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    How to Help Your Hostess Manage Restaurant Seating and Navigation

    Written by Joel Strulovitch

    The hostess of your restaurant plays an important role in making your customers feel comfortable in your establishment. After all, the host or hostess is the first employee to greet your customers and set the meal's overall expectations. With this important job comes several responsibilities, including greeting guests, deciding how to manage restaurant seating hour by hour, and keeping them comfortable until their order arrives at the table. 

    The ability to perform these duties well requires a friendly personality, attention to detail, and restaurant furniture that is easy to navigate. It's easy to spend all your time fussing over the appearance of your restaurant, but it's vitally important to provide your hostess with the tools to seat diners in a way that makes sure everyone gets the best service. 

    Use the Right Furniture and Layout to Manage Restaurant Seating

    Comfortable seating begins with your restaurant furniture. The pieces you choose and how you position them allows your host to successfully manage restaurant seating. Providing space to keep diners comfortable isn't simply about the distance between one party and the next. It's also about the ability for your restaurant staff to serve customers without spillage and uncomfortable closeness. Choosing a layout that sets up your host for success includes a space that allows him to take care of every customer efficiently.

    Provide a Clear View

    Hungry customers don't enjoy waiting for a table. To evaluate which tables and booths are ready, your host or hostess will need a clear view of seating options throughout the entire dining area. When choosing your furniture, it's important to have a complete floor plan prepared. Tall booths should be located near walls to keep tables visible to your host. Furniture of variable height is totally acceptable and even welcome, but be prepared to view it from the host's vantage point, and make sure the layout will work.

    Offer Convenient Options for Quick Changes

    Round tables can provide many benefits for diners, but they can't be combined to accommodate a large group. Even if your dining space is made up mainly of round tables and booths, it's a great idea to include some square or rectangle table tops. Your host or hostess needs the ability to graciously greet and seat a surprise group of 20 people even if they show up during the busiest period of the day. Having a space where two or three tables can quickly be pushed together can save the day. 

    Invest in a Functional Hostess Stand

    Your host/hostess has a variety of responsibilities to take care of for each customer. Most importantly, she needs to meet the needs of your guests without hesitation. It's often the host or hostess' responsibility to provide menus, silverware, distractions for children, and drinks. To do this efficiently, the right tools must be neatly stored at the hostess stand.

    Besides meeting the customers' immediate needs, your host or hostess may have other duties like answering the phone and booking reservations. Providing clean, comfortable seating that waitstaff is ready to serve is also still a top priority. Your host or hostess needs to be able to access and use a seating plan without ignoring waiting customers. The right hostess stand can supply a workspace to streamline all of these tasks. 

    Avoid Cluttered Entryways

    Your guests shouldn't feel crowded in the doorway when they enter your restaurant. Avoid excess furniture like shelves or cabinets in the entryway or customer waiting area. If the area gets crowded frequently, consider replacing single chairs with benches. Position your hostess stand in a place where it will be immediately visible, and the host can comfortably greet everyone that comes in the door. Additionally, the hostess stand should be ample enough to contain all the necessary tools without being too bulky for the space.

    More Helpful Tips and Procedures for Hosts and Hostesses to Manage Restaurant Seating

    hosting talking with a customer at the front of a restaurant

    Your restaurant host or hostess has a variety of responsibilities. Making this job easier is key in providing a good first impression for your customers. It's rarely possible for your host to get a good view of every seat in the restaurant. Putting additional tools and procedures in place can help your hostess take care of all of your customers at once.

    • Take the time to make sure your host or hostess is properly trained and comfortable with the furniture layout.
    • Strategically place mirrors high on the walls to provide extra visibility for hard to see areas.
    • Ensure furniture is easy to clean, so your host will be able to seat customers quickly.
    • Provide in-between service areas to access cutlery, extra napkins, and straws.
    • Ensure the passage between tables is wide enough for your wait staff, hostess, and/or customers to pass by one another.
    • Consider the shapes of your furniture to avoid jutting corners and chair backs.
    • Provide digital options for customers to make reservations.
    • Provide options for waiting diners to get text or digital notifications about the status of their table.
    • Supply a space where your host or hostess and wait staff can exchange quick communications. This will help  them avoid overextending one member and shortchanging another.
    • Provide communication options between your hostess and valet as customers arrive.
    • Invest in software that keeps your host or hostess up to date on last-minute changes in the kitchen and dining areas.
    • Provide Plan B options in writing. This helps your hostess not have to work through a mental list during the most hectic moments of the day. 

    Make Good Furniture Part of Your Plan

    Your restaurant furniture plays a key role in making your host or hostess's job easier. When choosing furniture and planning the layout of your restaurant, convenience is a vital factor. If you're seeking furniture for your restaurant, make sure to work with a reliable wholesaler with commercial furniture experience. Moda Seating is a commercial wholesaler with decades of experience providing restaurants with a variety of high-quality furniture options. We even offer free floor planning assistance to help you maximize every inch of space in your restaurant, manage restaurant seating, and make your employees' lives easier.

    About Moda Seating

    Moda Seating is the pioneer of providing commercial seating online. Since 2008, Joel Strulovitch, the company’s founder, has been building upon his family’s tradition of providing quality commercial seating at affordable prices. Moda Seating has helped thousands of people achieve their dreams to open restaurants, hotels, event centers, and many other types of businesses where the patron’s experience is influenced by their physical environment.

    If you’re in the process of opening a restaurant or other type of venue where the experience of your customers will be influenced by the environment you provide, then rely on Moda Seating. No other commercial furniture wholesaler has been helping merchants online longer than we have. To help you get started, please download our free guide, 11 Steps to Successfully Open a Restaurant. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. We’re happy to help!

    11 Steps to Successfully Open a Restaurant

    Tags: restaurant floor planning, restaurant seating, restaurant tables, customer experience, open a restaurant, hostess