The responsibilities of the hostess changes with the weather: if it’s a beautiful Friday evening and your restaurant is over flowing with diners and those waiting for a table, the person filling the position has the job to make sure guests flow to tables and the bar comfortably.
Problems arise on slow Tuesday nights when it’s raining and the restaurant is empty. What are the host’s responsibilities then?
Last Friday evening I was in a restaurant that was less busy than they expected to be. Over staffed with a noticeably empty dining room, the crew was seriously stumbling. I first went to the restaurant on their opening night 23 months ago, and hesitated to go back. When I arrived, the hostess took jus to a table, gave us menus and asked if we wanted a drink.
Moments later she returned, without out previously order iced tea and asked if we would like to order. We ordered and moments later a bread basket came to the table. Within 15 minutes, the waiter – who we had not seen at our table all evening – brought our entrees. When we asked if we could get our iced tea he quickly responded by bringing two full glasses.
All the while the hostess was standing with in plain view of our table, looking out the window while waiting, hoping and possibly praying for more customers or to be cut all together.
With the economy still in flux and summer resumes for hosts rapidly flowing in it’s time to define the position to all those who fill it. The host is one of the most important people on your staff. Take time to develop a simple outline of the host’s responsibilities and make sure to not only discuss these with your host, but with other members of the team so they all know what to expect from the host.
It is imperative every position in a restaurant pull their weight and fulfill their responsibility. If they don’t, you don’t need them.
Hosts need to be able to read a dining room, follow a flow chart of customers, make sure tables are bussed, cleared a reset and assist in the management of the dining room.
If the dishwasher is one of the most important employees in the kitchen, the host is one of the most important employees in the dining room.
With the labor pool that’s available today if your host isn’t working, it may be time to replace them. Or at least cut them early on slow evenings. Not only will your payroll decrease, your dining room may flow better.