The Five People You Meet at the Host Stand
I’ve hosted on and off at several restaurants for the past three years. Whether I was working at an upscale small plates place or a casual BBQ joint, greeting and seating billionaires or bumpkins, the clientele could all be divided into five categories at the host stand:
1. Peace Signers
These people don’t acknowledge you with a verbal greeting, let alone a smile. They’ll walk up tight-lipped, holding up two fingers like somehow hostesses the world over know that means “Good afternoon. There will be two of us for dinner.” They won’t talk the entire meal unless it’s to give their order. Or if they’re businessmen, their conversation is so important they can’t break to ask for a table. Usually these are the same guys who don’t put down their sandwich the entire meal. They’ll just hold it in one hand while they shovel fries into their mouth with the other.
2. No Reservation, We’ll Wait for a Booth
Usually a first date where the guy is trying to impress the girl. Rather than call ahead and make a reservation, he’ll casually stroll in with her and tell you they’re going to have drinks at the bar, but they’ll want to sit in the main dining room — eventually. An hour and two fruity martinis later, you’ll walk them to their table. They will sit, fidget with the place settings, frown, and ask for a booth, even though there are no booths available and the restaurant is at full capacity. So you get the joy of starting the whole process over again with them and re-setting the silver and linens they messed up.
3. Peak-Hour Inquisitors
It’s 8 p.m. and they just want to take a look at your menu. Find out what vegetarian or gluten-free options you have. Ooh, and can they sub this for that? What’s this ethnic word mean? Do you know that because you are from that ethnic place? On second thought, they’re going to try someplace else.
4. Saturday Night Large Party Stragglers
Generally a birthday party/bachelor/bachelorette party that will be arriving in a party bus. You know this because they’ll tell you when you’re taking their reservation. These people roll hard. So hard they lose track of time and forget they have a reservation. Don’t worry; they’ll eventually show up. Maybe only two at a time, and maybe never the full 24-top, but they’ll trickle in. You’ll know who they are because they’ll come in on their cell phones, wander around the dining room, then come back to the host stand to ask where so-and-so is.
Look, ladies, no one is a bigger feminist than I. I even went to an all-girls college, for crying out loud. But when you come in as a group, the majority of you are rude. You walk by the host stand without so much as a smile; you bitch about sitting by the window, you complain about being too close to the kitchen. You want your sauce on the side and your drinks skinny. You talk while servers are explaining specials, and you seat yourselves in such a way it’s impossible for anyone to get around you. And the biggest shame, you’re notoriously bad tippers. I’m sure you’re a delight at home and at work. Please be that way in a restaurant.
That last line goes for all of you.
Originally posted here.