Top 11 Fine Dining Server Certifications
This article provides an overview of the top certifications for fine dining servers, including requirements and benefits.
Published 18 min read
Certifications for a fine dining server are important in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the server has the necessary knowledge and skills to provide exceptional service in a high-end restaurant. Certifications show that the server is knowledgeable about food and beverage pairings, can properly set tables and serve guests, knows which dishes require special attention or preparation, is familiar with proper etiquette and customer service standards, and understands safety protocols. Additionally, certifications often come with continuing education opportunities that allow servers to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices. This makes them more attractive candidates for employment than those without such credentials.
The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Fine Dining Servers and explain how they can help to advance a server's career in the fine dining industry.
What are Fine Dining Server Certifications?
Fine dining server certification is an accreditation that demonstrates a person has the knowledge and skills required to provide excellent service in a fine dining restaurant. This certification is typically awarded by hospitality organizations, such as the National Restaurant Association, after completion of a course or series of courses focused on fine dining service.
This certification can help those looking to work in the fine dining industry because it shows employers that they have taken the time to learn how to best serve their customers. It also provides evidence that they understand the finer points of etiquette and table setting, which are important for providing high-quality service. Additionally, this certification may give applicants an edge when competing with other job seekers who do not have this extra credential.
For current employees, having this certification can also be beneficial as it may make them more eligible for promotions or higher-paying positions within their company. Furthermore, many restaurants require their servers to have this specific training before allowing them to serve customers in their establishment. Thus, having this certification could open up more opportunities for employment in these types of establishments.
Overall, obtaining a fine dining server certification can be beneficial for both those looking for jobs in the industry and those already employed in it. It shows employers that you are knowledgeable and capable of providing quality service in a professional manner. Additionally, it may lead to more job opportunities and higher wages due to the specialized nature of this type of training.
Pro Tip: When considering fine dining server certification, make sure to look for courses that cover the basics of proper service as well as more advanced topics such as wine and food pairings, menu knowledge, and customer service. It's important to find a program that will give you the tools you need to become a successful server in a fine dining restaurant.
Related: What does a Fine Dining Server do?
Top 11 Fine Dining Server Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Fine Dining Servers today.
1. Certified Professional Food Server (CPFS)
Certified Professional Food Server (CPFS) is a certification program designed to recognize food service professionals who demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skills in the areas of food safety, sanitation, customer service, and hospitality. The CPFS certification is offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), and is recognized as an industry standard for excellence in foodservice operations.
The CPFS certification requires successful completion of an online exam that covers topics such as food safety regulations, safe food handling practices, customer service, and hospitality. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.
To get the CPFS certification, you must first register for the exam at the NRAEF website. You will need to provide basic contact information and pay a fee of $125 USD before you can take the exam. Once you have paid for the exam, you will be given access to an online study guide that contains all of the material you need to prepare for it. After studying this material thoroughly, you can take the exam at any time within one year from your registration date.
Once you have passed the exam with a score of 70% or higher, you will receive your CPFS certification card in the mail within two weeks. This card serves as proof that you are now certified as a professional food server and is valid for three years from your original registration date.
2. Certified Restaurant Server (CRS)
Certified Restaurant Server (CRS) is a certification program designed to provide restaurant servers with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their roles. The program is offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). It is designed to help restaurant servers understand customer service, food safety, and alcohol service laws.
The Certified Restaurant Server program consists of an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as customer service, food safety, and alcohol service laws. It takes approximately 4-6 hours to complete the online course. After completing the online course, participants must pass a proctored exam in order to earn their CRS certification.
To get certified, you must first register for the Certified Restaurant Server program through the NRAEF website. Once registered, you will be given access to the online course material and instructions on how to take the proctored exam. The cost of registration for the Certified Restaurant Server program is $99 USD.
3. Certified Banquet Server (CBS)
Certified Banquet Server (CBS) is a certification program designed to train and certify individuals in the hospitality industry who serve food and beverages at banquets. The program is offered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). It is designed for banquet servers, bartenders, and other hospitality professionals who want to gain the knowledge and skills required to serve guests at events with confidence and professionalism.
The program consists of an online self-study course that takes approximately 8 hours to complete. Upon completion of the course, participants must pass a final exam in order to receive their CBS certification. The exam covers topics such as safety and sanitation, customer service, menu knowledge, beverage service, and table setting.
The cost of the CBS certification program varies depending on whether you choose to take the online self-study course or attend a live training session. The online self-study course costs $150 while attending a live training session costs $200.
In order to get certified as a Certified Banquet Server (CBS), you must complete the online self-study course or attend a live training session and successfully pass the final exam with a score of 80% or higher. Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your certificate from NRAEF within 2 weeks of completing your test.
4. Certified Food and Beverage Manager (CFBM)
Certified Food and Beverage Manager (CFBM) is a professional certification program designed to provide food and beverage professionals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to effectively manage a restaurant or other food service operation. The CFBM program is administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF).
