Working in a restaurant has been an interesting experience for me. Each place I’ve worked has a certain way the system runs but is overall the same everywhere. While technically, yes, servers make more money, I believe being the hostess has its perks.
1. As a hostess, you are a front person for your place of work.
Being the person who stands in the front means knowing who’s coming in and out, what tables are looking like and being able to chat with the guests kindly but assertively. You are the first thing a person sees when they enter the restaurant, which means you are the start of their experience that night. You help people find parties or give wait times. You talk about how great the guacamole is in an attempt to excite guests for their meals. You set the mood, which is not only important but can be fun if you are good at talking to strangers about anything.
2. As a hostess, you control the flow of the entire restaurant.
The place I work has three stories on the weekends, which brings in a lot of big parties of 20 or more. With something that large, the hostess must be able to pre-assign tables and know what time and where these tables need to be held for reservations. I basically play what I call “Time Tetris” with the tables to make room and accommodate all the people who come in. It can be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, it gives you some power.
3. As a hostess, you must always know what is going on in the room.
Observe the room, see where people are at in their meals, and plan for when these tables will get up so you can seat more people. Nothing happens in the restaurant that I don’t somewhat know about.
Being the hostess means keeping your eyes on the room at all times and knowing how servers, parties, bartenders etc. are doing so I can promptly seat parties. As a host, you have to know these things to do your job correctly, and it doesn’t hurt that you’ll get to know all the gossip in the room as well.
4. As a hostess, servers will come to you for tables and to check numbers for the night.
Standing at the podium with the reservations and numbers for the night right in front of you means lots of visits from servers, runners and bussers to see what is coming in that night and when the night will end.
As a host, you have control over the system, allowing walk ins or seating people on different floors of the restaurant, which is what ends up keeping servers longer. Some servers may come to you saying they are fine and not overwhelmed, but as a hostess you quickly learn that most of them are lying and just want to make more money. But being the person in charge of tables means making sure that each table is getting quality service even if we’re busy. You have to learn how to kindly say the information they want, without overwhelming or annoying anyone. You basically have to be able to say no without worrying that someone will get angry with you.
5. As a hostess, you are basically Queen B of the place.
Since I started working at my new job, I’ve learned that technically I am the one who controls the place. People come to me for information on the night and to con me into giving them more tables. You run that spot. You hold down the fort to assure that the night runs smoothly and everyone is happy, customers and staff.
It can be a big task, but the perks are worth it. So take it step by step, learn the layout and the people, try to understand who can handle what and then go for it. It’s more fun than you think being Queen B of a place, I know I enjoy being in charge.