For the most part I have mostly been posting on my experiences as a server. I was hired as a host when I started my illustrious career in the food industry. Now, I will not be naming the restaurant where I work, so the following may not be true for being a host in all restaurants.
When I was hired as a host, I assumed that I would be seating guests and making sure people got sat in a timely matter. Now, we all know what happens when you assume, and lets just say I was completely wrong. Where I work, and I am sure it is every other restaurant in the world, the host stand is a vital part of making the restaurant run smoothly. Everything starts at the host stand. When a customer walks in, it isn’t the server they see first, it isn’t the manager who is opening the doors, and greeting the guests, it is the host.
Any bad food experience starts when you enter, to right up when the door closes behind you. I would like to make this very clear from the beginning, the hosts do not just seat you randomly, there is a “science” to seating guests. When you get to your table, and you rudely ask why did they try and sit you there, that is not the intention.
We not only have to please the guests, we also have to please the servers, and management. The people who have yelled at me the most as a host have been my fellow co-workers, the servers.
I am not a bragger, but I was a very good host. I loved to bus tables, yes, you read that correctly. I was a great greeter, a great seater, a some-what ok silverware roller, but above all I was best known for being great at board. Being in charge of the board is like playing people Tetris. You have so many tables that can fit so many people. With your job you have to fit the correct amount of people into select spots. The job doesn’t seem that difficult, but it is at times stressful when you are on a wait and people are yelling at you for waiting too long. When the restaurant is slow, seating guests is even more important than when on a wait. The days that work is slow it is important to help the servers make money. This also works out for us hots in the end. Hosts get tipped out at the end of the night, making hourly money, and a small percentage of servers tips.
The biggest lesson I have learned by working at the host stand is to be fair to the servers. Everyone at work has things to pay for. Loans, bills, children, parents and more. Everyone there is a server to make money, not waste their time fooling around. When I seat the severs, I am as fair as I can be. Each person will have the same amount of tables, and not wait around an hour before they are sat. I have seen hosts being bribed to seat certain servers before others. That to me is unethical and wrong. No one is more important in the restaurant than another.
Another very important lesson I learned from the host stand is that no one is above any job. I don’t care who someone is, or how long they have been there, no one is above any job. I am very serious when it comes to this. I am not that tall and not that muscular, but I will bus a table, unload bus tubs, sweep the floor, clean up a mess, all even though I have seniority and don’t always have to do those jobs.
Our managers daily do things that are not expected of them. When the dishes are piling up, the kitchen managers will go and wash dishes. When we are on a long wait and need help busing tables, some or our front of house mangers (managers you see when you go out to eat) will go bus a table in their nice shirts. That is something I am proud of at work.
Being a host is a pretty straight forward job. That being said it isn’t mentally easy. Being yelled at by servers, mangers, guests, can take a toll. Next time you go an eat out, and a host sits you at a table instead of a booth, try it out. Maybe it will change your life, or at least give you a great server who is happy someone finally sat in their section.
And just a friendly reminder…