“Help me understand…I’m in a Restaurant and I can’t get food?”
While most people have some grasp on the tough time servers and bartenders go through, few understand the plight of the host/hostess. They stand behind a desk or podium, shrouded in mystery and free mints, and vanish from our minds the second we reach our chairs. So how does it all actually happen and why must you wait if there are open tables?
Here are a few things don’t you know about that friendly front door greeter:
- The wait times are not the fault of a host. I can promise you they are not hoarding empty tables. If there’s a wait, it means there’s not enough space for you yet — or an open menu protocol determined by the Executive Chef has been met. For instance, at The Beaumont, our food is “made to order” which make out open menu count a little lower than others. This does not indicate service is slow; it just explains why you see lots of free tables but can’t be seated. We always suggest making a reservation for weekend dining.
- There is a method to the hosts’ table choices. They don’t just spin around in a circle and point. Hosts strategically map seating arrangements, so servers have a fair share of tables, but can also handle the workload. When it’s busy, they must make sure they don’t overbook one server. So understand that switching your table could throw a hefty wrench into the already carefully laid out floor plan.
- There’s really nothing a host can do about your undercooked steak, so if you have a problem, be sure to speak to your server or a manager. Remember to be kind when explaining your disappointment since the only fault about the food is coming from the kitchen and not the person seating or serving you.
In summary, a host is like a cruise director and believe me they’ve got their share of customer service stories. Just because these gentle-natured organizers have less interaction with the clientele than servers doesn’t mean they get out unscathed. People still yell at them when being told the wait time is more than 30 minutes or that they can’t move your table on a holiday or on any day when the restaurant is booked solid.
Hosts and managers work hard to create that floor plan and seating arrangement in a crafty way to deliver the best service possible. Requesting a different table could wind up only winning you slower service, depending on which server section you end up in and they’re workload at that moment. Remember to be patient as your table switch was not part of the overall plan.
So next time you call for that table of 2 or 10, try to be specific about your expectations. And if you have any special requests, be sure to relay them to the host. They want to be the best prepared for your visit, which will only gain you a better experience.