Restaurant hosts/hostesses welcome customers to a hospitality service unit and provide initial services. They are in charge of managing reservations and greeting guests when they arrive at the restaurant. They also seat the guests and make sure that they enjoy their meal.
A restaurant host/restaurant hostess typically does the following:
- Manages reservations for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Answers phone calls, takes reservations and answers questions.
- Plans and organizes reservations on restaurant seating chart.
- Greets guests as they enter the restaurant.
- Seats guests in an open section or at a reserved table.
- Provides guests with menus and ensures they are seated comfortably.
- Assigns guests evenly across different servers’ sections in the restaurant.
- Maintains restaurant’s seating chart throughout the shift.
- Adds guests’ names to waitlists as necessary.
- Takes drink orders for guests as they wait, or directs them to the bar area as necessary.
- Notifies guests when a table is ready.
- Keeps the host station neat and organized.
- Assists in rearranging tables for large parties.
- Reports any problems or issues to restaurant manager.
- Attends staff meetings.
- Assists in setting up and cleaning up the restaurant during opening and closing shifts, respectively.
- Addresses and resolves customer concerns and complaints.
- Keeps in contact with servers to make sure the seating chart is properly balanced.
- Thanks guests for dining at the restaurant when they leave.
The following job titles also refer to restaurant host/restaurant hostess:
front of house hostess
restaurant host/restaurant hostess
front of house host
meeter and greeter
Because restaurants serve the public, they are usually attractive places in which to work. Expensive restaurants often provide elegant work surroundings. Hosts and hostesses are usually stationed near the restaurant entrance and are on their feet throughout their shifts. They must maintain a neat appearance and always be courteous to guests. Full-time hosts and hostesses work forty hours a week and may rotate shifts, but there are many part-time workers in this field as well.
Restaurant hosts and hostesses must work their share of weekends, evenings, and holidays.
Most restaurants prefer to hire people who have a high school education. Some vocational schools have programs in food service that can help prepare students for this kind of work; however, most restaurant hosts and hostesses are trained on the job.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Restaurant host/restaurant hostess is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Restaurant host/restaurant hostess career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to restaurant host/restaurant hostess.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of restaurant host/restaurant hostess. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of restaurant host/restaurant hostess with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of restaurant host/restaurant hostess.
- Assist guest departure: Aid guests during their departure, receive feedback on satisfaction and invite guests to come back once more.
- Comply with food safety and hygiene: Respect optimal food safety and hygiene during preparation, manufacturing, processing, storage, distribution and delivery of food products.
- Handle customer complaints: Administer complaints and negative feedback from customers in order to address concerns and where applicable provide a quick service recovery.
- Seat customers according to the waiting list: Accommodate customers according to the waiting list, reservation and position in the queue.
- Assist vip guests: Help VIP-guests with their personal orders and requests.
- Assist customers: Provide support and advice to customers in making purchasing decisions by finding out their needs, selecting suitable service and products for them and politely answering questions about products and services.
- Maintain customer service: Keep the highest possible customer service and make sure that the customer service is at all times performed in a professional way. Help customers or participants feel at ease and support special requirements.
- Arrange tables: Organise and dress tables to accommodate special events.
- Process reservations: Execute customers’ reservations in accordance to their schedules and needs by phone, electronically or in person.
- Welcome restaurant guests: Greet guests and take them to their tables and make sure they are properly seated at a convenient table.
- Present menus: Hand out menus to guests while assisting guests with questions using your mastery of the menu.
- Accommodate special seating: Give requested special seating to guests whenever possible, such as special seating arrangements for babies, disabled or obese people.
- Check dining room cleanliness: Control dining areas including their floor and wall surfaces, tables and serving stations and ensure appropriate cleanliness.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of restaurant host/restaurant hostess. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Maintain relationship with customers: Build a lasting and meaningful relationship with customers in order to ensure satisfaction and fidelity by providing accurate and friendly advice and support, by delivering quality products and services and by supplying after-sales information and service.
- Advise guests on menus for special events: Offer recommendations to guests on meal and drink items available for special events or parties in a professional and friendly manner.
- Clean surfaces: Disinfect surfaces in accordance with sanitary standards.
- Take food and beverage orders from customers: Accept orders from customers and record them into the Point of Sale system. Manage order requests and communicate them to fellow staff members.
- Work in a hospitality team: Function confidently within a group in hospitality services, in which each has his own responsibility in reaching a common goal which is a good interaction with the customers, guests or collaborators and their contentment.
- Assist clients with special needs: Aid clients with special needs following relevant guidelines and special standards. Recognise their needs and accurately respond to them if needed.
- Devise special promotions: Develop promotion activities to stimulate sales.
ISCO group and title
5131 – Waiters
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