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Host Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: April 15, 2023

A Host, or Greeter, is responsible for welcoming customers to a food service environment and ensuring that they are seated and receive attentive service. Their duties include maintaining a waitlist of patrons during busy meal service, passing out menus and accepting phone calls.

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Host duties and responsibilities

A Host’s duties primarily focus on ensuring the guests have a positive experience as soon as they enter the restaurant. Examples of Host duties and responsibilities include:

  • Greeting customers as they walk into the restaurant
  • Helping guests with reservations and guiding them to their table
  • Giving guests accurate wait time estimates and seating them in the waiting area
  • Providing customers with menus and answering any initial questions they may have
  • Optimizing seating at different tables to ensure even workload for wait staff
  • Answering phones and scheduling reservations with large parties
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Host Job Description Examples

What does a Host do?

Hosts work at sit-down restaurants ranging from casual family diners to fine dining establishments to make customers feel welcomed and provide attentive service from the moment a customer enters the dining room. They are also in charge of fairly assigning tables to waitstaff so that servers can split the workload fairly and get a fair opportunity to earn tips during their shift. Hosts lead guests to their tables, manage reservations and communicate with front of house staff about when they have a new party in their section. Hosts support bussers in clearing tables, wiping down menus and organizing silverware.

Host skills and qualifications

A Host should have skills that allow them to interact with guests and help keep restaurant operations running smoothly. Some qualifications for a Host include the following:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Prior customer service experience in the hospitality industry
  • Positive attitude and interpersonal skills
  • Good communication skills and phone etiquette
  • Flexibility when working alternating shifts
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time

Host Salary Expectations

A Host makes an average of $12.50 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Host education and training Requirements

Hosts typically need a high school diploma or GED for a Host position, but some employers offer this position without any formal qualification. High school students often prefer to work part time as Hosts while working toward their diploma. A bachelor’s degree is often helpful for Hosts looking to pursue a supervisory role. The job of a Host generally does not require any formal training.

Host experience requirements

Although an entry-level Host position does not require any specific experience, it generally helps for the candidate to have some experience working with people. Candidates with a customer service background, and phone handling experience are ideal for the position. Exact experience requirements vary with the specific job profile and career growth planned for the position. For example, if the Host is required to serve alcohol, the Host should have relevant experience and a thorough knowledge of different types of drinks.

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Frequently asked questions about Hosts

What is the difference between a Host and a Waiter?

Hosts are the first person to greet guests and set them up at a table, where they then interact with a Waiter or Waitress who takes care of their needs for the rest of the dining experience. Hosts assign tables to Waiters and explain menu items while they wait. Some restaurants have Waiters act as Hosts during slow shifts when there is usually not a wait before customers can eat. Hosts exclusively work in the front-of-house providing customer service, while Waiters move between the kitchen and the dining room to deliver food to tables and bus dishes.

What are the qualities of a good Host?

To be a good Host, a candidate should have a friendly and welcoming demeanor to provide excellent hospitality to their patrons. Good Hosts remain calm under pressure and are able to keep track of how many tables each Server is managing, how many people are in each party and when a new table is likely to become available. They communicate clearly and are highly organized, able to quickly call customers when their table is ready while greeting new diners at the door. Successful Hosts are helpful, fair, composed and professional when speaking with customers.

Who does a Host report to?

Hosts report to a restaurant’s General Manager or a Head Server depending on the size of the restaurant. Some restaurants have a single host on each shift while others have multiple Hosts that work together to seat customers in different parts of the restaurant. They consult with the General Manager or the Head Server to determine their schedule, plan ahead for large reservations and refine their system for managing the flow of diners throughout a shift.

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