What Do Hosts and Hostesses Do?
Hosts and hostesses at restaurants, lounges and coffee shops are tasked with welcoming and seating patients and working with the rest of the staff to ensure excellent service and overall facility quality. Depending on the type of work environment, a host or hostess might help with drink preparation or catering and manage food service operations. It’s also common for hosts and hostesses to answer the phone to answer questions, make reservations and transfer callers to the correct department or individual.
Host and Hostess Skills and Abilities
Abilities and skills commonly possessed by hostesses and hosts include personal and customer service, marketing and sales for upselling products and services, mathematics, and active listening. A hostess or host should also be able to communicate with guests and coworkers and have social awareness in order to determine the reactions of others and the reasons behind those reactions. The job also calls for near vision, speech recognition, active listening and persuasion skills.
Host and Hostess Duties
Specific duties for hosts and hostess include working with the waitstaff to ensure guests are seated at tables large enough to suit their needs and seating guests in a rotation in order that all servers receive an equal number of tables. Some jobs require hostesses and hosts to advertise to guests and help plan for parties and similar special events. Carryout orders may need to be prepared, and a host or hostess might be called upon to look over the dining area to ensure it’s clean and that everything is in proper order.
Host and Hostess Tools and Technology
Common types of technology used by hosts and hostesses include point of sale (POS) software, database user interface software, query software and scheduling/calendar software. Specific examples of such software include GuestBridge Reserve, Avenista and OpenTable. Tools often used on the job include ice dispensers, carbonated beverage dispensers, computers, cash registers and commercial ice tea and coffee makers. With the rise of mobile technology, a host or hostess might have to become familiar with accepting reservations and carrying out similar business functions through electronic tablets.
Education and Training for Hosts and Hostesses
It’s most common for hostesses and hosts to have less than a high school education. That being said, there is a sizeable percentage of them who have a high school diploma or its equivalent or some college experience. An even smaller percentage possess a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. Applicants for host or hostess positions don’t have to have prior work experience, and once they are hired they commonly do not receive on-the-job training.
Host and Hostess Salary
The top 90th percentile of hosts and hostesses earn about $26,300 a year. The average earnings are roughly $18,700 and the lowest 10% make approximately $16,400 a year. Total wages depend on the work environment as well as the individual state. For instance, hosts and hostesses in California earn a median yearly salary of $18,900 while the top 90% make $27,800. In addition to their base salary, host and hostesses might receive extra income from tips provided by the waitstaff.
Host and Hostess Jobs by Geography
It is expected that hosts and hostesses will experience a six percent job growth, which translates to about 28,000 jobs across the U.S. States that are expected to experience the largest job growth include Arizona, Texas, Idaho and New York. Those expected to see the smallest growth in positions include Vermont, Minnesota, Mississippi and Maine. States in which hosts and hostesses earn the highest median wages include Nevada ($22,800), Massachusetts ($22,400) and Washington ($22,000). States where they earn the lowest average wages consist of North Carolina ($17,900), Indiana ($17,800) and Arkansas ($17,700).