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Think about the last time you ate dinner at a sit-down restaurant. The person who welcomed you and took you to your table was probably a host or hostess.
Restaurant hosts or hostesses are responsible for a lot of stuff. They create your first impression of the place. You’ll need to cheerfully (yes, cheerfully!) greet guests, take them to their tables and give them their silverware and a menu. You have to monitor the tables to make sure that each server gets their fair share. But you have to also make sure you’re not giving them too many at once! And when you get slammed with customers, you need to know which servers you can trust to take extra tables without freaking out. You may even answer the phone to take reservations or take-out orders.
A good majority of the people you deal with at the host/hostess stand will be nice, but on occasion you’ll get some truly nasty people. You might have guests who get angry because they can’t have the best table in the house—even if someone else is sitting there. Or you’ll get guests who pop in an hour late for their reservations but still want a table. And if the wait to get a table is long, guess whose fault that is according to some folks.
So, if you can’t hold your temper, a host or hostess job is probably not right for you. But if you want a fun job that offers flexibility and a fast-paced working environment, hosting might just be up your alley—especially if you’re just looking for a part-time gig. Nearly 75% of all hosts and hostesses work part time.
Our busy family-owned restaurant has an opening for a part-time weekend host or hostess. You’ll greet guests when they enter the restaurant and show them to their tables or to our waiting area. You’ll also make sure they have menus and silverware and tell them who will be serving them. To do well in this role you have to be comfortable standing for long periods of time and managing a very busy shift.
Typical duties include:
Greeting guests as they enter the restaurant
Maintaining the waiting list
Seating guests at tables or in waiting areas
Providing menus and silverware
Assigning guests to tables they prefer, while keeping table rotation in mind so servers have the right number of guests
Answering phone calls, taking reservations or take-out orders and answering questions
Helping out with other restaurant duties as needed (rolling silverware, etc.)
Providing great customer service
High school diploma or equivalent
Ability to provide top-notch customer service in a fast-paced environment
Positive attitude and ability to work well under pressure
Able to stand for long periods of time
Able to accurately handle money and operate a point-of-sale system for take-out orders
Restaurant experience a plus
How much does a host or hostess make?
Since hosts and hostesses usually don’t get tips, they’re paid more per hour than waiters or waitresses. On average, hosts and hostesses make about $11.25 an hour. If you work at a high-end restaurant, you could make more than $15 an hour. If you’re really lucky, you’ll also get a share of the tips waiters and waitresses make—typically 3%-5%—and employee discounted (or sometimes free!) meals.
What are the education requirements?
Most restaurants require that you have at least a high school education, but if you want to end up in a supervisory role, a college degree will certainly help you out.
Career paths for hosts or hostesses
Many hosts and hostesses work their way into manager jobs. They may become lead host or hostess, a front-of-house manager or even a maître d’. A host or hostess who would like to eventually be a general or regional manager—or even restaurant owner—should consider getting a degree in hospitality management.
The future of hosts or hostesses
Unfortunately, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the outlook is not so hot for hosts and hostesses. This industry is expected to grow more slowly than average over the next decade. So, if you’re looking to score a good host or hostess job, then you’ll need to have a combination of experience, skills and knowledge.