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Common Traits of High-Volume Fine Dining Restaurants

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Justin GuinnAuthor

High-volume fine dining restaurants must be able to prepare and serve tons of thoughtful food every service.

This requires a delicate dance between the front- and back-of-house — that depends on critical skills, processes, and technologies to function seamlessly during a service. And that’s just for a successful service. 

There are tons of restaurant business strategies and technology considerations that go into achieving and sustaining that high-volume during and outside of services.

That’s why we’ve analyzed commonalities of high-volume fine dining restaurants1 that use the Toast POS platform. Toast is the point-of-sale system (POS) built for your operation.

In this article, you will learn about common traits of high-volume fine dining restaurants that use Toast POS — including tactics to increase sales as well as strategic tech adoption. With the right strategies and tools in place, fine dining operations can deliver exceptional fine dining service and experiences, build customer loyalty, and maximize revenue potential.

Common traits of high-volume fine dining restaurants that use Toast POS

High-volume fine dining restaurants have to balance creating intricate, high-quality menu items with delivering great guest experiences — all while sustaining volume, streamlining staffing, and keeping a constant eye on profitability.

As you think about opening a fine dining restaurant or optimizing your current business, here are some operational and tech-focused commonalities we see from high-volume fine dining restaurants on the Toast platform.

1. Embrace handheld POS systems

High-volume fine dining restaurants understand the importance of leveraging technology to streamline operations.

Our data shows all of the successful high-volume fine dining restaurants we analyzed are using Toast Go® 2 handheld POS systems

These tools can help enable efficient order-taking, payment processing, and table-side service — reducing wait times and enhancing the overall guest experience. Handhelds can enable operators to implement Toast’s New Steps of Service, which empowers staff to stay on the floor amongst guests and ensure everyone has a great experience. 

2. Maintain an active website and social media presence

Successful high-volume fine dining restaurants understand the importance of attracting and engaging with guests — new and old.

To that point, 100% of the high-volume Toast restaurants we analyzed maintain an updated and user-friendly website and social media accounts. 

A well-designed restaurant website and active social media presence attract diners seeking information about offerings, menus, events, specials, and online reservations — not to mention offering and managing first-party digital ordering from the convenience of your restaurant website. 

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3. Host private events and/or offer catering

Providing private banquet events and catering can serve as a key revenue stream and marketing strategy for high-volume fine dining restaurants.

According to our data, 80% of high-volume fine dining Toast restaurants offer private events, allowing guests to celebrate special occasions while generating additional revenue.

Like off-site catering, private events can be a great way to control profit margins for a service. You can set the menu items and quantity ahead of time. You can prep food in advance. You know exactly how much labor is required given the space, food and drink service, and number of attendees. What’s not to like?!

4. Provide brunch services at least once a week

Offering brunch services has become a popular strategy for high-volume fine dining restaurants.

According to our research, 70% of fine dining establishments we analyzed offer a brunch service at least once a week. Brunch services can help expand the customer base and give guests a unique dining experience — not to mention bringing in revenue when you’d otherwise be closed.

5. Offer mocktails, or zero-proof cocktails 

Catering to the trend of healthier lifestyles and the increasing popularity of mocktails, many high-volume fine dining restaurants are currently offering zero-proof mocktails in addition to a full bar offering.

Of the high-volume fine dining restaurants we researched, 70% are incorporating mocktails into their drink selections, offering guests artful alcohol alternatives.


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6. Adopt online ordering

To cater to the demands of tech-savvy customers, high-volume fine dining restaurants are increasingly adopting online ordering systems.

Two-thirds (67%) of high-volume fine dining restaurants we researched utilize Toast's Online Ordering feature. This allows customers to conveniently order food and drinks from their mobile devices, enabling smooth order management and timely delivery.

7. Implement kitchen display systems (KDS)

Efficient kitchen operations are crucial for high-volume fine dining restaurants.

According to our research, 56% of the high-volume restaurants we reviewed are utilizing Toast's Kitchen Display Systems (KDS). These systems can help improve order accuracy, streamline communication between the front- and back-of-house, and enhance overall operational efficiency.


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Considerations for a high-volume fine dining restaurant business plan

Creating a comprehensive restaurant business plan is an essential step for answering how to run a high-volume fine dining establishment — especially in this competitive restaurant industry. 

Consider the following factors to create a solid foundation for your business plan:

  1. Restaurant concept and menu: Define your fine dining restaurant brand and concept to help nail down cuisine type, style of service, and target audience. This can help you craft a menu that offers high-quality, innovative dishes that align with your concept and cater to the preferences of your target market. A well-curated menu is crucial for providing a memorable fine dining experience.

