10 Tips On How To Be A Great Restaurant Host

Knowing 10 tips on how to be a great restaurant host can help you advance a career in restaurants. A good host can make or break a busy restaurant. More than just greeting people at the door and answering phones, a great restaurant host can help to prevent traffic jams and help to put out the small fires that inevitably erupt during the course of a busy evening. If you want to know to be a great restaurant host, keep in mind these ten easy tips.

  1.  Acknowledge every guest. Nothing lights the fires of discontent in a restaurant patron's oven faster than being ignored. A great restaurant host is able to recognize patrons' needs and engage them in a preemptive and accommodating manner.
  2. Be organized. A restaurant host has to know how to multi-task. Answering phones, recording reservations, monitoring wait times, seating patrons, and responding to customers' needs will test even a great restaurant host. Organization is the key to being able to handle this constant attack.
  3. Be knowledgeable. A great restaurant host will be able to answer any question a customer can throw at them You will be bombarded by an endless parade of guests inquiring what the specials are, if the fish is fresh, what the score of the game is, and what the weather will be like tomorrow. Being able to answer them directly breeds confidence.
  4. Smile. Cliche but true. No restaurant customer wants to be greeted by a cardboard robot. This is a people business first; food and beverage second.
  5. Be honest. Don't tell a customer it will be "just a few more minutes" when you know they're not going to get seated until after the late local news. Be realistic with the information you give customers. Most will appreciate your candor.
  6. Communicate with your bus-staff. Exchanging information with the people responsible for clearing parking spaces for your guests will help the overall traffic flow of the restaurant. Good communication will provide accurate wait times and even help to shorten them.
  7. Know your wait staff. Who can handle three ten-tops simultaneously? Who gets weeded with two four-tops? Knowing who can handle what and being aware of their situations will increase the overall guest experience and cut down on service related complaints.
  8. Be fair. Just because your rock star server can handle three ten-tops doesn't mean you should load them up at the expense of the other servers. Nothing breeds internal discontent faster than the appearance of favoritism. They're all rock stars in their own minds.
  9. Be aware. View the whole operation. Try to be aware of any glitches of the flow such as slow food production or a bottleneck at the bar. While it may not be your job to fix these situations, being aware of them can help to diffuse any flames that may spark up in your area due to the problems.
  10. Relax. A great restaurant host always appears calm under pressure. Sure, things may be going rapidly to hell behind you, but your job on the front lines is to not let the customer see it. A great restaurant host can provide a satisfying experience for their guests through personality, problem solving, and quick thinking, no matter what the situation. 
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