Hostess Job Description, Responsibilities & Salary

When was the last time you had a dinner at a restaurant? Remember the person who greeted you at the door, chatted a little about the weather and then showed you to your table? That person was probably the host or hostess.

A hostess is responsible for numerous things, which includes greeting guests cheerfully, guiding them to their table, and providing them with a menu and silverware. As a hostess, you will need to monitor the table rotation and also ensure that every member of the wait staff gets a fair share of tables without giving too many all at the same time. All the while, you will also need to be aware of the servers who are reliable and who will take extra tables when customers bombard you.

You will also need to have knowledge about which tables are cleaned and available for guests. Additionally, you will also need to answer phone calls, take reservations and even deal with take-out orders in some cases.

If you have a short-temper or an intolerant personality then this job is not for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a fun part-time job that operates in a fast-paced environment and offers flexibility then hosting might just be what you need. Approximately 75% of hosts and hostesses work part time.

Hostess Job Description

Hostess Job Description

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Pleasantly greeting customers when they walk through the door
  2. Providing patrons with the right information and wait time estimates in times of a busy schedule
  3. Maintaining an organized, neat and clean environment
  4. Seating guests and taking drink orders as needed to make sure an ideal and speedy service
  5. Assisting with opening/closing duties and side work when needed
  6. Learning food and beverage menus
  7. Rotating the seating arrangement between different stations to make sure that the workload is even for wait staff
  8. Assigning work tasks and coordinating activities with dining room personnel to ensure a courteous and prompt customer service
  9. May partake in the interviewing, hiring and firing of dining room personnel
  10. Assisting in planning menus
  11. Totaling receipts at the end of the shift in order to reconcile sales and also clear the cash register
  12. Collecting payments from customers
  13. Informing the supervisor on duty about any employee absences
  14. Always staying present at the hostess station
  15. Handing over restaurant survey forms to customers and getting feedback from the guests
  16. Making a contact with the guests as they are about to depart from the restaurant and asking whether they enjoyed the experience
  17. Making sure that the reservation signs are placed, and on the right tables to avoid any last-minute mix-ups
  18. Reserving schedules with large parties
  19. Coordinating with cashiers by providing them with information about each table’s orders and provide bills to the customers
  20. Finding out if the change is tendered and encourage customers to properly count their change
  21. Following up on orders to make sure that they are made and delivered in a manner that is efficient
  22. Offering customers recommendations about the specialties and also encouraging them to try out the restaurant’s new dishes, drinks or desserts
  23. Resolving the concerns and complaints of guests in a quick and efficient manner
  24. Preparing food and beverages when needed
  25. Ordering napkins, table linens, and other dining room supplies
  26. Liaising between workers and customers in order to make sure that the service remains impeccable
  27. Providing guests with wait time information
  28. Taking and servicing orders for additional food and drinks and make sure that they are properly expedited
  29. Training inexperienced staff if required
  30. Providing the restaurant with creative input and ideas on how to improve certain aspects of the service
  31. Maintaining restrooms throughout the shifts
  32. Sweeping clean the front entrance area and foyer frequently
  33. Performing any other duties as directed

Skills and Abilities Required

  1. Highly skilled in meeting and greeting guests, showing them to their assigned tables, and offering them the menu and daily specials
  2. Demonstrating ability to address and anticipate guests’ service needs and thank them with genuine pleasure
  3. Having substantial knowledge about common bar, room service and restaurant menus
  4. Being well-versed in greeting guests and also answering phone calls in a desirable manner
  5. Having hands-on experience in organizing and assigning activities and tasks of dining room workers to ensure a timely service for patrons
  6. Having a proven record of checking dining room serving stations for sanitation and tidiness
  7. Ability to ensure that special requests are filed and passed onto the restaurant management
  8. Relaying orders to the kitchen and making sure all orders are completed in an accurate and timely manner
  9. Good communication skills with coworkers and kitchen staff
  10. Special talent for maintaining inventory
  11. Having the ability and stamina to work efficiently in busy and fast-paced environments
  12. Talented in closely following portions and recipes when preparing food and beverages
  13. Should be fluent in English and know how to communicate effectively in preferably more than one language
  14. Should know and love team-work with a special focus on accomplishing employer goals
  15. Should have respect for the rules and regulations laid down by the company and make effort to follow them
  16. Should know the basics of MS Word and MS Excel
  17. Ability to work more than hours on feet at a time
  18. Should know how to manage time and resources
  19. Willingness to work at least every other holiday
  20. An overall cheery and friendly personality that will attract customers
  21. Extensive knowledge about the fine dining industry
  22. A well-groomed physical appearance
  23. Ability to multitask while offering quality service
  24. Should know how to maintain friendliness and diplomacy in a fast-paced environment
  25. Should be skilled in calming customers down and handling their complaints
  26. Competent at ensuring that all supplies are filled
  27. Should be skillful in mental math as it will help make through calculation and collection
  28. Ability to carry trays or supplies weighing 10 to 30 pounds
  29. Must be able to comprehend requests for assistance
  30. Should always be eager to learn new things (and try new food)
  31. Should know how to effectively communicate on the phone and give quick, precise answers

Education and Experience Requirements

  • A high school diploma, GED is preferred
  • A bachelor’s degree in hotel management (not always necessary)
  • 1 or more years of experience in customer service
  • Certificate courses in hospitality (not mandatory but can be of an added advantage)
  • Knowledge about food and food management

Working Environment

Hostesses work in restaurants and bars, which means the workplace, can become drafty as a result of its location close by the door, and the environment may be continuously subjected to loud noise. Hazards may include, but are limited to, tripping and slipping.


Because hosts and hostesses usually don’t receive tips, they are paid more on an hourly basis as compared to waiters or waitresses. On average, a host or hostess makes $8.42 per hour, but this rate can vary depending on the type of restaurant they are working for. The rate can go as high as $12 per hour. If you are lucky enough, you may also get a share of the tips made by waiters and waitresses, usually between 3% and 5%, along with an employee discount on your meals.

Career Paths for Hostesses

Many hostesses work their way into managerial jobs with time. They may become front-of-house manager, a lead hostess or a maître d’. A hostess who is ambitious and wants to become a regional or general manager should consider about getting a degree in hospitality management.

Because the food industry is ever flourishing, it comes as no surprise that the demand for the position of a hostess for high-quality service is rendering. Keep in mind that a hostess often the key contributor to a restaurant/bar’s first impression, which means they need to look their best as much as possible. At all times, hosts and hostesses are expected to look excited, which will indirectly make the customers feel at home and make them want to come back.

A host or hostess job is usually an entry-level position for those looking to become a waiter, waitress or bartender. It is for this reason that they may also be expected to perform the duties of a waiter or, bartender and bus person, and occasionally even as a bouncer.

In order to become a hostess, some restaurants require the candidate to go through a training session, usually provided by the restaurant itself. You may or may not have to work as a waiter or waitress prior to becoming qualified as a hostess. More often than not, a person’s positive attitude and personality will encourage management to place him/her in the position of a hostess, but the right education and experience can always tip the situation in your favor.

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