For the past three years I have been a hostess at the same restaurant. I applied in high school when a friend and I thought it would be fun to get our first jobs at the same place. We both had no previous retail experience, or experience doing much of anything besides being typical teenagers with no real career goal in mind. So, together, we picked restaurant work. We were both hired easily and began our new lives in the American workforce as hostesses. Our jobs seemed simple: greet the guest, seat the guest.
We had simple rules to live by when hosting, like the 10-4 rule. Smile at 10 feet away, acknowledge the guest from four feet away. Never ask if they’ve been here before– too pushy. Rephrase. Ask what their favorite item is on the menu. Don’t tell guests they get free ribs on their first visit, they’ll lie the next time and expect free ribs. 3 years, or more specifically 1,095 days later, I am still hosting.
The rules have developed into habits. And while I do still love meeting new people every shift and interacting with different personalities, being a host is no simple task. At the restaurant I work at, we hosts get a lot of trash talk when it comes to our jobs.
“It’s so easy. The only thing you do is walk back and forth from the host stand every shift and talk to each other. It’s the easiest job in the world.”
Wrong. Hosting is no cake walk.
We take shit, and when I say shit, we take the whole load. Not only are we in charge of seating thousand of guests, but we are also psychologists, maids, dishwashers, and nannies. Because we not only know how to multitask and watch your children while arguing about how the tables are bolted into the wall, and no you cannot move them; we would also make the perfect girlfriends.
1. She is queen of multitasking.
Hosts could literally be known as the best multi-taskers in the world. With so many people at the host stand on busy nights, she may have ten different jobs aside from what you think she’s doing. She’s not just standing there, saying hi to people and writing down names. She is also coordinating, taking people pack to their tables, updating, monitoring server rotation, keeping the other hosts in check, making sure there’s enough silver and plates, as well as trying to maintain her own sanity.
2. She’s good with kids.
Hosts can be caught up not only greeting guests, but can also become instant nanny. I don’t know how many times I have had parents pull me off to the side asking if I could watch their children or take them to the bathroom. Don’t even get me started about kids night.
Make me a balloon animal!
Can you color with my child?
Can you like watch my kid for ten minutes?
Here, stay with my daughter in the stall. She can wipe… usually. Sometime’s she wants someone else to do it.
Can you throw away this diaper for me?
3. She knows how to deal with all different types of people.
In my three years of hosting, I think I have met just about every kind of person there is. Hosts have been trained to deal with all kinds of personalities and all types of situations.
4. She has mastered the art of perfecting the perfect poker face.
What she’s thinking? Nobody knows. Thanks in part to the superhero like ability to maintain her composure and quite literally, “fake it until she makes it.” Hosts are master actors and actresses, they have refined the art of pretending to be happy and excited, when they are more than likely seething on the inside. Since it is our job to deal with people, we know how to keep everything and everyone cool, calm, and collected when a guest is yelling in our faces about how we don’t know what we’re doing.
What do you mean you don’t take reservations?
We only take call aheads m’am, it is not a reservation. It shortens your wait time.
Why the hell would you not take reservations?!! The other one does?!
No they don’t m’am. Our company uses a call ahead system.
Well that’s just bullsh*t!!! Where is your manager?!! You all are ********** You get the picture.
5. She is really good at acting like she gives a shit.
Oh, you prefer your rolls a little less dark? You want our baker to make you some personal rolls that are hot, but not too hot, just a little warm? You like it when your rolls are more squishy on the inside? Here, would you like some raw dough then?
You want us to turn the lights up because it gives you a headache in dim lighting? Excuse me while I give a fuck. This is a restaurant, bitch.
6. She’ll never walk in on you without announcing her presence first.
Worried about her walking in on you watching porn? No need! Hosts are trained to announce themselves when they turn every corner. Just make sure you delete your search history when you hear “CORNER IN!”
7. She knows how to compromise.
One of the biggest things we are taught how to do is be amazing at compromising. That’s basically our job title – “The Great Compromiser”. As hosts, we are in charge of dealing with large, and sometimes unruly, large parties. It’s up to us to get a party of 55 to agree to split up their party and sit at different tables, because no, we don’t have a table that can hold 55 people, believe it or not.
8. She can talk about anything.
Hosts can literally make conversation about anything. As hosts, we are the first faces guests see when they walk in. It is our job to make the guests feel welcomed and to put them in a good mood. Whether it be complimenting their outfit, hair, or makeup, or asking how they felt about the score from the big game on our way to the table, we are masters of chit-chatting.
9. She is legitimately concerned for how your day is going.
One of the first things we are trained to ask guests when we take them to their table is, “Are you guys having a good day so far?” Over the course of one shift, a host will ask this questions literally hundreds of times. I’ve asked it so many times, I find that I am actually caring more and more for people I don’t even know and how their day has been.
10. She will laugh at all your jokes, even if they’re stupid or don’t make sense.
As a hostess, we constantly have people trying to make jokes when checking in at the host stand. It is our job to laugh at them, because it is our number one priority to make sure you have a good experience at our restaurant. So even when that drunk middle aged man makes a joke that literally makes no sense at all, we will laugh at it. Or when that guy checks in using the name, “Batman”, we will act like its the funniest thing in the world because we know that’s what you want.
11. You will always be put first.
The main job of a host is to put all other needs before one’s own. Yes, we are tired. We want to go home. But it is our job to stay and fulfill all of our guests needs and desires. No matter how we feel or what we want to do, we must always consider the comfort of others.
Do they need bread? Is their table okay? Do they need a highchair or would a booster seat work? Are they comfortable in their booth? Is their enough room? Is the music too loud? Is it too hot or too cold? Do they need another drink? Does their food taste good?
12. She is a people person.
And if nothing else excites you, know that she is, above all else, a people person. That’s why we chose this job and that’s why we were hired. We simply love people and interacting with them. A host is a friendly, kindhearted person who can get along with almost anybody. It is proven that people with sufficient “people skills” succeed far more in life, careers, and romance than those who aren’t.
We chose the host life because there is no better feeling than to make someone else happy. We strive to put others before ourselves and to make sure that everyone is cared for and feels welcomed and at home. We are extremely organized and self sufficient. We are independent and strong. We are all around amazing because we are true leaders. We represent everything that our brand stands for, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.