Maître D’s greet patrons and escort them to their tables, they also supervise and coordinate all the activities in a restaurant, including what food and beverage servers do. They are usually employed in restaurants, but they can also be found in hotel dining rooms, private clubs, cocktail lounges and similar establishments.
Also known as head waiters, Maître D’s make reservations in advance and oversee all aspects of the dining room experience in order to make sure all waiters are doing their jobs effectively.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Maître D’s are required to complete.
- Being the first and last contact of the guest and/or patron in the restaurant, dining room or lounge:
- Receiving and coordinating guests' reservations in order to assign the corresponding tables;
- welcoming and greeting patrons at the entrance of the dining room, restaurant, or lounge according to company standards, and escorting them to their assigned tables or other seating areas while their table is ready;
- maintaining a warm and inviting environment for the guests' enjoyment at all times, ensuring the best guest and/or patron experience, so that they always come back for the first class service; and
- thanking and greeting guests with genuine appreciation before they leave.
- Communicating with the guest and/or patron:
- Getting feedback from guests and/or patrons in order to ensure satisfaction with both food and service;
- attending to complaints in order to provide a better service, always aiming to be the best;
- anticipating and addressing guest service needs; and
- ensuring all information provided to the guest or patron is current and accurate.
- Speaking with guests, patrons or staff using clear, professional, and respectful language at all times.
- Being the liaison between the kitchen and the food and beverage servers in order to ensure that a common vision is shared.
- Overseeing all the activities in the dining room/restaurant/lounge:
- Inspecting dining and serving areas, as well as all the equipment in use and storage areas for organization and cleanliness;
- ordering necessary dining room supplies and equipment for it to run smoothly;
- ensuring the highest quality of standards are met for service, cleanliness, and profitability;
- implementing new menus and promotions;
- completing opening and closing duties (opening the doors, waiting for staff members, turn on the lights and the A/C, turn on/off the alarm, among others); and
- requesting work orders for maintenance repairs.
- Supervising restaurant staff:
- Managing and coordinating the duties of food and beverage servers and other serving staff;
- preparing work schedules;
- interviewing candidates for food and beverage server positions, as well as training new employees;
- promoting teamwork to ensure optimum service and that guest’s needs are met; and
- inspecting grooming and attire of staff, and rectify deficiencies if there are any.
- Managing administrative operations:
- Accepting payment from guests and/or patrons for food and beverage;
- keeping track of financial statements and records to ensure safe-keeping;
- preparing payrolls; and
- using FIFO (First In, First Out) for inventory purposes and point of sales systems.
- Developing a business network of vendors.
- Following all company safety and security policies and procedures at all times:
- Reporting accidents, injuries, and unsafe work conditions to the manager;
- completing safety training and certifications of staff; and
- following all safety and sanitation policies when handling food and beverages.
- Acting as a liaison between the kitchen and the dining room.
- Supervising and managing restaurant staff.
- Making reservations in advance.
- Greeting and escorting guests and patrons as they arrive and also when they leave.
- Catering to the guest and patron’s needs.
- Building a network of vendors.
- Taking care of inventory, as well as inspecting both the dining area and the equipment in use.
The average salary for Maître D’ related jobs is $42,784 per year or $22 per hour. This is around 1.3 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $30,000 while most experienced workers make up to $60,000. These results are based on 73 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to create a clear and communicative environment between guests/patrons and servers;
- displaying strong customer service skills, as well as leadership; and
- being able to deal with a diverse group of people in potentially adversarial situations using a calm, polite, tactful, discreet and effective approach.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills; being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- being highly responsible and reliable; and
- being organized, detail oriented and structured.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Being driven to achieve goals, as well as motivating the staff to achieve team goals;
- identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- being able to analyze guests/patrons in order to make the proper recommendations.
- Ability to work cohesively as part of a team and possess good judgment.
- Self-motivated, decisive, responsible and driven to provide the best service.
Aside from the skills listed above, Maître D’s also need to focus all of their attention on the guest and/or patron in order to provide the best service possible. College education is not usually required for the Maître D’ position, but a degree related to the Food and Beverage field and/or Hospitality is always preferred, as well as a secondary language aside from English.
Maître D’s are also required to have a minimum of 2 to 3 years of experience in the Food and Beverages field, as well as experience in a fine dining restaurant. Furthermore, extensive knowledge in wine and food is a must. They also must be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends and holidays, as well as to stand and walk for an eight-hour long shift.
Something most positions in the Hospitality field have in common is that you don’t necessarily need a college degree to get promoted. You can easily work your way up the career ladder from an entry-level customer service role. Accordingly, you can first start as a server in a hotel restaurant and work yourself up to the Maître D’ position.
The Maître D' position is not only common in the Hospitality field, but also in the Restaurant industry where they basically have the same responsibilities and tasks mentioned in this entry.