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The front of house staff members in a restaurant are the face of the establishment. They are the employees that customers come in contact with, such as the hostess taking names, the bartender making drinks, the waiter delivering meals and the busboy cleaning tables. These jobs generally don’t have educational requirements, as new hires usually get hands-on training in areas such as safely handling food and providing excellent customer service.
Hosts and hostesses take calls, note reservations and welcome customers as they come through the door. On busy days, hosts take customers’ names for their waiting list before directing them to the bar or waiting area. Using table rotation charts to disperse business evenly among waitresses, hosts lead customers to their seats, offer menus and inform each table of the dishes on special that night. According to ONet OnLine, hosts and hostesses earned a median hourly wage of $8.96 in 2013.
Even though bartenders don’t directly serve customers in the dining room, they’re still responsible for making all drink orders. As bartenders manage patrons seated at the bar, they keep an eye out for waitresses bringing drink orders for their tables. Between pouring liquors and garnishing glasses with fruit, bartenders also make sure used glasses are cleaned, equipment is wiped and dwindling stock is replenished. ONet Online reports that bartenders made a median income of $9.09 per hour in 2013.
Waiters are alerted by hosts when a table has been seated in their section. Within minutes, they’re headed to the beverage station or bar to retrieve drinks for the table before taking their food order. The National Restaurant Association notes that if the wait staff receives any special cooking requests or food allergy alerts, they must clearly notify the kitchen when they enter the food order. For example, a waiter may alert the kitchen that his customer has a gluten sensitivity so chefs can change gloves, pans, knives or other equipment. ONet Online notes that waiters and waitresses brought in a median hourly pay of $8.94 in 2013.
The bus staff, or bussers, act as extra hands for waiters by taking care of minor details. If the wait staff is busy, for example, bussers may fill water glasses and bring condiments or napkins to customers; and when large groups are served, bussers usually help carry trays to tables, which they also clear and reset once customers leave. Depending on the establishment, bussers may clear dishes and wash cups behind the bar as well. ONet Online categorizes all bus staff as dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers, and notes that they earned a median rate of $8.95 per hour in 2013.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers Do
- ONet OnLine: Summary Report for Hosts and Hostesses, Restaurant, Lounge and Coffee Shop
- ONet OnLine: Summary Report for Bartenders
- National Restaurant Association: Gluten-Free Dining: Front-of-the-House Protocols
- ONet OnLine: Summary Report for Waiters and Waitresses
- ONet OnLine: Summary Report for Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers
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