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Average Host/Hostess Salary in Major U.S. Cities

A smiling woman in an elegant suit in a restaurant, earing her hostess salary.

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.

Los Angeles

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. Chewse $17.38
  2. Shutterbooth $17.35
  3. Nordstrom $16.93
  4. Omni Hotels $16.75
  5. El Torito Restaurants $16.13
  6. Longhorn Steakhouse $15.92
  7. Universal Studios Hollywood $15.71
  8. Yard House $15.64
  9. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products $15.60
  10. Sodexo $15.50
A paper
Maintain an organized waitlist, accurately record reservations and notify guests when their table is ready

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.

Find the Best Host/Hostess Salary Opportunities With Oyster Link

Introducing Oyster Link, a versatile job and networking platform catering to the restaurant industry. Discover a range of resources, including industry insights, templates, and the latest trends. Additionally, you gain access to even more exclusive benefits by becoming an early Oyster Link member:

  • For employers, Oyster Link offers a vast network of top talent, simplifying the candidate search for your team. Find the perfect match effortlessly and efficiently, ensuring your business thrives with the right professionals.
  • For applicants, our job platform is designed to match your qualifications and career goals. Gain insights and valuable advice to succeed in the industry, maximizing your potential for growth and advancement.

Join Oyster Link today and unlock a world of opportunities to propel your career or find the ideal candidate, tailored to the restaurant industry’s unique needs.

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