfortable and supportive atmosphere.

Recognizing Customer Preferences

Not every table wants recommendations, and that’s okay. Some customers prefer to explore the menu on their own. In such cases, a polite acknowledgment of their preference and an offer to assist if they have any questions keeps the interaction professional and respectful.


The art of offering appetizers and recommendations is about more than just suggesting food; it’s about understanding the customers, communicating effectively, and creating a memorable dining experience. By being attentive, flexible, and confident in your approach, you can guide customers through the menu with ease and make their meal truly enjoyable.

Remember, it’s not just about what you say; it’s about how you say it. The right words, delivered with genuine care and understanding, can turn a simple meal into an extraordinary experience. Embrace these principles, and watch how they elevate your service to new heights.


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