How to get promoted and leave the host stand behind
If you lack hospitality experience, are more interested in the front of the house than in the kitchen, and want to get your foot in the door at a restaurant, you won’t find a better place to start than as a host or hostess. From answering the phone and making reservations to greeting and seating guests, you’ll become an expert at keeping customers happy and maintaining your own cool under pressure.
While it’s possible to enjoy a host job for years, many hospitality professionals have bigger aspirations. Hosts usually want work their way up the restaurant ladder, making a move to a server role, bartending position, or even an assistant manager opportunity. If you find yourself among them, consider these suggestions to land your first promotion and leave the host stand behind.
Start with a great attitude
Working in a restaurant is hard. You’re working early mornings, late nights and weekends, standing on your feet the entire time, and often dealing with impatient customers who are less than courteous with their demands. If you eventually want to be promoted from your entry-level host position, you have to prove to your manager that you can be cheerful, friendly, and helpful even under the worst of circumstances. This includes showing kindness and compassion to your coworkers and supervisors when they’re having bad days as well.
Maintain an exemplary work ethic
Show up on time (or even early) every day. Take responsibility for any mistakes you make and be willing to learn from them. Ask for your manager’s and coworkers’ feedback and accept suggestions for improvement courteously. Pick up extra shifts when they are offered and pitch in wherever you can—whether that means helping with cleaning and bussing tables or grabbing drink refills for customers when their servers are busy. The more dedicated and helpful you are, the more likely your manager will note your advancement potential.
Learn as much as you can—both on and off the job
Subscribe to industry publications and keep up with the latest news on trends. When possible, attend trade shows and related restaurant events. Striking up a conversation with your manager about what you’ve learned is a great way to impress him or her with your passion for the restaurant industry. While you’re at it, ask to cross train in different areas of the restaurant where you may be useful, from taking inventory in the bar to rotating stock in the kitchen. The most promotable hosts and hostesses are those with an enthusiasm for continual development.
Make sure your manager knows you want a promotion
Managers are not mystical mind readers so once you’ve put in a few months behind the host stand, make sure yours knows that you’re interested in working your way up. This conversation is the perfect opportunity to remind your manager of your accomplishments so far (such as contributing to higher guest satisfaction levels or reducing wait times) and to ask for insight into how to make your next move happen as well.