When patrons enter a restaurant, a host or hostess is typically the first person that they see. Hosts or hostesses greet guests, lead them to tables, provide them with menus and make them feel welcome. They may also check on customers to see if they're receiving quality service. Hosts and hostesses can be found in restaurants, lounges and coffee shops.
The mean hourly wage for restaurant, lounge and coffee-shop hosts and hostesses was $9.23, and the mean annual wage, or average salary, was $19,190, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. The median annual salary for hosts and hostesses ranges from approximately $15,110 to $25,230. The lowest 10 percent of employees earn less than $15,110, and the top 10 percent of employees earn more than $25,230.
As of October 2010, hostesses with less than one year of experience earn an hourly wage between $7.18 and $9.24, according to PayScale.
Full-service restaurants employ the largest number of hosts and hostesses, with an average salary of $18,940, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that employ large numbers of hostesses are: traveler accommodation, with a salary of $22,340; limited-service eating locations, $18,180; drinking establishments, $19,400; and amusement, gambling and recreation industries, $21,140.
Colleges, universities and professional schools pay the highest average salary above all other industries to hosts and hostesses, with an average annual salary of $32,040, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that offer high pay are: lessors of real estate, $23,260; civic and social organizations, $23,260; museums, historical sites and similar institutions, $22,700; and traveler accommodation, $22,340.
The District of Columbia pays the highest average salary above all other locations to hosts and hostesses, with an average annual salary $24,910, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other states that offer high pay are: Nevada, $24,370; Massachusetts, $24,020; Vermont, $22,920; and New York, $22,880.