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A chef de rang, also commonly known as the assistant headwaiter, is a senior member of a wait staff and is usually found at upscale restaurants. The term rang simply refers to the section of tables in a restaurant for which he is responsible during his shift, which may vary with each seating at the discretion of the headwaiter. In smaller restaurants, this position is often combined with the chef d'etage, whose job it is to verbally explain daily specials to patrons and answer questions about menu items.
Supervisory skills are needed to direct the lower level wait staff. A chef de rang is required to be organized to keep track of his orders and detail-oriented to be sure each patron's personal tastes are noted and applied to certain dishes. Clear verbal communication abilities are needed to interact with customers, management, chefs and waitpersons. A good sense of humor and outgoing personality are good character traits for chefs de rang.
Guaranteeing the highest level of guest satisfaction is the focal point of a chef de rang. He commonly greets guests as they arrive if the headwaiter is otherwise engaged. If food items like Caesar salad or flambeed dishes require tableside preparation or presentation, he is often called upon to perform these duties. His job includes clearing tables during and after meals and processing guest payments.
This job requires a combination of standing and walking to seat, serve and take payments from restaurant patrons. Heavy lifting of trays of food is generally needed. While the kitchen may be noisy and bustling, the dining room in top end restaurants is usually quiet and conducive to relaxation and private conversation. A chef de rang may be required to wear a uniform provided by the restaurant or wear his own clothes. In the latter case, preferred attire is normally professional with a hint of formality.
A hotel and catering diploma is often required for this position, although aspiring chefs de rang with at least one to two years experience in a fine dining environment may be considered for the position. Proven customer service skills developed at former positions in upscale restaurants are desirable. Knowledge of wine and exotic food ingredients is preferred by many employers in need of a chef de rang.
Salary and Advancement Opportunities
An experienced chef de rang has chances to advance to headwaiter or maitre'd positions. In large restaurants, opportunities in middle or upper level management may be available. Based on information provided at Indeed.com, the salary range in the United States for a chef de rang or assistant headwaiter in June 2014 was $38,000.
Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.