Career Development

What Does a Hostess Do?

Find out what a hostess does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a hostess.

A hostess is responsible for greeting guests as they arrive and seating them at their table. They also ensure that everyone has everything they need throughout the course of their meal, from refilling drinks to clearing plates.

Hostesses are often the face of a restaurant or other establishment; they’re the person who greets you when you walk in the door and makes sure you feel welcome while you’re there. This means they have to be friendly, outgoing, and able to build rapport with customers quickly.

Hostess Job Duties

A hostess typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Greeting guests and managing seating arrangements at events
  • Providing information about the organization or event to which they are assigned
  • Making sure that refreshments and food are available throughout the event
  • Making sure that all guests have a good time at the event by engaging them in conversation and making sure they have everything they need
  • Cleaning up after an event has concluded, including removing decorations and cleaning up leftover food
  • Arranging for entertainment such as a band or DJ at an event
  • Coordinating with caterers, florists, and other vendors to ensure that all aspects of an event are properly planned and executed
  • Selling tickets to an event and collecting payment from customers
  • Providing information about company products or services to potential customers

Hostess Salary & Outlook

Hostess salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location. Hostesses may also earn additional compensation in the form of tips.

  • Median Annual Salary: $25,000 ($12.02/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)

The employment of hostesses is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Hostesses will be needed in restaurants and bars as more establishments open and existing establishments expand their food and drink menus. In addition, demand for hostesses will continue to come from casinos and hotels, which are expected to remain popular with customers.

Hostess Job Requirements

A hostess typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most hostess positions require only a high school diploma or GED. However, some employers may prefer a minimum of a two-year associate’s degree in hospitality or a related field.

Training & Experience: Hostesses typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or managers. This training may include learning the restaurant’s menu, how to interact with customers and how to clean and maintain the establishment. Training may also include learning how to use the cash register and how to properly set tables.

Hostesses who work in hotels may receive additional training to learn how to use the hotel’s computer system and how to interact with guests.

Certifications & Licenses: Hostesses do not require any certifications to earn. However, many companies that hire hostesses seek out employees with certification in first aid and CPR. These certifications show the hostess has the knowledge and skills to respond to an emergency situation.

Hostess Skills

Hostesses need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Hostesses should be able to communicate with customers and other employees in a friendly and professional manner. You should be able to answer questions, take orders and resolve any issues that arise. You should also be able to communicate with your coworkers to ensure that customers are receiving the service they need.

Friendliness: Being friendly and welcoming to your guests is an important skill for a hostess. You should be able to greet your guests with a smile and make them feel comfortable. You should also be able to answer any questions they have and direct them to the right person if you don’t have the answer.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Hostesses use empathy to make their customers feel welcome and comfortable. For example, if a customer is upset about a wait time, a hostess might apologize for the delay and explain why it’s happening.

Problem-solving: Hostesses should be able to solve problems for customers. This can include anything from helping them find a product in the store to resolving an issue with a customer’s credit card. You should be able to think quickly and come up with a solution that satisfies the customer.

Multitasking: Hostesses often have many tasks to complete at the same time. For example, they may be taking orders, answering questions about menu items, filling drink orders and cleaning tables. Being able to multitask can help you complete all of your tasks in a timely manner.

Hostess Work Environment

Hostesses typically work in restaurants, hotels, or other establishments that offer food and lodging. They usually work shifts that include evenings, weekends, and holidays. Some hostesses may work part time, while others may work full time. The work can be physically demanding, as hostesses are often required to stand for long periods of time and may have to lift heavy trays of food or luggage. The work can also be stressful, as hostesses must be able to handle a large volume of customers and deal with difficult situations that may arise.

Hostess Trends

Here are three trends influencing how hostesses work. Hostesses will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Customer Experience

As customer service becomes more important, businesses are placing a greater emphasis on providing a positive customer experience. This means that hostesses will need to be able to provide excellent service and make customers feel welcome.

Hostesses can utilize this trend by focusing on customer service skills and learning how to create a welcoming environment for guests. They can also work to develop relationships with customers so that they feel comfortable returning again and again.

More Attention on Employee Engagement

Employers are increasingly focused on employee engagement as a way to improve productivity and reduce turnover. This means that hostesses will need to be able to create a positive work environment that encourages employees to stay engaged with their work.

To do this, hostesses will need to be familiar with the latest trends in employee engagement, such as gamification and social media. They will also need to be able to manage difficult situations effectively and be able to communicate clearly with all members of the team.

The Growth of Casual Dining

Casual dining is growing in popularity, as more and more people are looking for quick and easy options when it comes to eating out. This trend is having a significant impact on the hospitality industry, as restaurants are beginning to offer more casual dining options in order to compete with other establishments.

As hostess jobs are becoming more common in casual dining restaurants, hostesses will need to be prepared to handle a variety of tasks, including seating guests, taking orders, and serving food and drinks.

How to Become a Hostess

A hostess career can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the hospitality industry. As a hostess, you’ll be responsible for greeting guests and making them feel welcome. This means being friendly and helpful, and providing information about the restaurant or hotel. You may also be asked to seat guests and take their orders.

To be successful as a hostess, it’s important that you have excellent customer service skills. You should be able to handle difficult situations calmly and with tact. It’s also important that you have a positive attitude and are willing to go the extra mile to make customers happy.

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this career is to get promoted to a management position. Hostesses who have worked for a company for a long time and have proven themselves to be reliable and good at their job are often promoted to management positions. These positions include head hostess, assistant manager, and manager.

Another way to advance in this career is to move to a better paying position at another company. This can be done by applying for jobs at restaurants that are more upscale or by applying for jobs at restaurants that are in a better location.

Some hostesses also advance their career by becoming a server. This can be done by taking a job as a server at a restaurant or by getting promoted to a server position from a hostess position.

Hostess Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide our guests with an exceptional dining experience by serving them delicious food in a beautiful setting. As the first and last point of contact with our guests, the hostess plays a vital role in creating a positive impression and ensuring that each guest feels welcome and comfortable. We’re looking for a friendly, outgoing individual with a strong work ethic to join our team as a hostess. The ideal candidate will have prior experience working in a customer service role and be able to maintain a professional and courteous demeanor at all times. He or she will be responsible for seating guests, answering phone calls, and taking reservations.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Greet guests in a warm and friendly manner as they arrive, and thank them for their patronage as they leave
  • Answer guest questions about the menu, specials, wine list, and other restaurant information with accuracy and confidence
  • Escort guests to their tables in a professional and courteous manner
  • Manage the seating chart and waitlist, keeping track of reservations and walk-ins throughout the shift
  • Communicate effectively with guests, co-workers, and management to ensure a positive dining experience for all
  • Anticipate guest needs and take proactive steps to address them
  • Handle guest complaints in a calm and efficient manner, escalating them to management as necessary
  • Stay up to date on menu changes and new offerings, as well as special events and promotions
  • Maintain a clean and organized work area, including the host stand, podium, and surrounding areas
  • Perform opening and closing duties as needed, such as setting up the dining room, stocking supplies, and cleaning up at the end of the night
  • Balance cash drawer and reconcile receipts at the end of each shift
  • Assist with side work as needed, such as folding napkins, setting up silverware, and preparing coffee and tea

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven customer service experience
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time and lift up to 30 pounds
  • Flexible schedule, including evenings, weekends, and holidays
  • Professional appearance and demeanor

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Some college coursework in hospitality or related field
  • Bilingual ability
  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment
  • Cash-handling experience


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