How to be a Good Fine Dining Restaurant Male Host or Female Hostess
1. Know what is going on at all times. You really have to know the sections, be aware and keep your eyes open so that you can measure the pace, flow and rhythm of the restaurant. The manager will assist you but you are going to have to alert bussers to clear tables or keep an eye out for steps of service finishers like entrees being cleared or checks dropping. This usually means people are leaving.
The quicker tables can be reset the more turnover and more money. You have to be miniature managers and you are the first thing people usually see, so greet and acknowledge everyone casually, and be pro-active in getting information as to how many people are in each guest’s party and try to seat them as soon as possible.
You have to be aware of where tables are in their steps of service in the various sections.
If you see that people are finishing up, suggest the waiter that maybe they’re ready for a table clear. If you see problems before they may be about to occur, throw some info your manager’s way. Give them the heads up so small fires can be put out before any potential large ones.
You really have the ability to quarterback the entire restaurant.
Multi Tasking without Losing Sight is Key to Being a Great Host or Hostess
2. Ability to multi-task while still devoting meaningful contact with each incoming guest.
Keeping the front area as clear or at least as orderly and good vibe-ey as possible. An organized mess where the hosts and hostesses know what’s going on is not a problem.
Suggesting the bar as an option for waiting for their table will increase restaurant and bar sales, while clearing the lobby. Directing people to the patio outside if there is one to wait to be called is another option.
It’s very important to know your software for reservations and seating backwards and forward.
You must greet every guest that walks into the restaurant. Always be the first to say hello. If someone is eating there or eating alone, don’t say “Just you?” when trying to figure out how many people are in their party. It’s very off-putting. Simply ask “how many in your party today?” and if they say “just me” or “1” “by myself” then ask if they have a preference on seating.
Too often hostesses in restaurants have done that to me and I usually never go back to a place like that. And I tip quite well and eat and drink a lot.
3. Ability to (if your restaurant allows it if no one is there to answer phones for making reservations and being the face/switchboard operator for the restaurant) stand outside the restaurant and bring in business, where ever possible from foot traffic and passersby.
The ability to strike up conversations with strangers, make funny comments or just say hello and greet people out of the goodness of your heart and just being alive, trying to have fun- can and will bring people in the door.
People are always looking for a place to eat and drink, they just need an excuse. Even if they say no, you have successfully given them a future option. This means more work and more hours for you, as well as the honing of a very valuable business and life skill.
4. Try not to have favorites or play favorites with servers. Always consider the best option for the guest and the restaurant. Many servers will come over and shmooze and try to talk sweet nothings in your ear to encourage you to give them the big party that’s coming, or double seat them while some servers may not even have a table yet… anyway try to be fair and keep things in mind. Everyone needs to work. Some are better at certain things than others.
5. Don’t be a Host/Hostess forever. In the long run a host/hostess is just a bus boy or food runner that doesn’t have to get their hands dirty. Set your sights on more money constantly. You should be thinking about making a move to waiter or server after some time succeeding as a host/hostess. It can be too easy to just stay a hostess because you’re afraid of dropping drinks or food, or just don’t want to work that much or have more responsibility.
Last Tip for Great Hostesses and Hosts: Just Get Out
And if you’re just a really great host/hostess that has zero interest in being around food directly or bartending, then maybe you need to go work at some high end club and wear one of those little things in your ears and wear a fancy suit or blazer. Or maybe you need to get into event planning or direct marketing. Think of any lateral moves you could make to apply your skills as a host/hostess to another career.
Or else just move up in your restaurant.