In the United States (U.S.), there are currently more than 320,000 people working as hosts/hostesses. If you are looking for work in this area, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and secure a rewarding position in the restaurant business.
In this article, we will explore the host/hostess salary range in major U.S. cities such as NYC, LA, Miami and Chicago, to provide you with an in-depth understanding of their earnings.
Additionally, we’ll provide valuable insights on career growth prospects and practical advice for negotiating fair compensation for hosts and hostesses.
How Much Do Hosts/Hostesses Make in the US?
A host/hostess job in the U.S. offers an annual average salary of $43,000, which can vary depending on the location and type of establishment. Factors such as a busser’s experience can also affect the final offer they receive.
Here’s a list of host/hostess salary ranges for the cities of New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.
New York City
A host/hostess in New York City can earn an average of $54,000 per year, making NYC the highest-paying city for this profession at 25% above the national average.
Working in one of the most renowned culinary hubs sets the stage for personal and professional growth.
A host/hostess salary in Miami is about $47,000 annually, around 9% above the national average.
Note that those with knowledge of foreign languages may have an advantage in negotiating a higher salary, given Miami’s diverse community.
A host/hostess salary in Chicago is about 16% above the national average at $50,000 per year.
This higher-than-average salary in Chicago reflects the city’s thriving hospitality industry and the demand for skilled host/hostess professionals. With numerous restaurants and establishments, Chicago offers competitive compensation for individuals in this role.
A host/hostess job in Los Angeles is at approximately $53,000 annually, being 23% higher than the national average.
What Factors Impact Host/Hostess Salary?
Understanding the factors that influence the host/hostess salary can help you to make informed decisions and navigate salary discussions effectively.
So, let’s discuss the most important ones:
- Restaurant type and location: The type of restaurant, such as fine-dining, casual-dining, or fast-food restaurant, and its location can significantly influence the salary range for host/hostess positions.
- Experience and skills: The level of experience, specialized skills and additional qualifications can contribute to higher host salary offers. Host/hostesses with extensive experience or specific expertise may command higher pay.
- Demand and competition: The demand for host/hostess positions in a particular area and the competition among employers can affect host/hostess salary offers. Limited availability of skilled host/hostesses will inevitably lead to higher salaries.
- Restaurant reputation and size: The reputation and size of the restaurant can also impact the host/hostess salary. Established and well-known restaurants or larger establishments may offer higher salaries compared to smaller or lesser-known ones.
- Your experience: Experience can imply proficiency in customer service, organizational skills and the ability to handle various situations, which can lead to higher earning potential.
How to Negotiate a Higher Host/Hostess Salary
By investing time and effort into preparation and research, you can equip yourself with the necessary tools to succeed in negotiating a better salary.
The following tips will assist you in this process.
- Research salary ranges: Conduct thorough research to understand the typical salary range for host/hostess positions in your area.
- Highlight your experience and skills: Clearly communicate your relevant experience, skills and any additional qualifications that make you a valuable asset to the employer.
- Be confident and assertive: Approach the negotiation with confidence, clearly expressing your desire for a higher host/hostess salary and why you believe you deserve it.
- Consider non-salary benefits: Explore other compensation components such as flexible scheduling, paid time off or professional development opportunities that may enhance the overall value of the job offer.
- Follow up: After the job interview, keep your name top of mind as an applicant and increase your chances of landing the job with a follow-up call.
If you are passionate about moving up the hospitality ladder, check out our article on working in a restaurant as a career path.
10 Top-Paying Companies for a Host/Hostess in the US
The table below showcases employers from various industries that offer competitive hourly wages for host/hostess positions.
- Chewse $17.38
- Shutterbooth $17.35
- Nordstrom $16.93
- Omni Hotels $16.75
- El Torito Restaurants $16.13
- Longhorn Steakhouse $15.92
- Universal Studios Hollywood $15.71
- Yard House $15.64
- Disney Parks, Experiences and Products $15.60
- Sodexo $15.50
Host/Hostess Job Overview
Hosts/hostesses can make or break a guest’s experience with friendly conversation and personalized care. Below, we delve into the particular responsibilities, skills and qualifications a worker should possess to excel as a restaurant host/hostess.
1. Host/hostess responsibilities
These responsibilities provide a general overview of the role, but they can vary depending on the specific restaurant and its operations.
- Greeting and welcoming guests: Warmly greet guests as they enter the restaurant, make a friendly introduction and make them feel comfortable and valued.
- Seating guests: Manage the seating arrangements efficiently, considering reservations, table availability and balancing the workload for servers.
- Managing waitlists and reservations: Maintain an organized waitlist, accurately record reservations and notify guests when their table is ready.
- Providing information: Familiarize yourself with the restaurant’s menu, daily specials and any promotions to provide accurate and helpful information to guests.
- Escorting guests: Escort guests to their assigned tables, help with seating and provide menus.
- Handling phone calls: Answer incoming phone calls, assist with inquiries and reservations and provide general information about the restaurant.
- Managing guest inquiries and complaints: Address guest concerns or complaints in a professional and timely manner, striving to find appropriate resolutions and ensure guest satisfaction.
- Maintaining cleanliness and organization: Keep the host/hostess station clean and organized, ensuring menus, reservation books and other materials are readily available.
- Collaborating with other staff: Work as part of a team, supporting other front-of-house and back-of-house staff members when needed.
- Upselling and promoting: Suggestively sell menu items, promote specials or promotions and encourage guests to visit again.
During the interview process, it is advisable to inquire about any additional responsibilities to gain a comprehensive understanding of the role.
2. Host/hostess skills & qualifications
Guests expect host/hostess to be efficient, honest and professional, providing them with full attention to truly understand their needs.
In pursuit of a higher host/hostess salary, a worker needs to possess the following skills and qualifications:
- Strong customer service skills with a friendly and welcoming demeanor
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact with guests, staff and management
- Ability to multitask and stay organized in a fast-paced environment
- Proficiency in managing reservations, seating arrangements and waitlist management
- Knowledge of the restaurant’s layout, menu and daily specials to assist guests effectively
- Ability to handle difficult or challenging customer situations with tact and diplomacy
- Attention to detail in maintaining cleanliness and organization of the host/hostess station
- Basic math skills for handling cash transactions, issuing receipts and processing payments
- Familiarity with restaurant technology systems such as reservation software and paging systems
- Flexibility to work evenings, weekends and holidays as required by the restaurant’s schedule
These skills and qualifications showcase the essential attributes and experiences necessary to excel as a host/hostess in a restaurant environment. Remember to adjust the resume you send out and highlight relevant experiences that align with these requirements.
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