Restaurant Host Training

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Restaurant host showing a couple to their table.
Restaurant host showing a couple to their table. (Image: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A restaurant host is the first person the customer interacts with upon entering the restaurant, and a positive first impression leaves a customer feeling satisfied with his experience. Host duties normally include customer service, reservations and general supervision of the entire dining room to make sure customers enjoy their experience. Because a restaurant host job can be busy and stressful, proper training is a necessity.

Function

Restaurant hosts have different functions depending on the restaurant. They can greet and seat guests, answer the phone, place takeout orders, make and modify customer reservations and oversee the dining room to ensure guests are enjoying their meals. A new host needs to be trained to handle all these functions when hired.

Benefits

To make sure your new host knows how to provide an enjoyable visit for your restaurant guests, she must be well trained in restaurant operations. Thorough training benefits your business and your customers by demonstrating your restaurant’s efficiency and the importance you place upon customer satisfaction. Proper training also ensures success for your new employee in his job.

Types

Restaurants provide different types of training for new hosts. Customer service training is important so the host knows how to interact properly with customers. Phone etiquette is also imperative, because the host most likely takes calls. Job shadowing is another type of training that allows the new host to experience the job firsthand while working with a more experienced employee. Show your new host the locations of important areas within the restaurant, such as restrooms and private dining areas. If applicable, provide training on taking reservations or using restaurant computer systems. Train the new host in providing basic information to customers, such as directions to the restaurant, parking information, menu prices and daily specials.

Time Frame

Depending on how much prior experience your new host has, you will need to adjust training time accordingly. Plan on approximately two to three training sessions or shifts. Use your judgment to observe how comfortable the new host is in her role. You can always decrease or add training time as needed.

Considerations

Provide additional training specific to your type of restaurant, depending on how casual or formal it is. For example, some restaurants want employees to refer to customers as "guests" rather then "customers." Train your host on the appropriate style of attire and hygiene required for the position. No matter how casual a restaurant is, it is important to emphasize how a host's clean and put-together outfit, appropriately styled hair and fresh appearance make an impression on restaurant guests.

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