How to Become a

Host or Hostess

The complete career guide to be a Host or Hostess: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $20,530
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 4.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

A host or hostess presents a friendly demeanor to guests visiting a restaurant or any dining area. It is up to him or her to encourage a satisfying and positive dining experience.


What is a Host or Hostess?

Duties

Some of the essential duties carried out by a host or hostess include the following:

  • Greet every guest coming to or leaving the establishment with a genuine smile and eye contact, as you escort them to the assigned area.
  • Seat guests at the bar or dining space based on their preference while maintaining smooth service, e.g. provide a drink refill if a guest’s glass is empty.
  • If immediate seating is unavailable, keep a record of the names and number of guests to be expected and give them an estimated waiting time.
  • Process payments by validating any credit card charges, approving checks and accepting the necessary currency for takeaway orders.
  • Take a call on opening or closing a section of the dining area, based on the flow of customers and business hours.

Day In The Life

To be a successful host or hostess, you must be able to maintain a welcoming attitude to greet guests through the day. If you are working at a restaurant, you may usher guests past the front entrance, take them to their assigned dining area and provide them with clean silverware or menus.

It is up to the host or hostess to closely monitor the table rotation during working hours and ensure that every server is assigned a fair share of tables on rotation. Further, you must also have a good rapport with support staff to determine which ones are the most reliable in case there are extra tables to work. Other tasks you are involved with could be responding to queries about the establishment via phone or email, noting down table reservations and supervising takeout requests.

While this job opportunity is not as hectic as that of waiting staff, you are expected to undertake many overlapping responsibilities. One key aspect as a host or hostess is that you will be dealing with a wide range of patrons out of which many will be courteous while others can be quite unpleasant. Accommodating tough requests from guests is a big part of the job description – e.g. a guest might be unhappy because they are unable to get the best table at the establishment, a guest may yell at other staff because of delays in their order, etc.

Work Schedule

As a host or hostess, you can choose to work full-time or part-time. In case you take on a full-time position, you will typically be working approximately 35-40 hours per week. Around 75% of most hosts and hostesses usually work part time. When required, you might need to take on evening and weekend shifts. Working in this industry offers you flexibility and a fast-paced working environment. A restaurant and bar environment can be stressful with moderate noise level and hazards such as slipping and tripping. Your work station can be chilly as its location is near the entrance.

Growth Of The Job

With sufficient experience, hosts and hostesses eventually work their way up to a manager role. You might also become a lead hostess, front manager or a Maitre D’ as those positions become available at an establishment. If you are ambitious, you may even end up at the level of general or regional manager.

The job outlook in the next decade is expected to be positive, with plenty of job opportunities if you have the right combination of experience, skill and knowledge. A college degree in hospitality management can speed up the process of career growth in this field. The demand for hosts and hostesses will rise overtime, with an expected 44,370 new jobs to be filled by the year 2018. In other words, this indicates an annual increase of 1.69 percent over the next few years.

Typical Employers

Employers look for experienced candidates to be hosts and hostesses, ideally having at least 6 months experience in a full-service restaurant setup. You can find a job with restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels like Marriott International, Inc., Fogo de Chao, Ritz-Carlton, etc.


How To Become a Host or Hostess

It is recommended that you possess at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent to start off as a host or hostess. To eventually land a supervisory role, you will have to complete a college degree in the future. Training is given on-the-job by the concerned company.


Host or Hostess Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$17,840

Average

$20,530

High Range

$27,180

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$9/hr

Average

$10/hr

High Range

$13/hr

How do Host or Hostess salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Host or Hostess's can make an average annual salary of $20,530, or $10 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $17,840 or $9 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #810 Nationally for All Careers


Highest Education Among Host or Hostesss

  • 0.6%   Doctorate
  • 2.1%   Masters
  • 15.2%   Bachelors
  • 7.9%   Associates
  • 26.5%   College
  • 35.9%   High School
  • 11.8%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

376,400

2024 Est. Jobs

393,200

Job Growth Rate

4.5%

Est. New Jobs

16,800

How does Host or Hostess job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 16,800 jobs for a total of 393,200 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 4.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #463 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Host or Hostesss

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Full-service restaurants 323,800 16,000 16%
Drinking places (alcoholic beverages) 5,200 100 0%
Special food services 3,500 100 0%

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