The CFBM program consists of three courses: Principles of Food & Beverage Management, Facility & Human Resources Management, and Financial Management for Food & Beverage Operations. Each course must be completed within one year in order to receive the certification.
In order to get certified as a CFBM, you must first complete all three courses. You can take the courses online or in-person at an approved training center. The cost of each course varies depending on where you take it; however, most range from $500-$1,000 per course. After completing all three courses, you will need to submit an application for certification along with a fee of $100.
Once your application has been approved, you will receive your Certified Food and Beverage Manager certificate. This certificate is valid for two years and must be renewed every two years in order to remain active.
5. Certified Wine Steward (CWS)
A Certified Wine Steward (CWS) is a professional certification that recognizes an individual's knowledge and expertise in the wine industry. It is awarded by the Society of Wine Educators, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting wine education. The CWS certification requires successful completion of a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as viticulture, winemaking, wine tasting, food and wine pairing, and service skills.
It typically takes three to six months to prepare for the CWS exam. Preparation includes studying textbooks, attending seminars or classes, and tasting a variety of wines. The cost of the exam varies depending on the country in which it is taken but generally ranges from $200 to $400 USD.
In order to become certified as a CWS, applicants must pass the exam with at least 70% accuracy. Upon passing the exam, applicants are awarded their CWS certificate and may use the designation “Certified Wine Steward” on their business cards or other professional materials.
6. Certified Hospitality Professional (CHP)
Certified Hospitality Professional (CHP) is a professional certification program offered by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in the hospitality industry. The CHP certification is applicable to all areas of hospitality, including hotel management, food service, event planning, and tourism.
The CHP certification requires successful completion of an online exam that covers topics such as customer service, hospitality law, marketing and sales, human resources management, finance and accounting, and operations. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within two hours.
To qualify for the CHP certification program, applicants must have at least two years of experience in the hospitality industry or a related field. They must also submit an application form with documentation verifying their work experience.
The cost of the CHP certification program varies depending on which AHLEI membership package you choose. The basic package costs $199 USD plus tax while the premium package costs $399 USD plus tax. Both packages include access to study materials as well as the online exam.
7. Certified Sommelier (CS)
A Certified Sommelier (CS) is a professional who has completed an advanced wine education program and passed a rigorous exam. The program is offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers, which is the leading international organization for wine professionals.
The program consists of four levels: Introductory Sommelier, Certified Sommelier, Advanced Sommelier, and Master Sommelier. To become a Certified Sommelier, you must first pass the Introductory Level Exam. This exam covers topics such as grape varieties, viticulture and winemaking, food and wine pairing, tasting techniques, and service.
Once you have passed the Introductory Level Exam, you may then take the Certified Sommelier Exam. This exam covers topics such as terroir and appellation systems, classic wines of the world, sparkling wines and Champagnes, fortified wines and dessert wines. It also includes blind tasting of six different wines.
The entire process typically takes around 18 months to complete if you are studying full-time or longer if you are studying part-time. The cost to become a Certified Sommelier varies depending on where you take the course but generally ranges from $1,500 - $2,500 USD including all exams fees.
8. Advanced Sommelier Certification (ASC)
Advanced Sommelier Certification (ASC) is a certification program offered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. It is a rigorous and comprehensive program designed to test and certify wine professionals at the highest level. The program consists of three stages: Introductory, Certified, and Advanced. To become an Advanced Sommelier, you must pass all three levels of the exam.
The Introductory level is designed to give students a basic understanding of wine and food pairing, wine service, and tasting techniques. Upon successful completion of this course, students are eligible to take the Certified Sommelier Exam. The Certified level focuses on more advanced topics such as blind tasting, food-and-wine pairing, regional knowledge, and business principles. After passing this exam, students can move onto the Advanced Sommelier Exam which tests their knowledge in areas such as viticulture, winemaking processes, cellar management, international wines and spirits production methods.
In order to become an Advanced Sommelier, you must pass all three levels of the exam within two years of starting the program. The cost for taking all three exams is approximately $2,500 USD which includes study materials and registration fees for each exam.
9. Court of Master Sommeliers Diploma Program
The Court of Master Sommeliers Diploma Program is a comprehensive educational program designed to develop and assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities of aspiring sommeliers. The program consists of four levels: Introductory Sommelier, Certified Sommelier, Advanced Sommelier, and Master Sommelier.
The Introductory level is an online course that takes about 10-12 weeks to complete. It covers topics such as wine history and styles, viticulture and vinification, geography of wine regions, tasting techniques, food and wine pairing principles, service standards for restaurants and hotels, and more. This level costs $695 USD.
The Certified level is the first practical exam in the program. It requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of wines through blind tastings as well as their service skills in a restaurant setting. This level takes about 8-10 weeks to complete and costs $1125 USD.
