African restaurant:As a host or hostess, you are the first and last person guests see at a restaurant.
Because of this, you must always be alert, attentive, and efficient.
Keeping the restaurant orderly, making sure guests are happy.
And keeping track of what’s going on at each table are just some of the ways you can keep your guests happy.
Make sure you have all of the supplies you need before your shift starts.
You should have plenty of pens and highlighters, a seating chart, and paper for making notes at your host stand. If there’s anything you need, ask your manager to bring it to you.
You should also check to make sure there is plenty of clean silverware available.
Keep track of each section.
Make a chart of the table layout and each server’s station.
Keep track of how many tables are seated in each section.
How many people are in each party, and what time each party arrived.
This will help you assign new tables to the servers who have the most open tables.
- If your restaurant takes reservations, be sure to factor them in when you’re planning your seating chart!
Communicate with your servers.
You need to know if a server is overwhelmed with just 2 tables.
Or if they can handle another one even if they already have a 6-top.
The best way to know what your servers can handle is to talk to them.
Remember that you’re all working on the same team!
- If possible, ask busy servers if they’re ready for another table before you seat them.
- You can also ask servers if they’re comfortable handling big groups if you have a large party come in.
Walk the floor to keep track of the tables.
As the server in that section will probably be ready for a new table soon.
Help to clear and set tables when necessary.
Greet guests with a smile and welcome them to the restaurant.
You’re the first chance the restaurant has to make an impression.
So make sure you’re aware whenever new guests arrive.
Greet guests warmly, addressing them by name if they are repeat customers.
Let guests know right away if there will be a wait so they can decide whether they want to make other dinner plans.
- If you’re busy with another guest when someone arrives.
- Acknowledge the new arrival with a smile or by saying something like “I’ll be right with you!”
Ask how many people are in the party.
Don’t assume that just because 2 people walk in that they will be the only ones in their party.
The rest of their group might not have joined them yet.
Always ask so you’ll know what size table your guests need.
Ask customers if they have a seating preference.
Guests with a larger frame might not be comfortably squeezed into a small booth, and customers who have trouble walking might prefer a seat close to the door so they don’t have to walk as far. Make your best judgment call, but don’t be afraid to ask your customers what type of seating they’d prefer.
Answer the phone promptly.
The host of a restaurant is usually the one responsible for answering the phone.
Make sure you answer the phone promptly and professionally.
State the name of the restaurant, your name, and ask the caller how you can help them.
Politely ask if you can put them on hold if you’re busy.
Maintain your composure even if the restaurant gets hectic.
When the dinner rush hits, it can be hard to stay calm and composed.
But if you get frazzled, the whole restaurant could become disorganized.
If you feel stressed, take deep breaths and remember that even the busiest dinner service will be over in a couple of hours.
Seating Your Customers
Show your guests to their table.
Apologize to your customers if they have had to wait long.
Ask management if it’s okay to comp them a free drink or appetizer (but don’t offer it to the guests until you get permission).
Make sure your guests are seated comfortably.
Place a menu and silverware for each guest at their place setting.
You never want to throw all of the menus down on a table, as this seems rude and dismissive. Instead, carefully lay a menu and silverware at each place setting, and make sure your guests are seated before you leave the table.
- Be prepared to get water or other small items for guests.
- If they request more than that, politely let them know that their server will be right with them.
Speak to guests as they leave.
You’re the last person guests will have contact with, so offer a friendly farewell to guests as they walk out the door.
This will help them leave feeling like they had a pleasant dining experience.
What should I do if the restaurant is very busy?
Focus, ask for help filling water, and explain to impatient customers that you’re doing everything you can to accommodate them.
Offer conversation, a free drink at the bar while they wait, and be honest.
Importantly, don’t blame other staff as this reflects badly on you and the restaurant as a whole, often leading to the customer presuming that if the place is poorly run, then the food might not be worth waiting for.
Guests should always have a clean menu.
Wipe down menus before your shift starts and as they are returned to you throughout your shift.