I have been a hostess for almost two years now and working in a restaurant has definitely changed my perspective when dining in other restaurants. Since I know the struggles of the hostesses and servers, I always try to make everyone have a good dining experience.
Respect the wait time.
As hostesses, we are usually given solid wait times to the guest, as it is part of what we are trained to do. Though we are generally always accurate, there are times when the guests decide to stay a lot longer than we expected and the people may end up waiting 5-10 minutes longer than what we told them.
It is not our fault, we can't make people get up and leave so please try and be understanding when we are being apologetic. As I said, we are usually pretty accurate with quote times so if we tell you it is going to be an hour wait, it's probably going to be an hour wait.
Don't be upset 45 minutes later complaining that it is taking too long because you decided to wait and you still have about 15 minutes left so calm down. Our goal is to get everyone seated as soon as possible.
Make sure you make your preference clear.
If you would prefer a booth over a table or to be inside rather than outside make sure you let us know, even if we don't ask. We are going to sit you wherever we can, our job is to always keep the restaurant filled so we give you what is available. I know there are times when you pass by empty tables in the restaurant but there is a reason that section is empty.
There is probably no assigned server there or their shift hasn't started, so please don't be those people that demand to sit there because that one "small" request can be an inconvenience for us and the servers, just let us know ahead of time.
Try not to be those people.
There is nothing more annoying than having a guest come in right before closing. As a hostess, I have to deal with seating you and trust me nobody ever really wants to take the last table. We are all prepared for closing, I usually have my side work done and everything put away and the servers have all already put in their tables' food orders.
Even the kitchen has started doing some cleanup, so don't wonder why people aren't being so nice when you walk in ten minutes before closing. In addition, no matter what time of the day you dine-in, don't be those people who stay for hours. I have witnessed ladies staying up to five hours at their table or even throughout my whole shift, that is crazy what are you people discussing that can't be discussed anywhere else. Server depends on the round of tables and you have just taken away about 5 more rounds on that table for that server.
We are not your servers.
Hostesses and servers are two very different jobs. Our job is not to serve you so please don't start telling us your order or to bring your drinks because that is not part of our job. We usually don't mind if we have time, we'll help the server out by getting water and bread but we can't go beyond that because then we'd have to ring in what you order and we don't have that power.
Also, I'm not sure about other restaurants but in the one, I work in we are not required to know everything on the menu until we become a server, so please wait for your server if you have specific questions about the menu.
Be nice to your host and servers.
You are always going to have rude customers (or workers) wherever you go, but try not to be one of them. As a hostess, I have had people be rude to me or ignore me and it gets me in a bad mood and I respond in the same way. I am a strong believer of The Golden Rule, so I treat people how I would want to be treated.
Also, tip your servers! Tips are their main source of income, they make less in hourly wage because they are expected to even it out through tips. If you don't plan on tipping at least the minimum then you should probably not go to a restaurant.
Please keep these things in mind the next time you dine in a restaurant so that everyone can be happy and have a great experience.