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Restaurant Seating Etiquette for a Hostess

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Thinking about a position in the hospitality business? Often young people enter the restaurant business as a host or hostess with little to no experience. This can be difficult and challenging for owners and managers. There are a few basic guidelines that you will need to follow to successfully execute this challenging position.

Greeting Before Seating

The first person that a guest will see upon entering a restaurant is the host or hostess. This means that you will have to present yourself in a positive light. At this particular moment, consider yourself the ambassador to the restaurant. Greet the guests with enthusiasm.

Prior to Seating

If applicable, be sure to ask the guests if they have a seating preference (i.e. bar, booth, table, window table, corner table). After your guests have decided on their location, take the menus, wine lists, and any other necessary items with you. Walk your guests to their table in a manner that suits them. If one of your guests is elderly or handicapped, be sure to stay close and not walk too quickly.

The Actual Seating

Upon arrival at the table, pull out the chairs for the women if they let you. This is a nice "old-school" gesture that is too often forgotten. Push the chairs in after they are seated and hand out menus starting to your right and working your way around the table.

Before You Leave the Table

After you have seated the guests, be sure and explain what will happen next. For example, if the server will be over to greet them and get a drink order, let them know. Communication is key in the restaurant business.


On weekends, your restaurant will probably be busy. You will more than likely fill all the tables, or the kitchen may be unable to handle the capacity. Be sure to quote proper waiting times to guests. If you're unsure of the correct times, see a manager. Sometimes a hostess will offer an absurd number, such as two hours, when the wait really is only 30 minutes. This can cause the restaurant to lose business.


As in the first section, be sure to say your goodbyes to guests upon their exit. You are the last person the guests will see before they leave the restaurant. If you do this correctly, they may remember a smile or a nice goodbye and consider returning in the future.


WIlliam D. Gardlock's interests lie in the world of food and wine. Currently working toward his Bachelor of Science in business administration, he is also working in restaurant management. A writer for just over one year, Gardlock contributes exclusively to Demand Studios.

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