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Hostess Duties and Responsibilities

Hostesses are expected to perform various tasks to keep the facility pleasant and running smoothly. An analysis of job listings shows these core responsibilities as important:

Greeting Hostesses are the first people customers see upon arrival, so a warm welcome and casual conversation sets an upbeat mood.

Seating Hostesses ask questions in order to put patrons in the proper place. They may need to find out how many people are in a party and their seating preference (such as booth vs. table, bar area vs. main floor). In addition to these considerations, Hostesses also are aware of how people are distributed throughout the facility. This knowledge ensures wait staff aren’t given too many or too few customers and also assists with noise levels. Before leaving seated customers, Hostesses oftentimes hand out menus. Pointing out specials and taking beverage orders may be part of their job too.

Accepting Reservations When seating isn’t available immediately, Hostesses record the name and number of guests for each waiting party in the order of arrival. This contributes to flow management and minimizes disputes between customers. Depending on the set-up, Hostesses may answer phones or check online reservation systems to obtain information on forthcoming diners and plan accordingly. They also may offer directions and provide information on menu options and pricing.

Addressing Needs Customers with disabilities may require special accommodations or assistance. Young diners may need a high chair or a coloring book. From pointing out temporary seating while waiting for a table to providing directions to the washroom, Hostesses are there to assist.

Seeking Feedback Hostesses often serve as the final person with whom customers have contact before departure. Inquiring about their dining experience demonstrates interest and provides insight into things that may need to be changed in the future. This exchange oftentimes occurs by the cash register in places where Hostesses are in charge of handling bill payment.


Hostess Skills

A successful Hostess tends to be a “people person” who can comfortably interact with anyone who comes through the door. Thus, a naturally friendly demeanor and an energetic commitment to customer service will serve applicants well. Other desirable qualities include:

  • Staying calm, since customers can be demanding and sometimes irate
  • Multitasking to fulfill the needs of both employers and patrons
  • Talking in a clear voice
  • Maintaining professionalism in dress and action
  • Communicating effectively to settle problems and ensure maximum customer satisfaction
  • Listening and carrying out instructions given by management
  • Observing the environment for a sense of how things are going and addressing potential pitfalls such as dirty tables or too much sun coming through the blinds
  • Assisting flexibly as situations demand, such as pitching in to serve food or clean a spill

Hostess Education and Training

The vast majority of Hostesses hold a high school diploma. Roughly half have some college experience or a degree on their resume. While their higher education coursework may not directly pertain to their hostessing duties, eager learners often catch the eye of hiring managers since the position involves on-the-job training.


Hostess Salary

The median annual salary for Hostesses, categorized by the BLS as “Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge and Coffee Shop,” is close to $20,000. Hostesses in the 10 percentile earn about $17,000 a year, and the highest paid make in excess of $28,600 a year. Hostesses in District of Columbia, Nevada and Vermont make the highest median salaries in the U.S. – $24,450, $24,140 and $24,010, respectively.


Hostess Resources

Is becoming a Hostess right for you? Learn more about what it takes with these informative resources:

Restaurant, Lounge, and Coffee Shop Host and Hostess Career (Special Edition): The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview & Getting Promoted by Anne Johnson – From what Hostesses do on a daily basis to assessing whether your personality is suited to the job, this paperback is a great place to start when considering a career in this sector of the hospitality industry.

Careers in the Restaurant Business by Institute for Career Research – Where do Hostesses fit in among the many careers in the restaurant industry? This book offers vocational guidance for prospective applicants.

Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter by Edmund Lawler – Want the inside scoop on what it takes to operate a successful restaurant? Renowned restauranteur Charlie Trotter knows all about the importance of customer service. His tips and insight can help Hostesses anywhere develop into superstars.

National Restaurant Association – The Careers section on the website of this leading industry organization offers information on training, education, scholarships and the future of working in the restaurant business.