What are my duties as a host??
As the host, you will arrive early and be ready to receive your guest (or guests). After that, your most important duty is to see that your guest is comfortable. You may want to ask your client for his or her food preferences prior to making your reservation; but, the choice of the restaurant itself is yours.
It’s smart to choose a restaurant where you are known, or visit the restaurant prior to your business meal, introduce yourself to the maître d’ and reserve a table that is not too close to the kitchen or to the entrance. Make sure that you have the privacy you need to conduct business. If time is of a concern, ask the restaurant to have the table preset with rolls, butter, and a pitcher of iced tea.
When your guest arrives, the maître d’ will guide you to your table. He or she will walk first; the guest is next, and then the host. If there is no maître d’ and you are guiding your guest, then you will walk in front of your guest, saying, “Let me show you to our table.” When leaving the restaurant, your guest precedes you.
Now an enjoyable and successful client meal begins:
- As the host of more than one guest, you will sit at the head of the table with your most important guest seated to your right. At a long table, the host sits in the middle. Regardless of who sits to the right, always seat your client in the most important seat. This is usually the chair that faces out into the room. You may seat yourself with your back facing the room.
- An easy way to let your guest know your price range is to say something like, “The filet mignon is excellent, and you need to start with one of their amazing appetizers.” Your guest will not know if it is appropriate to order wine or another alcoholic beverage unless you order an alcoholic beverage for yourself. Alcohol may be appropriate at a business dinner; but, not at a business lunch. This may be spelled out for you by company policy.
- Remember, the person right in front of you (your client) is the most important person in the world at that particular moment. He or she wants to feel that you are focusing your attention only on them and on their business needs. Therefore, all electronics are turned off at this meal. If you are awaiting an important call, let your client know that you may be excusing yourself during the meal for a matter that cannot wait. Place your cell phone on vibrate. Do not place it or other electronics on the table. Do not answer your cell phone at the table. You may discreetly place your silenced cell phone out of sight, on your lap.
- If your client insists on working with electronics at a meal in a fine dining restaurant suggest that the two of you can comfortably work back at the office after the meal. If that is clearly impossible, suggest waiting until after the meal is cleared. Remember, your most important duty as host is to see that your guest is at ease. When working with electronics, be as discrete and quiet as possible so as not to disturb other diners.
- If an associate or a friend stops by your table, remember to stand up and shake his or her hand. Always rise. Always introduce this person to your client. After a little polite conversation, it’s perfectly all right to say, “It was great to see you, Bill Please excuse us; we have some business to finish up.” Shake hands again and sit down.
- No matter how much your client protests, whoever does the inviting pays for the meal. Arrive early and give the maître d or server your credit card. Depending on the number of guests and what is customary in your area, ask the maître d’ to put the appropriate percentage gratuity on the card. Sign the charge slip before your guest(s) arrive.
- If you have not arrived early, then when you receive your menu, let the server or maître d’ know ahead of time that the meal will be charged to you.
- If your guest checked a coat, as the host, you will pay the coatroom attendant’s tip for both of your coats as you exit the restaurant.
People notice your professional behavior. Follow these simple guidelines and you will always appear polished and competent in business and social manners.
Excerpts of blog taken from the book: Hospitality Management – People Skills & Manners on and off the Job. Copyright © 2015 Lyn Pont, Ph.D.
“Pont’s book is a must-read for anyone considering a career in hospitality.”
— Isadore Sharp, chairman and founder, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
See the book at: www.HospitalityManners.com
Visit Lyn at: www.MannersForBusiness.com
Lyn Pont, Ph.D. – World’s Top 30 Hospitality Professionals, Global Gurus
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