A restaurant hostess is responsible for greeting customers and seating them at an appropriate table before they are introduced to their server. The job description of a restaurant hostess requires excellent interpersonal skills, a friendly demeanor, and the ability to interpret and manage different servers’ sections on the restaurant floor.
A restaurant hostess welcomes and seats customers, checks reservations, manages the wait list when the restaurant is busy, and ensures that all parties are seated evenly across the restaurant, so no server is overloaded with work.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Restaurant Hostess
- Takes reservations for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- 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 hostess 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.
- Reorganizes seating chart in the event that a server calls in sick.
- Keeps in contact with servers to make sure the seating chart is properly balanced.
- Thanks guests for dining at the restaurantwhen they leave.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates excellent interpersonal and customer services skills.
- Pays close attention to detail.
- Exhibits excellent organizational skills.
- Maintains professional but friendly demeanor.
- Is capable of remaining patient and polite when speaking to frustrated guests.
- Demonstrates ability to read and interpret restaurant’s seating chart.
- Works well with a team.
- Communicates clearly and effectively.
- Possesses stamina required to remain walking and/or standing for an entire shift.
- Demonstrates strong problem-solving skills.
Education and Experience
Restaurant hostesses typically hold a high school diploma or GED, or they are working toward a degree during employment. Most restaurants also require hostesses to have previous work experience in the service or restaurant industry.
A restaurant hostess spends the majority of a shift standing at the front end of the restaurant, greeting guests and overseeing waitlists, reservations, and seating arrangements. Hostesses are also required to do a significant amount of walking throughout the course of a shift from the hostess station to the restaurant floor and back. Shifts will vary from day to evening, and may last anywhere from four to eight hours. Hostesses may be hired either full-time or part-time, depending on the needs of the restaurant.
The average salary for a full-time restaurant hostess falls between $15,000 and $20,000 per year. A part-time hostess makes between $8,000 and $10,000 per year. The highest paid, most experienced hostesses can make up to $25,000 per year.