Skills Restaurant Host/hostess near Calgary (AB)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a restaurant host/hostess in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Maîtres d'hôtel and hosts/hostesses (NOC 6511).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Advise on wine selection and serve wine
  • Liaise between chefs and customers
  • Order and receive liquor and other supplies and maintain inventories
  • Inspect dining rooms and other food and beverage serving areas
  • Deposit cash and maintain daily log books
  • Maintain financial records
  • Provide general information on community services
  • Attend to seating arrangements for large groups
  • Receive payments from customers
  • Answer customers' questions regarding menu items and preparation methods
  • Receive customers' reservations and assign tables
  • Greet customers
  • Assist clients/guests with special needs
  • Address customers' complaints or concerns
  • Perform opening and closing activities

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

Reading
  • Read notes that have been left by the chef or the restaurant owner about food specials, staffing changes or daily reservations. (1)
  • May read memos on topics such as policy, procedures, upcoming events, advertising campaigns or new food items. (2)
  • May refer to a policy manual. (3)
  • May read articles and books on restaurants, food serving, wines and wine tasting. (3)
Document use
  • Read menus, daily "specials" boards and wine and liquor lists. (1)
  • Read food bills when receiving payment from customers. (1)
  • Fill in administrative records such as time cards, daily server report forms, time sheets for restaurant staff or daily report sheets, which may record such information as the total sales and the average amount of each sale for each meal period. (1)
  • Complete credit-card receipts. (1)
  • Enter reservations in the reservation book and review it periodically throughout the shift to plan for new clients. (1)
  • Read staff schedules. (2)
  • May use a sketch or floor plan of the restaurant to track available tables and to develop and adjust seating plans. (2)
Writing
  • Write "specials" on the menu boards or on a page inserted in menus. (1)
  • Enter reservations in the reservations book. (1)
  • Record events in a log, including information about customer complaints, late or sick staff or other incidents. (1)
  • Write notes to themselves to organize their tasks and to remember what needs to be done. (1)
  • Write notes to co-workers about tasks to be done. (1)
  • May write menu descriptions. (2)
  • May write letters, such as proposals to provide food services to large groups or letters of reference for staff. (2)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Receive payments from customers and provide change. (1)
  • May prepare bills subtracting a discount, or may convert American currency when receiving payments. (2)
  • May calculate costs when preparing a food proposal, taking actual food costs, adding a percentage and determining the cost per plate. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Record and monitor hours worked by staff, noting break times and payment for breaks that were not taken due to workload. (1)
  • Do a daily cash out, counting and recording bills and change and completing required forms. (2)
  • May create weekly staffing schedules. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • May prepare bar mixes, measuring water and bar mix in specified proportions. (1)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the eating time of various groups of customers. (1)
  • Estimate the number of walk-in clients that the restaurant may get during a serving period. These estimates are used to prepare schedules and seating arrangements and to make seating assignments as customers arrive. (2)
  • Estimate the amount of food supplies to order, based on such factors as the stock inventory, hotel occupancy projections (if the restaurant is located in a hotel) and past experience. (2)
Oral communication
  • Answer phones and take messages and reservations. (1)
  • Greet customers. (1)
  • Inform customers of daily "specials" and explain menu items. (1)
  • Deal with any problems customers may have with the food or the service. (2)
  • Co-ordinate activities with their supervisor and chefs. (2)
  • May train new staff. (2)
  • Supervise waiters and waitresses, assigning their tasks, interacting with them, providing direction and feedback and resolving disputes among them. (3)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Deal with the problem of being caught short staffed by calling in additional staff, helping the servers and managing customer dissatisfaction. (1)
  • Have to accommodate large parties who arrive without reservations. (1)
  • Deal with customers who are not satisfied with their meals and negotiate some kind of compensation, such as reducing the bill or making another selection from the menu. (2)
  • Deal with customers who are loud and angry. Such problems must be resolved quickly to avoid disturbing other customers. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide where to seat customers, considering the customer's preference, the tables that are left and the workload of different servers. (1)
  • Decide where to put large parties. (1)
  • Decide how to deal with dissatisfied customers, such as ordering other meals or waiving the bill. (2)
  • Decide whether or not to bring in more staff if the restaurant is particularly busy. (2)
  • Decide how many staff to schedule, considering such factors as the rooms booked for the hotel and the functions booked. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Much of the daily activity of maîtres d'hôtel and hosts/hostesses depends on the flow of business from customers. They schedule their tasks to focus on greeting, seating and serving customers, fitting in other activities in slow periods. Their days vary according to the volume and types of customers coming into the restaurant. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember where they last seated customers, which tables are ready for customers and which ones are nearly ready.
  • Memorize the regular items on the menu.
  • May remember the names and faces of repeat customers.
  • Remember the daily "specials".
Finding Information
  • May look up a phone number if it was not recorded in the reservations book. (1)
  • May compare a signature to those in the hotel register to find out what room to bill. (1)
  • May find out information for tourists by looking in tourist publications in the restaurant, asking co-workers or calling a tourist site. (1)
Digital technology
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they may use a computer cash register or may use a touch screen to order food and print out bills. (1)
  • They may make adjustments to payroll to ensure that workers' cheques equal the time worked. (2)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Maîtres d'hôtel and hosts/hostesses work as members of a team with the entire staff of their restaurant.

Continuous Learning

Some maîtres d'hôtel and hosts/hostesses occasionally take company-sponsored courses, including courses in First Aid and Food Safety. Some occasionally read articles and journals regarding food, food service, selling techniques and trends in the food industry.

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