The Advanced level requires candidates to demonstrate a deeper understanding of wines through blind tastings as well as their ability to teach others about wine through lectures or seminars on various topics related to wine. This level takes about 12-14 weeks to complete and costs $1595 USD.
The final level is the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam which tests candidates’ theoretical knowledge of wines as well as their practical skills in both a restaurant setting and a lecture hall environment. This exam is only available by invitation after successful completion of the previous three levels; it typically takes between 18-24 months to prepare for this exam depending on individual study habits. The cost for this exam varies depending on location but can range from $3000 - $5000 USD.
10. Culinary Institute of America's Professional Food Service Management Certificate
The Professional Food Service Management Certificate from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is a comprehensive program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful foodservice managers. The program consists of five courses that cover topics such as menu planning, purchasing, cost control, and nutrition. The courses are offered both online and in-person at CIA campuses in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.
The program takes approximately eight months to complete. Students must complete all five courses within this timeframe in order to receive the certificate. Each course is approximately three weeks long and requires approximately 40 hours of study time per week.
To get the certificate, students must apply for admission to the CIA's Professional Food Service Management Certificate Program. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent and be at least 18 years old.
The cost of the certificate program varies depending on where you take it and whether you take it online or in-person. For example, if taken online through the CIA's eCornell platform, the total cost is $3,495 USD; if taken in-person at one of their campuses in New York, California, Texas or Singapore, the total cost is $5,995 USD.
11. National Restaurant Association's ServSafe Certification
The National Restaurant Association's ServSafe Certification is a comprehensive food safety training and certification program designed to help protect the public from foodborne illness. It is based on the FDA Food Code and provides restaurant employees with the knowledge and skills they need to safely handle and prepare food.
ServSafe Certification requires completion of a two-day, 16-hour course, which includes an exam. The course covers topics such as safe food handling practices, personal hygiene, cross-contamination prevention, time/temperature control, cleaning/sanitation procedures, and pest management. Upon successful completion of the course and exam, participants will receive their ServSafe Certification card valid for five years.
To get your ServSafe Certification you must first register for a class in your area. You can find classes offered by approved instructors through the National Restaurant Association website or through local health departments. Once you have registered for a class you will receive instructions on how to access online materials that include videos and quizzes that must be completed before attending the two-day class.
The cost of getting your ServSafe Certification varies depending on where you take the course but typically ranges from $100-$200 USD.
Do You Really Need a Fine Dining Server Certificate?
The answer to this question depends on the individual's goals and career aspirations. For someone who is looking to enter the restaurant industry, a fine dining server certificate could be beneficial. These certificates are designed to teach servers how to provide excellent customer service in a high-end setting and can give them an edge when applying for jobs. They also provide a foundation of knowledge about proper etiquette, food safety, and wine service that may be required for certain positions.
On the other hand, some experienced servers may not feel the need for a formal certificate. If they already have experience in fine dining settings and understand what is expected of them, they might choose to gain additional skills through on-the-job training or by taking seminars or classes related to their work. In this case, having a certificate is not necessary as long as they demonstrate the ability to perform the job duties effectively.
Ultimately, whether or not someone needs a fine dining server certificate will depend on their circumstances and career goals. While having one can provide an advantage when seeking employment in high-end restaurants, it is not always necessary if an individual has sufficient knowledge and experience in foodservice.
Related: Fine Dining Server Resume Examples
FAQs About Fine Dining Server Certifications
1. What is a Fine Dining Server Certification?
Answer: A Fine Dining Server Certification is an official recognition of a server’s knowledge and skills in providing exceptional service to customers in high-end restaurants. It is awarded by professional organizations that specialize in fine dining training and certification.
2. What do I need to do to earn a Fine Dining Server Certification?
Answer: To earn a Fine Dining Server Certification, you must complete an approved course offered by one of the professional organizations that offer fine dining certification. The course will cover topics such as customer service, menu knowledge, food safety, and other restaurant-related topics.
3. How long does it take to get certified as a Fine Dining Server?
Answer: The length of time it takes to become certified depends on the program you choose and how much time you are able to dedicate to studying for the certification exam. Generally, most programs require at least 6-8 weeks of study time before taking the exam.
4. Is there any cost associated with getting certified as a Fine Dining Server?
Answer: Yes, there are costs associated with obtaining a Fine Dining Server Certification which can include enrollment fees for courses or exams, materials needed for studying, and any applicable travel expenses for attending classes or taking exams. Additionally, some certifying organizations may charge annual membership fees or other fees related to maintaining your certification status.
5. Are there any benefits associated with having a Fine Dining Server Certification?
Answer: Yes! Having a Fine Dining Server Certification can help you stand out from other job applicants when applying for jobs in high-end restaurants or hotels; employers know that certified servers have the necessary skills and knowledge required to provide exceptional customer service in these types of establishments. Additionally, having this certification can open up more career opportunities as well as higher salaries due to increased job security and recognition of your qualifications