What Does a Host or Hostess Do in a Restaurant? Explained

A restaurant host is an important position in any hospitality establishment because they’re responsible for creating an inviting environment, booking reservations and waitlists, collaborating with staff members, and using tools to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

This blog post will discuss the roles of a restaurant hostess or host and the restaurant host job description. Let’s get started!

The Responsibilities of a Restaurant Host

If you’ve ever wondered what a restaurant host is, the job involves various functions. So what is a restaurant host or hostess? Below is a restaurant host job description: 

1. Greeting Guests

Greeting visitors is a key part of being a restaurant host, and it sets the ambiance for the customer experience. 

An experienced restaurant host can significantly impact customer satisfaction levels by providing excellent service, and a friendly greeting sets expectations high for both food quality and attentive service.

A good host should be warm and welcoming, making guests feel comfortable as soon as they enter the establishment. They should also ensure that the entryway is free of clutter and well-maintained to create a positive impression.

Restaurant hosts should also wear appropriate attire and non-slip shoes that adheres to their establishment’s dress code. This helps maintain professionalism and contributes to an inviting environment.

There are specific techniques hosts can use when greeting different types of customers such as families with children or large groups. For example, they can offer high chairs or booster seats for young children. 

Professional restaurant hosts also welcome larger parties enthusiastically while ensuring they understand any potential wait times. 

2. Seating Guests

The host is responsible for guiding diners to their tables while considering table availability, server workload, and guest preferences.

Hosts also typically provide menus for guests and should be able to suggest menu items tailored towards dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian options or gluten-free dishes. A competent host stays informed about daily specials or menu changes so they can answer questions accurately.

In addition, they must also be prepared to handle any unexpected basic restaurant management situations during the guest greeting and seating process, even if there isn’t a restaurant manager around.

For example, if a customer appears dissatisfied with their seating arrangement, they should offer alternative options. A host should also be ready to address complaints or concerns in a professional manner.

Host wait to be seated sign

3. Taking Reservations and Maintaining Waitlists 

Hosts manage reservations efficiently by keeping track of available tables and ensuring that reserved seating is held accordingly.

Efficiently managing reservations and waitlists helps maintain excellent customer service in a restaurant setting, and during busy times when all tables are occupied, hosts must keep accurate waitlists so that waiting patrons can be seated promptly.

Unexpected events can happen without warning (e.g., large groups showing up unannounced). To handle these scenarios efficiently without compromising guest satisfaction levels, hosts should avoid overbooking by leaving some buffer space between reserved slots. 

They may also prioritize accommodating special requests from loyal customers and consider offering incentives (e.g., a complimentary appetizer) to guests willing to wait for their table.

4. Crowd Control 

Sometimes, restaurant hosts may also need to manage crowd control at entrances or bar areas during peak hours. This is part of a restaurant hostess job description.

This can involve managing the customer line, finding spare seats at the bar, or asking customers to come back later when it’s less busy. 

5. Creating an Organized System

An organized system helps restaurant hosts keep track of reservations and waitlist entries. Many restaurants use restaurant POS systems with reservation management features to streamline this process. 

These tools can help monitor table availability, assign tables to specific parties, and send notifications when tables become available.

Restaurant hosts should also be well-versed in using various technology and software, such as:

Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Point of sale (POS) systems help manage reservations, track orders, process payments, and generate reports. These systems allow hosts to quickly access guest information, such as reservation details or special requests while ensuring smooth communication between the front-of-house staff and the kitchen team.

Reservation Management Software

Reservation management software lets hosts efficiently handle online bookings from multiple channels like websites or social media platforms.

This type of software often integrates with POS systems for seamless data synchronization. Popular options include OpenTable, Resy, and Eat App.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help hosts collect valuable customer data, such as contact information, dining preferences, and visit history. 

They can use this data to personalize guest experiences by addressing their specific needs or sending targeted marketing campaigns to encourage repeat visits.

Staff Communication Tools

Effective communication between the host and other staff members is crucial for providing seamless service. Understanding basic restaurant lingo is also very important.

Many restaurants use messaging apps like Slack or team collaboration tools like Trello to keep everyone informed regarding reservations, table assignments, and special requests from guests.

FAQs About a Restaurant Host’s Responsibilities

Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about a restaurant host’s key responsibilities:

What is the most important part of being a host or hostess?

The most important part of being a host or hostess is providing excellent customer service by warmly greeting guests, managing reservations and waitlists efficiently, and ensuring that guests are seated promptly.

This sets the tone for an exceptional dining experience and contributes to overall guest satisfaction.

Why is a host/hostess job so important to the success of a restaurant?

A host/hostess plays a crucial role in shaping customers’ first impressions of the restaurant. 

They create an inviting atmosphere, manage seating arrangements effectively, and address any issues that may arise during the visit. Their performance directly impacts customer retention rates and ultimately influences the restaurant’s reputation.

How do you become an effective host or hostess in a restaurant?

To become an effective host/hostess in a restaurant, develop strong communication skills, maintain professionalism under pressure, and stay organized with reservation systems like OpenTable. 

You should also learn about menu offerings to answer questions confidently, work well with team members, and be attentive to guest needs.


A restaurant host is key to a restaurant’s success, and they’re responsible for greeting and seating guests, managing reservations and waitlists, and using technology solutions to streamline operations.

Having excellent communication abilities and working harmoniously with other personnel, especially wait staff, are key to being a successful host or hostess. By creating a welcoming atmosphere and ensuring that guests are seated promptly and efficiently, hosts can help set the tone for an enjoyable dining experience.


Don't worry, we don't spam

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)