What does a Host or Hostess do?

Median Pay $22,290
Growth Rate 1%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A host or hostess greets restaurant guests as they arrive to dine and seats directs them to their table. They would also consider the most appropriate table based on each server’s workload to ensure the guests have a pleasant experience and the wait staff do not get overwhelmed.

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How to Become a Host or Hostess

A host or hostess can expect to learn their position on-the-job. Even if you have past experience at another restaurant, you must still learn each restaurants expectations and strategy to seating guests efficiently. You most likely would shadow other hosts or hostesses to learn the job.

Job Description of a Host or Hostess

what does a host or hostess do

A host or hostess plays an important job at a restaurant as they are the first people to greet a customer and make sure they feel welcome. If there is a waiting list, they also have to determine how long the guest can estimate their wait will be and communicate that information. They may provide a recommendation on where the guest can comfortably wait as well.

Hosts and hostesses also have to consider where they are seating their guests in relation to their wait staff and how busy each server’s section is. This attention to detail is vital to the guests experience and the morale of the wait staff.

A host and hostess most often also takes phone calls if customers have questions about hours, reservations, or directions. They might also receive job applications and be the first ones to greet an applicant coming in for an interview.

Depending on the restaurant, they may also help the serving staff out by cleaning tables when the restaurant is busy so guests can be seated quickly. In addition, they may help roll silverware in napkins, change out menus, and clean other items at the end of their shift.

Host and Hostess Career Video Transcript

If you’re friendly and value good customer service, you might consider finding work as a host or hostess in a restaurant, lounge, or coffee shop. As the source of customers’ first impressions, the host or hostess provides many initial services. They usually take reservations, guide customers to tables, provide them with menus, and ensure prompt and courteous service.

In some businesses, the host or hostess is also the cashier. Customer service skills are helpful, as hosts often need to resolve complaints. Knowledge of a second language may be helpful in restaurants specializing in a foreign cuisine. A host or hostess is usually not tipped directly by customers, but may receive a percentage in locations where staff combine tips in a pool.

In most places, the job of host or hostess is easy to learn and usually low-stress. Hours are typically part-time, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. A good option for work while attending school, getting familiar with a new city, or working on other projects, hosting’s only major demands are a positive attitude, a neat and clean appearance and a smile!

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee Shop.

National Center for O*NET Development. 35-9031.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.