When it comes to staffing your front of house (FOH), it’s essential to choosing employees who are personable. The FOH folks are the ones who will be in frequent contact with your patrons. There are several positions in the FOH, and One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment is here to help you ensure you’ve got a dynamic staff that will keep the patrons happy and comfortable. Here’s a rundown of the position you’ll commonly find in the FOH…
• HOST: These individuals are also referred to as hostsesses, greeters, seaters, reservation desk jockeys, etc. These people have a few basic functions: to greet patrons as they come in, answer the phones, take reservations, show patrons to their tables, and create an overall first impression. They’re also the last people patrons see on their way out, so it’s also their duty to send them off with a great last impression.
Hosts should be friendly, organized, and presentable. Although it’s a basic position, it’s also on of the most difficult to fill. The applicant may be the nicest person in the world, but if they can’t handle multi-tasking during busy times then they’re not going to make it. They don’t necessarily have to be wicked attractive, but they do have to capture the mood of your location and be able to communicate well. Hip joints need a hip host.
• CASHIER: The perfect cashier is one who is organized, trustworthy, and friendly. Sometimes the cashier is also the one who’s in charge of tipping out the wait staff. If this is true in your restaurant, make sure the person is strong-willed and won’t falter under the pressures of the wait staff. This all goes back to finding a trustworthy, honest cashier.
• COAT CHECK: If you’ve got a coat check station at your restaurant, you need a very well-organized person to manage it. The coat check person needs to be methodical about the way they track coats, hats, umbrellas, etc. You need to collaborate with this person to develop a good check system. Look to other restaurants that have developed a successful check system for ideas.
• WAIT STAFF: A good way to think about the wait staff is as salespeople. They talk directly to your patrons so they should be knowledgeable about the food products you offer. They must be friendly and able to relate to a wide variety of people. A successful waiter can make judgement calls for the patrons struggling to choose their order.
When to chat up people and when to leave them alone is an essential instinct for the wait staff. It’s not cool for a waiter to break up a conversation or talk to someone with a mouthful of food. Sometimes this is done unintentionally, of course. Make sure waiters leave their personal problems at the door. Customers shouldn’t have to hear about them.
• FOOD RUNNER: If you’re a super high volume joint, you should consider hiring a food runner. These folks help get the food to the correct tables quickly, so food isn’t sitting under heat lamps for several minutes. Runners are commonly assigned to specific regions of the restaurant, so they’re not stepping on each others’ toes. Runners need to be knowledgeable about products offered, the layout of the dining room, as well as specials, drinks, etc.
• BUSSERS: A busser is responsible for promptly clearing dirty dishes off of a table after the patrons leave. They also wipe down and sanitize the table, check for any left behind items, and set the table. Bussers make the service flow smooth through their quick and organized methods of table domination. While they’re usually not required to have an extensive knowledge of food, they should still be personable, presentable, and courteous.
• BARTENDERS & BARBACKS: Bartenders need to have a strong knowledge of beer, liquors, and cocktails. Depending on your restaurant’s concept, you may need a bartender who specializes in Mexican drinks, Italian drinks, etc. They should be friendly, presentable, and highly organized and meticulous.
Barbacks are used during busy shifts to ensure the bartender has everything they need function smoothly. Duties include restocking beer and liquor, restocking ice, cleaning glasses, and keeping the bar area clean.
• COCKTAIL SERVERS: These folks serve the tables around the bar area, delivering drinks, stirrers, and napkins. They need to know the specifics of your bar’s selection. They can also help backup the wait staff and serve as food runners during busy shifts.
Having a dynamic, skillful front of house crew will help keep your restaurant running smoothly through even the busiest of periods. One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment wishes you the best!
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