Sticky Note

The Power of a Host

How strong is your Host Staff?

How much training does your Host Staff receive?

Does your Host Staff create the first impression that you want guests to receive as they enter?

As the guests are leaving, are they thanked for visiting?

Below, we discuss three steps to developing a Host Staff that gets the job done.

According to J.D. Power & Associates (a marketing information company)

the importance of service and environment, combined, outweighed the importance of price as a driver of overall satisfaction in the casual and family restaurant brand. Among quick service restaurant chains, service and environment were equally as important as price.(1)(2)

This is quite amazing when you think of the economic times that this country is currently experiencing.

All restaurant owners and managers know the value of excellent service. Most will spend a great deal of time and training on the wait staff, but for some reason lack the same amount of time and effort on the host staff. I have seen many times where a host will be put on the floor after only learning the table numbers.

As we all know, a first and last impression for a guest will be at the host stand. If a guest comes through your front door they have decided that your place would be a good place to dine. What will most undoubtedly ruin their impression would be anything less than a fabulous experience at your host stand.

If you take a moment to think of your own experiences with a host you will no doubt remember a warm and inviting welcome. You will also remember a rude, and not so friendly host and you probably don't even give a mediocre welcome any further thought. Which of the three would you rather your guests remember?

According to the American Society for Quality if a guest leaves happy they will tell 4 to 5 people.(3)  Guests that leave your restaurant dissatisfied will tell 9 to 12 people. With those numbers, your host can have quite a damaging effect on your guest count. That's alot of power.

Your first step to a great hosting staff is to make sure that you are hiring the right people for the job. Do not make a mistake of hiring a person for their previous experience. Their past hosting jobs may lack the training, and expectations you may have for your establishment.

Your second step would be to have a strict training program in place. It is an absolute must that you take the same amount of time, energy, and training dollars for your hosting staff as you would for your wait staff.

Your third step would be to have the right people in the right places. If you put a person on your host stand that has a great image, and personality, but lacks in other areas, you are going to lose guests. A host needs to be able to multi-task, think quickly, work well under pressure, and doing so with a gracious attitude and a huge smile. One of the most important tasks for your host is to be able to quote a proper wait. Utilizing tools such as a wait sheet or a floor plan can help tremendously.

Don't forget that your hosts will have a huge impact on your guest count. They can dictate whether a guest will want to return to your restaurant, or choose to go to your competitor.

To receive custom made floor charts, contact Team 101 for a free quote.

Look for related articles:
The Do's and Don'ts of Hosting
Is hosting just another pretty face?


(1)   J. D. Power & Associates

(2)   Nation's Restaurant News, August 10, 2010
(3) American Society for Quality

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