This month marks my second summer as a host. I've been doing it on an off for a year since May of last year. Hosting has been by far one of the most challenging and demanding jobs I've ever done. From the long hours to the difficult customers, hosts have a lot on their plates. However, hosting has also been one of the most rewarding learning experiences I've encountered My job has taught me valuable life skills, such as teamwork, situational-awareness, and prioritizing. After some careful consideration I've narrowed this list down to the three most important, and valued lessons I've taken away from hosting.
Shifts can go from slow to rushed in the blink of an eye. One minute the restaurant is dead and the next you've got a line out the door, a 40 minute wait and a lot of very irritable people who want to be seated immediately regardless of those in front of them. You have to seat the tables, mark them on the chart, and make sure all the servers know who has which table. It can be very demanding, even scary. I've found that the best way to make sure this goes smoothly, is to one, take a few breaths, and then proceed down your checklist in order of importance. It can be difficult with so many tables, especially when you don't have immediate assistance, but if you work through it calmly and rationally, the rush is over quickly and with little chaos.
2. Problem Solving
Sometimes, quick thinking is required. If there's a problem with a table, or something unplanned happens, try and figure out the quickest, most efficient, and subtle way to solve the problem. As long as the customers feel as though they are the priority they will for the most part, be forgiving of anything. A lot of times, you will have to problem solve with a fellow host or employee. Maybe you don't always see eye to eye, but will hopefully be able to work together diligently for the greater good.
Finally the most important lesson, people. People require a lot of patience. Patience as well as teamwork, and understanding. There will be customers that make you want to tear your hair out, they will complain, they will send food back and will be very high maintenance. While I struggled immensely to smile through these not-always pleasant encounters, i've found that i've developed a tolerance and understanding of not only our customers, but of my coworkers as well. In fact, I've developed a profound sense of respect for them and the job that we all do.
Upon reflection, I believe I've benefitted really from my job. Despite the minor bumps, I love what I do. To anyone considering a job in hosting, waitressing, or the serving industry in general, it is one I recommend greatly.