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Restaurant Host/Hostess: Top Tips for Success

by | CAREER TIPS

The job of a restaurant host, hostess or maitre d’ may seem simple from an outsider’s perspective. But anyone who’s worked in the position, or in a full service restaurant in general, knows that it’s one of the most crucial positions in the building.

Welcoming guests with a smile is only the tip of the iceberg. You need to become a great restaurant host or hostess that makes the difference between a smooth dinner service or a sloppy one. 

Just like any hospitality job, learning how to provide a great time for your guests comes with experience. However, there are always some things you can keep in mind to give yourself an edge when you work as a host or hostess in a restaurant

To help you out, we’ve put together a few tips so you can excel in the job no matter what level of experience you have.

Be Patient and Polite

The host, hostess, or maitre d’ is the person responsible for the first impression of the restaurant. Whether on the phone or in person, it’s important to always have a friendly and professional attitude when interacting with the guests.  

While the waiter or waitress will have to deal with complaints about the food, the maitre d’ deals with other types of problems. If there is an issue with a reservation or the waiting time is less than ideal, you will be the one the guest complains to. No matter the demeanor or behavior of the guest, you must remain patient and do everything you can to resolve the issue for them. 

If you have a customer that is too much to handle and you feel yourself getting upset, get your manager to help. They have priceless experience dealing with these types of situations and they will be able to find a solution without losing their cool. Unfortunately, a rude customer will often change their tone between speaking with a host or server and a manager.

Be Organized

As a restaurant host or hostess, you will have many tasks to take care of during your shift. Greeting guests, monitoring the dining room to track wait times, answering phone calls–all these things must be done simultaneously and with attention to detail.

Being highly organized is one of the most important aspects of succeeding as a host or hostess. Working in a restaurant can be a dynamic, high pressure situation with many people moving around to get their jobs done individually and as a team. And things can change at any moment. If you are organized, it will allow you to calmly adapt to these changes and still deliver an excellent guest experience.

Lead from the front

Yes, restaurant host or hostess is an entry level position, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. 

A lot of things flow through the host station and you can use this unique position to help lead the team to a successful service. You will know the amount of reservations booked for the service, which tables are about to become free, and what the demeanor of each party of guests is like. You can use this information to help guide the rest of the front of house team. This makes sures everybody is on the same page and on track for a smooth service.

It may not seem like it, but working as a host or hostess in a restaurant can be a great place to build your initial leadership instincts.

Know your math

This one is more practical but it’s still worth mentioning. The job of a host or hostess is one that deals with quite a bit of math.

You will need to be making constant calculations about the seating and timings to ensure that both the customers and the owners are happy. You will keep customers happy by giving them accurate estimations for their wait times for tables and food. The owners will be happy that your precise calculations means you are helping them achieve maximum profitability. 

If you think you´ve got the skills to crush it in this critical role, check out the open host, hostess, and maitre d’ jobs available on Hosco today!

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