The restaurant hostess is the first employee to interact with arriving guests as they enter the restaurant. It is the job of the hostess to greet arriving guests, welcome them into the establishment and seat them. The guests receive their first impression of the service of the restaurant by their exchange with the hostess.
The hostess is a personal representation of the service and overall hospitality of the staff of the restaurant. While guests are waiting to be seated or waiting for take-out orders to be ready, it is the job of the hostess to ensure that the guests are made comfortable and kept informed of the status of their orders or wait times. In some restaurants, the hostess offers drinks to the guests who have to wait.
The responsibilities of the hostess include monitoring the open dining sections of the restaurant for empty and cleaned tables, estimating wait times for guests, monitoring the guest waiting list, and ensuring that the needs of the guests are met while they are waiting. The hostess is often responsible for answering the telephone, booking reservations and moving tables together to accommodate large parties.
As guests arrive, the hostess assesses the dining room and, if an accommodating table is available, escorts the guests to the dining room. In some restaurants, hostesses are also responsible for taking initial drink orders. Depending on individual restaurant policy, hostesses either fill the drink order or give the information to the responsible food server. Upon returning to the station, hostesses also make any necessary changes to the dining room occupancy chart.
Most restaurants do not require previous restaurant experience to become a hostess but may require the hostesses to have the ability to read and write fluently, to take and follow instructions in both verbal and written forms and to have the basic assessment and math skills to estimate wait times for guests. Most restaurants require a high school diploma to work as a hostess.
The median range of wages for a restaurant hostess is between $7.00 and $8.00 per hour, depending on the size and style of restaurant. Most restaurants pay minimum wage to starting hostesses, although hostesses with more experience or those who work in high-end establishments may start off with slightly higher pay. The average yearly salary depends greatly on the hours worked and falls between $8,000 to $10,000 per year for part time and $14,000 to $17,000 per year for full time employment.
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