When you first walk into a restaurant, you are greeted by the host. The host is your first impression of your dining experience and can be a make or break factor. As a hostess for a year and a half at a five-star restaurant, I know the ins and outs of the restaurant industry. Here are five things you didn’t know about being a hostess.
You can tip a hostess.
Hosts make minimum wage, on average, and rely on servers and customers to help out with cash. If we sit you in your requested spot, most likely we did a lot of work to accommodate that. In fact, Adam Sandler once gave me $5 because I refilled his coffee when his server was busy.
Where you sit actually matters.
When planning out reservations, we take into account seating requests which can be but are not limited to: inside, outside, booth, table, server request, etc. Before the start of dinner, the host has perfectly planned out where everyone will be seated. We are Tetris masters, to say the least. If you walk in and ask for a new table, we will politely smile, panic and then go back to our master board and shift everything around for the next four hours.
We do more than just seat people.
Sunday brunch will be the absolute death of any host. With every busy shift, the hostess turns into everyone’s assistant. I remember Sundays when I would be asked to bus tables, refill waters, place to-go orders, grab coffees, etc.
Wait times are not our fault.
One of my favorite things to do was to take our restaurant’s iPad, walk around the restaurant and write down what course the guest was on. On average, most restaurants plan for a two-hour turn time. Once a check is dropped at a table, we predict the guests will spend about 10 more minutes there before they leave. However, sometimes families and other guests love to chat for the next hour after they’ve finished their meal. I’m so sorry.
Plan ahead during the holidays.
If you’re a guy trying to reserve a table on Valentine’s Day, I suggest planning far in advance. This goes for any holiday; when you call on Christmas Eve, asking for a table for 10 because your whole family is in town, I promise you I can’t “squeeze you in.” Plan ahead for holidays, and you’ll save your host some stress.
This is such a fun job that teaches you communication skills, organizational skills and time management. The next time you go into a restaurant, I hope you’ll recognize the hard work your hosts and hostesses put in.