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