Host and Hostess Job Description

Host and hostess job highlights

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  • Nearly 75 percent of hosts and hostesses work part time
  • Slower than average growth is expected for host and hostess jobs
  • On average, hosts and hostesses make $8.42 an hour

What do hosts and hostesses do?

Think about the last time you ate dinner at a sit-down restaurant. Remember the person who greeted you at the door, chatted with you about the weather and then took you to your table? That person was probably a host or hostess.

As a host or hostess you'll be responsible for many things. You'll need to cheerfully greet guests, take them to their table and provide them with silverware and a menu. You'll need to be able to monitor the table rotation and make sure that each member of the wait staff gets a fair amount of tables without giving them too many all at once. At the same time, you'll need to know which servers you can count on to take extra tables when you get slammed with customers. You'll also need to keep track of which tables are cleaned and available for new guests, and you may even be required to answer the phone, take reservations and in some cases take-out orders.

While the hazards of being a host or hostess aren't quite as extreme as those faced by servers, they are similar. A good majority of the people you deal with will be pleasant, but on occasion you'll have to deal with some truly nasty people. You might have guests who will get angry that they can't have the best table in the house - even though it's already taken. Or you'll get guests who try to sneak in last-minute reservations, guests who yell at you because they think you're moving too slowly, and even the occasional irate waiter who is upset at how many tables he has.

If you can't hold your temper, then a host job is probably not right for you. However, if you're looking for a fun part-time job that offers flexibility and a fast-paced working environment, then hosting might just be up your alley - especially if you're just looking for part-time work. Nearly 75% of all hosts and hostesses work part time.

How much do hosts and hostesses make?

Since hosts and hostesses usually don't get any tips, they get paid more per hour than waiters or waitresses do. On average, hosts and hostesses make $8.42 an hour, but depending on the type of restaurant where you work, you could make upwards of $12 an hour. If you're really lucky, you'll also get a share of the tips waiters and waitresses make - typically between three and five percent - and an employee discount on your 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 and hostesses

Many hosts and hostesses work their way into manager jobs. They may become lead hostess, a front-of-house manager or even a maitre d'. An ambitious host or hostess who would like to eventually end up as a general or regional manager - or even restaurant owner - should consider getting a degree in hospitality management.

The future of host and hostess jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the outlook is less than great 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, skill and knowledge.

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