  2. Fine dining service: Implementing exceptional service is key to creating a memorable fine dining experience — which is why Toast's New Steps of Service can be so valuable. Train your staff, including the fine dining servers, to provide attentive and personalized service. An emphasis on proper etiquette, professional presentation, and knowledge of menu items can help staff members consistently enhance guest experiences.

  3. Ambiance and dining room setup: Pay attention to the ambiance of your dining room to help ensure an elegant and inviting atmosphere. Consider factors such as lighting, music, and decor that align with your restaurant concept and target audience. Operators can utilize high-quality linens, tablecloths, napkins, glassware, and flatware to help elevate the fine dining experience.

  4. Wine list and beverage program: A curated wine list and beverage program are essential for a high-end fine dining establishment. Operators and managers can collaborate with knowledgeable sommeliers to curate a selection of wines that complement menu offerings. A diverse beverage program — alcoholic and/or non-alcoholic — can help cater to a variety of preferences.

  5. Seamless reservation systems: Implementing a reliable restaurant reservation system can help manage high-volume demands efficiently. Our data shows that the restaurants we analyzed are using such technology to provide a seamless and convenient reservation process for guests.

  6. Restaurant management and staffing: As a restaurant owner, assemble a strong management team, including a general manager with experience in the fine dining industry. Collaborate with professional chefs, such as a head chef experienced in French or American cuisine, to create outstanding menu offerings. Invest in skilled kitchen staff to maintain high standards of food preparation and presentation.

  7. Marketing and social media presence: Create a comprehensive restaurant marketing plan to promote your fine dining business. Utilize social media platforms to showcase your restaurant's unique experiences, such as prix fixe menus, chef's specials, and themed events. Engage with your audience, respond to restaurant reviews, and regularly update your social media accounts to build a strong online presence.

  8. Startup and financial considerations: Develop a realistic financial plan that includes initial startup costs, ongoing expenses, and revenue projections. Consider factors such as lease or mortgage payments, inventory and ingredient costs, staffing expenses, and marketing investments. Secure financing and explore partnerships to ensure smooth operations during the early stages of your fine dining restaurant business.

  9. Restrooms and facilities: Pay attention to every aspect of your establishment, including the cleanliness and aesthetics of your restrooms. Provide well-maintained facilities to create a positive impression on your guests and enhance their overall dining experience.

Fine dining service tips help elevate the guest experience

Exceptional service is a hallmark of fine dining establishments — what sets them apart from casual restaurants. 

To provide a memorable and refined experience for your guests, consider how to consistently provide the following elements of fine dining service.

  1. Professional and knowledgeable staff: Hire and train restaurant staff members who are committed to delivering the highest level of service. Fine dining servers should possess strong interpersonal skills, product knowledge, and an understanding of proper fine dining etiquette. Regular training in menu items, wine pairings, and service techniques is crucial for maintaining exceptional standards.

  2. Attention to detail: Paying attention to minute details is essential in fine dining service. From perfectly folded napkins and immaculately set tables to polished glassware and cutlery, every element should contribute to an elegant dining atmosphere. Train your staff to anticipate guests' needs, including refilling water glasses, clearing plates, and replacing utensils promptly.

  3. Menu presentation and explanations: Fine dining servers should effectively present and describe menu items to enhance the guest experience. Encourage staff to take the time to explain the ingredients, cooking techniques, and flavor profiles of each dish. This level of detail showcases the expertise of the culinary team and helps guests make informed dining decisions.

  4. Timely service: Fine dining establishments prioritize the pacing of the dining experience. Service should be properly timed, ensuring that courses are served promptly but without rushing guests. Coordinate closely with the kitchen staff to ensure smooth and synchronized delivery of appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

  5. Personalized and engaging interactions: Fine dining service is about creating a personalized experience for each guest. Encourage your staff to engage in friendly and knowledgeable conversations, building rapport and understanding individual preferences. Tailoring the service to guests' needs adds an extra level of care and attention that enhances their overall dining experience.

Priming your fine dining restaurant operation for sustainable success

Hopefully, these common traits of high-volume fine dining restaurants have sparked some ideas of your own.

It’s important to state that none of these tactics or technologies are guaranteed to help your operation — though they can all be a jumping-off point from which you can create or optimize your own fine dining business plan.

And if you’re ever ready for a strategic investment in a fine dining point of sale platform and other tools, Toast is here to help.

1 Methodology: High-volume fine dining restaurants in this context were calculated based on the quantity of annual gross purchase volume (GPV) transactions at the time of analysis for businesses classified as “fine dining” in Toast’s system as of Q3 2023. Additional data was gathered from the websites and social media accounts of the high-volume fine dining restaurants we analyzed.

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