What is a Host or Hostess?

A host or hostess is someone who is responsible for greeting customers at a restaurant with a smile, welcoming them into the establishment, seating them, and providing them with a menu. They are the organizer, the herder, and the first and last impression of the restaurant.

Keeping the restaurant orderly, making sure the customers are content, and keeping track of what's going on at each table are just some of the ways a host or hostess helps to keep a restaurant and its guests happy.

What does a Host or Hostess do?

A host or hostess represents the service and overall hospitality of the staff of the restaurant. Hosting or hostessing is a honed craft; if the host or hostess knows how to make people feel like they genuinely care for them, he or she can become a restaurant's biggest asset in no time.

A host or hostess is someone who is responsible for greeting customers at a restaurant with a smile, welcoming them into the establishment, seating them, and providing them with a menu.

While guests are waiting to be seated or waiting for take-out orders to be ready, it is the job of the host or hostess to make sure that the guests are made comfortable and kept informed of the status of their orders or wait times. If the restaurant is very busy, it is the duty of the host or hostess to explain to impatient customers that they're doing everything they can to accommodate them. They can offer conversation or a free drink at the bar while they wait.

It is important for a host or hostess to keep an eye on what is going on in the kitchen, in each of the servers' stations, and at the bar, and to be aware of how their actions can potentially affect all of these areas.

Hosts or hostesses need to look and act polished, friendly and calm, not bossy, loud, vulgar, or bored. The host or hostess will often dress a bit differently than the rest of the wait staff to make sure he or she is easily recognizable should a guest need any services. The level of formality a host or hostess must adhere to can vary depending on the type of restaurant he or she works in. In formal restaurants, the host or hostess may be required to dress a certain way and exhibit exceptional manners in keeping with the restaurant's overall decor.

While the negative aspects of being a host or hostess aren't quite as extreme as those faced by servers, they are similar. A good majority of the people hosts and hostesses deal with will be pleasant, but on occasion they'll have to deal with some truly unpleasant people. They may have guests who will get angry that they can't have the best table in the house. They'll get guests who try to sneak in last-minute reservations, guests who get angry because they think things are moving too slowly, and even the occasional upset waiter or waitress who is not happy with how many tables he or she has.

If the host or hostess is having a bad day, it is important not to let any frustration that they may be feeling show or reflect in their service, making sure to be polite and to let the customer know that they value their presence. A host or hostess should not blame other staff members, as this reflects badly on the restaurant as a whole. Customers might presume that if the place is poorly run, then the food might not be worth waiting for. It is important to leave all emotions or ego at home. By being professional and keeping high standards, hosts and hostesses can help to keep the restaurant running smoothly and help to keep customers feeling happy and wanting to return. When customers leave, it is important to thank them sincerely, and to genuinely tell them that it would be wonderful to see them return.

Duties of a Host and Hostess

  • keep track of each station
  • make a chart of each server's station, and what tables are in it
  • learn the table layout by heart
  • review all reservations for each shift, and assign suitable tables
  • make sure each member of the wait staff get a fair amount of tables
  • monitor the table rotation
  • keep notes on how many people are in a party, time of arrival, etc.
  • know which servers can be counted on to take extra tables
  • keep track of which tables are cleaned and available for new guests
  • estimate wait times for guests
  • answer the phone and take reservations
  • make sure there are complete place settings for each guest
  • make sure the table is clean
  • move tables together to accommodate larger parties
  • make special arrangements for children or disabled people
  • make eye contact and focus on guests when they ask questions
  • when seating guests who have been waiting, thank them for their patience

Are you suited to be a host and hostess?

Hosts and hostesses have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also social, meaning they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly.

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What is the workplace of a Host or Hostess like?

Hosts and hostesses are usually found at the front door wearing a big smile and ready to greet guests in restaurants, lounges and other public establishments. Although some hosts and hostesses work full-time, most work in part-time positions. This type of work tends to be extremely busy during the evenings and on weekends.

Hosts and Hostesses are also known as:
Host