What Does A Host Do At A Restaurant?

// By Malika Wichner // , Mar 15, 2024

Topics: Restaurant Operations

Discover the key responsibilities, skills, training requirements, and average pay of a restaurant host in this comprehensive blog post.

Key Responsibilities of a Restaurant Host


    • Greeting and welcoming guests as they arrive at the restaurant.

  • Managing the waiting list and seating guests in a timely manner.

  • Providing menus to guests and answering any initial questions they may have.

  • Escorting guests to their tables and ensuring they are comfortable.

  • Coordinating with the kitchen staff to ensure prompt food delivery.

  • Assisting with taking reservations and managing the reservation system.

  • Handling guest complaints and resolving issues to ensure customer satisfaction.

  • Maintaining a clean and organized host stand area.

  • Monitoring the dining area to ensure tables are cleared and cleaned promptly.

  • Assisting servers and other restaurant staff as needed.

  • Providing a positive and memorable experience for guests.



Essential Skills for a Restaurant Host


  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact effectively with guests.

  • Strong organizational skills to manage the waiting list and seating arrangements.

  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

  • Customer service skills to ensure guest satisfaction and handle complaints.

  • Basic knowledge of the restaurant's menu and offerings.

  • Problem-solving skills to address any issues that may arise.

  • Ability to remain calm and composed under pressure.

  • Attention to detail to ensure accurate reservation management.


Training Requirements for Restaurant Hosts


On-the-job training provided by the restaurant to familiarize hosts with their specific duties and responsibilities.


  • Training on the reservation system and seating arrangements.

  • Customer service training to handle guest interactions and complaints.

  • Menu training to have a good understanding of the restaurant's offerings.

  • Training on communication and interpersonal skills to effectively interact with guests.


Average Pay for Restaurant Hosts


into play. Location plays a significant role, with hosts in major cities typically earning higher wages than those in smaller towns. The type of restaurant also makes a difference, as upscale establishments often pay their hosts more than casual dining spots.

In addition, the level of experience a host has can impact their pay. Beginners may start at minimum wage, while seasoned hosts with years of experience under their belt can command higher hourly rates.


According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for hosts in the United States was $11.23 as of May 2020. However, this is just a starting point, and pay rates can vary widely. Some hosts in upscale restaurants may earn upwards of $15-$20 per hour, especially if they excel in their role and provide exceptional service to guests.


Ultimately, the pay for restaurant hosts is a reflection of their skills, experience, and the type of establishment they work in. By honing their craft, gaining experience, and delivering top-notch service, hosts can increase their earning potential and advance in their careers within the restaurant industry.


Learn more about restaurant minimum wage here. 


Tips for Restaurant Managers on Optimizing the Host Position


  • Ensure clear communication between hosts, servers, and kitchen staff to streamline operations.

  • Implement a reservation system to effectively manage guest flow and reduce wait times.

  • Train hosts on effective customer service techniques to enhance the guest experience.

  • Regularly review and update the host stand area to create an inviting atmosphere for guests.

  • Encourage hosts to upsell and promote special menu items or promotions.

  • Provide ongoing training and support to hosts to improve their skills and knowledge.

  • Monitor host performance and provide feedback to help them excel in their role.

  • Consider cross-training hosts to handle other front-of-house responsibilities when needed.

  • Recognize and reward outstanding host performance to boost morale and motivation.

  • Maintain open communication with hosts to address any concerns or suggestions they may have.


Malika Wichner

About the author, Malika Wichner

Malika is the Marketing Content Manager for Backbar. Prior to creating content to link industry professionals to Backbar she worked as a bartender and server in Chicago. She enjoys red wine or an IPA with a good book in her free time.

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