Want to give your guests a special experience while letting your chef shine? Plan a tasting menu, and give your guests a reason to splurge.

Tasting menus can be intimidating to plan, and nerve-wracking to commit to. But done well, they can give your chefs an opportunity to shine creatively, and offer a special opportunity for your customers to connect with your chef.

A typical diner is more likely to splurge on a tasting menu than a regular dinner because they see it as a unique overall experience, and not just a meal. Tasting menus also offer a chance for better inventory control, allowing for an opportunity to use more expensive ingredients.

Convinced, and ready to offer a tasting menu? Here are our top 3 tips to make it successful.

Let your creativity shine

Tasting menus are the perfect chance to set your chef free and let his or her creativity loose. It’s also a great chance to get feedback on what unique dishes your diners are enjoying. Think of this as a time to use special ingredients that may otherwise be too expensive. It’s also the perfect opportunity to feature local and seasonal ingredients. Keep in mind that with a multi course meal, it’s easy to over do it and make courses too large or too rich. Balance out a richer dish with a light one and different tastes and textures. You want each course to be thoroughly enjoyed and guests to leave perfectly satisfied and not too stuffed.

Let the meal be an experience

Diners who select a tasting menu for their meal, are putting themselves into your hands and they want the evening to be a complete experience. They are generally more adventurous eaters, and are looking for something special. Plan your menu as a whole experience. Be sure that the menu flows as a whole unit, but also that the individual dishes work on their own. This is also the perfect opportunity to take the meal a step further and offer carefully selected wine pairings for each course.

candlelit dinner

Let your servers shine

Remember that when selling an experience, all factors of your restaurant need to work together to deliver that special experience. Diners ordering off a tasting menu are spending more money and are expecting a better evening. Train your servers to elevate their service and deliver that experience. They should consider themselves the guest’s guide for the evening. Servers should be trained on the chef’s inspiration and vision for the evening and should describe each dish and wine as it’s presented. They are also key in letting the kitchen know how it’s being received, as this type of experience opens up more dialogue between guests and servers.

Diners don’t quickly forget evenings they enjoyed a tasting menu, so be sure yours is a special memory for them, one they’ll be talking about for years to come.

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.