Host & Hostess Overview

Do you have good management skills? Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the food service industry? Try working as a host or hostess! Hosts greet customers, manage table rotation, and keep track of which tables need to be cleaned. Some restaurants even have their hosts answer the phone and take reservations. Enjoy the thrill of working as a server but with a focus on management and coordination.

Responsibilities

The host or hostess at most restaurants juggles a variety of different responsibilities:

  • Greeting customers. They bring customers to their tables, provide menus and silverware, and sometimes guide customers through daily specials.
  • Monitoring how many tables each server is responsible for. Some servers can handle more tables than others, so know who is on your staff!
  • Monitoring the status of each table. Hosts may have to help servers clear tables before seating customers, especially during restaurant rush hours.
  • Managing the phone. This requires you to take reservations and takeout orders in between speaking with customers waiting to be seated.

Skills

Hosts need to have a strong set of skills to excel at the job.

  • Customer service. A host or hostess is often the first person that customers encounter in a restaurant, and are therefore the face of the business.
  • Patience. The ability to handle angry or complaining customers (and sometimes servers) requires that you remain calm and work efficiently even when times get tough.
  • Attention to detail. This is crucial in managing the status of each table. The fewer mistakes you make, the smoother the restaurant will run for both customers and servers.
  • The ability to multi-task. There are a lot of important tasks a host or hostess needs to juggle.
  • Personal hygiene.  Keep your customers comfortable by staying clean and presentable.

Experience

Most restaurants prefer hosts and hostesses with at least a high school education. If you are looking to work your way up to a supervising role, however, a college degree will be helpful.

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