What does a Host/Hostess do?

A host or hostess is the first point of contact for customers at a restaurant. A host directs customers to their table and provides them with menus. It is the host's responsibility to make a great first impression and to practice excellent customer service, even in stressful situations.

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Working as a Host/Hostess

Depending on the type of restaurant and the rules enforced by management, a host may:

  • Help servers wipe down tables, reset the tables and run food
  • Deal with difficult customers with composure and professionalism
  • Problem solve in a timely manner (i.e. sorting out double-booked reservations)
  • Handle reservations and waitlist. Also, practice excellent phone manners when taking reservations by phone, which must be done with accuracy.
  • Need to have knowledge of the menu and answer customer questions about allergies and dietary restrictions.
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How much does a Host/Hostess make in the United States?

25k salaries reported, updated at May 6, 2021
per hour

The average salary for a host/hostess is $11.61 per hour in the United States and $30.00 tips per day.

per day

Most common benefits

  • Flexible schedule
  • Adoption assistance
  • Referral program
  • Employee discount
  • 401(k)
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Where can a Host/Hostess earn more?

Compare salaries for Hosts/Hostesses in different locations

Frequently asked questions

Common questions about being a Host/Hostess

What is the difference between a host and a hostess?

The term host refers to the male version of the job role, and hostess to the female version. However, both hosts and hostesses have an equal amount of work and responsibility. Generally, the job role can be referred to as host.

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Is a host/hostess job easy?

The difficulty of the job depends on how busy the restaurant is, as most or all of a host's duties are customer-related. During a restaurant's peak hours, the demand for excellent customer service is at its highest, and being able to work without buckling under the pressure is very important.

The host/hostess is the first person customers see when they walk through the door, so it is imperative that the host represent the restaurant well with professionalism and courtesy at all times.

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Why would you want to be a host/hostess?

One of the main reasons that potential candidates apply for such a position is to gain enough industry experience to eventually be promoted to waitstaff. This usually occurs within the same restaurant where the employer has had a chance to witness the candidate's work ethic, menu knowledge and ability. Being a host/hostess is also a great opportunity to build customer service skills and meet new people.

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