Hosts and hostesses typically work at the front of a restaurant, performing several tasks. One of their primary functions is to show patrons to their seats, and assign tables to specific waitstaff. They also field phone calls and take reservations. This is an entry-level job that requires a short-term training period.
Average Wage and Pay Range
As of 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that hosts and hostesses working in the United States earned an average hourly wage of $9.41. This is the equivalent of earning about $19,570 per year. The median-earning 50 percent of hosts and hostesses reported wages of between $8.27 and $10.10 per hour. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned $7.79 or less per hour, while the highest-paid 10 percent reported wages of $12.28 or more per hour.
Pay by State
Hosts and hostesses employed in the West and Northeast tended to earn the highest wages as of 2012. Those working in Washington, D.C. earned the highest average wage in the country, $11.88 per hour. Hosts and hostesses working in Nevada ranked second, with an average wage of $11.79 per hour. Those in third-ranked Hawaii averaged $11.32 per hour, while those working in New York averaged $11.08. Those in West Virginia reported the lowest average wage in the country, $8.26 an hour.
Pay by Type of Establishment
The vast majority of hosts and hostesses are employed by stand-alone restaurants, and earned an average wage of $9.27 per hour as of 2012. Those working in bars earned slightly more, with an average hourly wage of $9.84. Hosts and hostesses employed by hotel restaurants earned a significantly higher wage, averaging $10.95 per hour. The few hosts and hostesses employed by colleges and universities earned the highest wage, $12.85 per hour.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14 percent growth rate for the American economy between 2010 and 2020. By comparison, jobs for hosts and hostesses are only expected to grow by 4 percent. However, as this is a relatively large occupation, that means an increase of about 13,600 positions by 2020. The turnover rate among these workers also tends to be high, as many become servers or leave the restaurant industry. As a result, jobs for hosts or hostesses are usually available.