Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee Shop Hosts and Hostesses

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Also known as:
Bar Host/Hostess, Bar Hostess, Dining Room Host, Dining Room Host/Hostess, Maitre D', Tearoom Host/Hostess, Tearoom Hostess

Video transcript

If you enjoy interacting with people, like to dress well, and need a job that doesn't require a lot of training, you might consider finding work as a host or hostess in a restaurant, lunge, or coffee shop. This is not the best-paid position in the establishment, but its vitally important because the host or hostess is the first impression a customer receives.

The host or hostess is often responsible for taking reservations, guiding customers to tables, providing them with menus, and making sure they receive prompt and courteous service. In some businesses, the host or hostess is also the cashier.

Knowledge of a foreign language may be helpful in restaurants specializing in foreign food. A host or hostess is usually not tipped directly by customers, except in some very upscale restaurants, but might receive tips of the staff combines them in a pool. That's a subject to explore when you interview for the job.

In most places, the job of host or hostess is pretty simple to learn and fairly low stress, so this is a good job to consider if you need work while attending school, writing a novel, auditioning for acting roles, or getting used to a new city.

Part-time work and split shifts are fairly common. You will also often work on weekends, evenings, and holidays. Three things you'll need to bring with you to the job every day are a positive attitude, a neat and clean appearance, and a smile.

Welcome patrons, seat them at tables or in lounge, and help ensure quality of facilities and service.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Receive and record patrons' dining reservations.

Inspect dining and serving areas to ensure cleanliness and proper setup.

Take and prepare to-go orders.

Inform patrons of establishment specialties and features.

Speak with patrons to ensure satisfaction with food and service, to respond to complaints, or to make conversation.

Assist other restaurant workers by serving food and beverages, or by bussing tables.

Maintain contact with kitchen staff, management, serving staff, and customers to ensure that dining details are handled properly and customers' concerns are addressed.

Answer telephone calls and respond to inquiries or transfer calls.

Provide guests with menus.

Greet guests and seat them at tables or in waiting areas.

Assign patrons to tables suitable for their needs and according to rotation so that servers receive an appropriate number of seatings.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Food Production Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Negotiation Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.