Before reading, I must administer this warning: I know I sound unnecessarily angry. But remember, being a hostess is my job. Going to work is already something most people dread, and customers keep making my work life more miserable than it has to be. If you’re going to a restaurant, avoid doing these things for both the benefit of your experience and my work day.
1. Seating yourself
This is my ultimate pet peeve. Why would I be here if this was a seat yourself kind of situation? My job is to seat people, but if you think you can do a better job than me then be my guest. I don’t even want to be working anyway, so congrats, you just played yourself! Chances are if it’s a seat yourself-style restaurant, you’ll see a sign. And you won’t see a hostess.
2. Coming back to the hostess stand to see if your pager is working
At least once a night someone will return to my stand and ask me if I called them for their table. Look, buddy, I know you’re eager and hungry. I can assure you, your pager works. If I call you and you don’t come, I WILL FIND YOU. Your pager works. It’s not your turn. Relax, I haven’t forgotten about you.
3. Coming in at a busy time and being frustrated that you can’t sit right away
It’s 7 pm on a Saturday night. We have live music. You and your family want to sit outside. You think you all are the only people who wanted to come here tonight? This is literally the busiest we get all week and you think you can just waltz in and get a table? Think again, honey. Hint: make a reservation next time.
4. Coming in with a huge group of people and being frustrated that you can’t sit right away
I’m so thrilled for you that your entire extended family wants to have a meal together, but pardon me if it takes a little while to accommodate a party of 10 or more. Chances are we probably have to push some tables together to fit you in and some of those tables could be taken. You and your 13 cousins are just going to have to wait until we get the space to seat you, thanks. Hint x2: MAKE A RESERVATION.
5. Asking us to rearrange table formation for your party
If we haven’t automatically moved tables together for you, there’s probably a reason. You suggesting to put tables in different places is probably something I’ve already thought of. We have tables arranged the way they are for a reason, and sometimes we really can’t adjust things.
6. Getting mad at us when we give you a wait estimate
I literally have no control over how long you wait for your table. It is entirely up to your fellow customers and how long they eat. On nights when we have live music, people might sit there for hours. If I guess that it’s gonna be 45 minutes for a table, don’t hound me to speed up time. Go yell at the people who finished eating 20 minutes ago and are just sitting around shooting the shit.
7. Asking “well, why can’t we just sit there?” when you see an open table
If there’s a table for you to sit at, you’ll be sitting there. Maybe someone reserved that table. Maybe we’re cleaning it off for another party. Or maybe I just have my reasons, and you can’t sit there. And I sure as hell don’t need to explain myself to you. Trust me, I will seat you when I can. Get out of my face.
8. Asking to move seats once you’re already seated
You asked for a table for three. I took you to the table for three that I wanted you to sit at. I probably had a reason for putting you there. If I wanted to give you a choice, I would have asked “where do you want to sit?” I sat you somewhere. Sit there. I don’t want to follow you around the restaurant with menus while you make up your damn mind.
9. Having a seating preference
I know this seems like a dumb thing to get angry about, but most restaurants have sections for their servers, so a lot of times when you decide where you sit you’re messing up the rotation and therefore unevenly distributing earnings for that night. Unless it’s inside versus outside, it’s all pretty much the same. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be.
10. Trying to order right when I seat you
Am I carrying a note pad? Did I ask what you wanted to drink? Was I very clearly at the hostess stand and not taking orders when you showed up? I AM NOT A WAITRESS. Please stop trying to order from me.
11. Complaining to me about how long your food took
I’m really sorry that you weren’t satisfied with the speed of your food preparation, but I quite literally have nothing to do with that. Other than seating people, have you seen me leave my hostess stand? Did I take your order? Did I make your food? Did I bring you your food? I have nothing to do with your food, I don’t even go into the kitchen most nights.
12. Treating me like I’m inferior to you
I remember how great it felt the first time my brother, a waiter, served me. I felt instantaneously better than him, until I got a job in the restaurant business. I’m a person just like you. I may be working, but that doesn’t mean you can treat me disrespectfully from the get-go. Don’t forget, I’m the gateway to your dining experience. Best not get on my bad side, huh.
13. Sitting at your table long after you’ve paid your bill
Trust me, your server hates this too. I know you’re having a great conversation or enjoying the live music, but your table could be given to someone who’s gonna sit here and actually spend money. You’re just wasting space and wasting my time. I need your table to do my job and your server needs your table to make a living. Leave!
Working as a hostess can clearly be extremely frustrating. In order to ensure a positive dining experience, try not to do any of these things. If you make your hostess happy, you’re starting your meal off on a positive note and things are likely to continue that way. About 80 percent of the people I encounter while working are absolute joys, so don’t be a part of the minority who pisses me off.