On the Line / Fine Dining / What Makes a Great Sit Down Restaurant Experience?

What Makes a Great Sit Down Restaurant Experience?

Learn how to create a great experience for your sit down restaurant customers, including tips for improving restaurant ambiance, customer service, and more.

Sit down dining

DISCLAIMER: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. You should contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.

A great restaurant is about so much more than great food. 

As a restaurant owner or operator, your goal is to not only serve amazing meals but to provide an unmatched dining experience for everyone who visits your restaurant. Each part of your restaurant plays an important role in building an unforgettable experience – your ambiance, decor, service, and overall vibe can make or break a visit. 

If you’re looking for how to improve your dining experience, keep reading. 


Guest Experience Bootcamp

Take this one-week email course from Toast to maximize relationships with your restaurant guests — right into your inbox.

You must have Javascript enabled in order to submit forms on our website. If you'd like to contact Toast please call us at:

(857) 301-6002
First and Last Name is required
Phone Number is required
Restaurant Name is required
What is your role? is required
What best describes your restaurant type? is required
Yes, I’d like a demo of Toast, a restaurant technology platform.
Yes, I'd like a demo of Toast is required

We’ll handle your info according to our privacy statement.

What Is a Sit Down Restaurant?

On-premise dining, as opposed to takeout or delivery, encompasses all sit-down, or eat-in restaurants. This could be a casual bakery with a small dining room, or a large fine-dining restaurant with tablecloths, five courses, and a wine pairing option. Eating on-premise turns a meal into a full restaurant experience, adding in the excitement a special occasion or new adventure. 

A “sit down restaurant” is a broad category – typically referring to any full-service restaurant with a server. Sit-down restaurants can be formal or casual, and don’t have any specifications around concept or cuisine. 

Here are a few ways to create a great dining experience for your guests at a sit down restaurant. 

Read this next
23 Ways to Make Guests Happy in Your Restaurant

23 Ways to Make Guests Happy in Your Restaurant

Here are 23 new ways how to make guests happy in your restaurant, exceed their expectations, and create raving and returning fans.

How to Create a Great Dining Experience


The decor, lighting, seating, music, and cleanliness in a space all play an important role here. You want your guests to feel comfortable and settled in a space, while also staying true to your concept and brand. Be intentional with your decisions, and use decor, lighting, and music to your advantage. For example, if your concept is a small fine-dining restaurant, you might want to have dim, warm lighting with quiet jazz music playing in the background. 

Seating is also important for building a good dining experience. Make sure your dining room flows well, with many different types of seating to accommodate different groups and individual preferences. Learn more about restaurant seating here. 

Attentive Service    

What is most important part of what makes a great restaurant experience? The people. 

An attentive server will make all the difference in creating an unforgettable guest experience at a sit down restaurant. Anticipating guests' needs is key here: asking questions and taking orders at the right time, refilling drinks and waters before they’re empty, and checking in consistently are all essential. 

Learn more about training staff to be the best of the best here and here. 

A Streamlined POS System 

The right technology should only help a guest experience. You want technology to help take away some of the difficulties of serving, to help your staff focus on building and nurturing those guest relationships – not on running back and forth between tables and the POS. Things like order and pay at the table technology and handhelds can help streamline the guest experience, making things easier for everyone. With both of these forms of technology, the amount of time a guest must wait to pay is sharply reduced, ensuring that as soon as they’re ready to go, they can be out the door quickly and on their way to their couch — and their table is free for the next guest.

And beyond the dining experience, streamlined technology throughout your whole restaurant provides a more cohesive, straightforward experience. Everything from easy reservations to consistent follow-ups can help turn one-time diners into dependable regulars. 

Learn more about how to use technology to delight your restaurant guests here. 

Subscribe to On the Line

Sign up to get industry intel, advice, tools, and honest takes from real people tackling their restaurants’ greatest challenges.

We’ll handle your info according to our privacy statement.

Otl subscribe 44