Key Front-of-House Job Positions in a Successful Restaurant

5 mins read

Running a restaurant involves more than just serving delicious food; it requires a well-coordinated team of front-of-house (FOH) staff to ensure exceptional guest experiences. Each FOH position plays a crucial role in creating a seamless dining experience. Let’s take a closer look at these vital roles and what they entail.

General Manager: The Captain of the Ship

At the helm of the restaurant’s operations is the General Manager (GM). The GM acts as the voice of the owner and oversees the daily running of the establishment. He makes crucial administrative decisions and ensures that the restaurant runs smoothly. Their tasks include:

  • Delegating roles and tasks among staff
  • Creating schedules for staff members
  • Hiring and training staff
  • Establishing customer service protocols
  • Making administrative decisions
  • Setting up business technology
  • Creating a good restaurant flow
  • Overseeing front of house guest services
  • Ensuring exceptional guest experiences
  • Reporting progress and issues back to the restaurant owner

To excel in this role, a GM typically needs a Bachelor’s Degree in hospitality, business, or management, along with 5-10 years of industry experience. Exceptional customer service and interpersonal skills are also essential.

Shift Supervisor: The GM’s Right Hand

Since a restaurant often operates for long hours, the GM cannot always be present. This is where the Shift Supervisor steps in. They take on many managerial duties in the GM’s absence. Responsibilities include:

  • Supervising front of house employees and operations
  • Ensuring that staff complete required tasks
  • Mediating staff disputes and conflicts affecting service
  • Handling guest complaints
  • Training front of house staff and providing feedback
  • Reporting back to the general manager

A Shift Supervisor needs at least a high school diploma or equivalent, with experience in the industry and leadership roles. They must possess strong interpersonal and customer service skills and be comfortable stepping into various roles during peak hours.

Waiter/Server: The Face of the Restaurant

Servers are arguably the most visible members of the FOH team. They are responsible for ensuring guests have a pleasant dining experience. Each server typically manages a specific station to maintain efficiency. Their duties include:

  • Taking guests’ food and drink orders
  • Ensuring that water glasses are always filled
  • Providing guests with insights on the menu or daily specials
  • Setting up and closing down the dining room
  • Acting as a liaison between guests and the kitchen
  • Billing guests and taking restaurant payments

Servers need to be friendly, accommodating, and possess excellent customer service skills. Most restaurants prefer hiring servers with prior industry experience, often promoting from entry-level positions like hosts or food runners.

Bartender: The Drink Maestro

The bartenders as expected they mix and serve drinks but they also manage bar inventory and maintain the bar area. Their tasks include:

  • Setting up the bar at the beginning of their shift
  • Taking inventory and restocking wine, beer, and spirits
  • Serving guests seated at the bar
  • Making drinks for servers to bring to tables
  • Ensuring the bar is kept clean and tidy
  • Billing and taking payments at the bar
  • Shutting down the bar at the end of the night

Bartenders should have a good knowledge of wine, beer, and cocktails and need to serve alcohol responsibly, recognizing signs of intoxication. Excellent communication and problem-solving skills are also vital.

Host: The First Impression

Often the first point of contact for guests is the host. They are responsible for setting the tone for the dining experience. Responsibilities include:

  • Taking guest reservations
  • Organizing seating charts
  • Accommodating guests as they wait to be seated
  • Seating guests as tables become available
  • Communicating any food allergies or restrictions to servers
  • Notifying servers of special occasions

Hosts should be high-energy, possess great people and communication skills, and be organized with a keen attention to detail. This entry-level position is ideal for those new to the industry.

Busser/Food Runner: The Unsung Heroes

Bussers and food runners support servers by performing essential tasks like clearing tables and running food. Their duties include:

  • Running food to tables
  • Refilling water glasses
  • Clearing glassware and tableware throughout the meal
  • Wiping down and resetting tables between seatings
  • Ensuring server stations are clean, organized, and well-stocked

This entry-level role requires good attention to detail, the ability to move quickly, and strong communication and multitasking skills.

Barback: The Bartender’s Ally

Barbacks assist bartenders and waitstaff, helping with bar maintenance and stock management. Their responsibilities include:

  • Collecting glassware and running it through the dishwasher
  • Clearing and wiping down the bar
  • Restocking beer, wine, and spirits during peak service hours
  • Changing beer kegs
  • Refilling ice bins

This junior role is perfect for those aspiring to become bartenders. Barbacks need to work well in fast-paced environments, be proactive, and physically capable of lifting heavy items like beer cases and kegs.

In conclusion, each front-of-house position is important for a  smooth operation of a restaurant. From the GM to the barback, every role contributes to creating an exceptional dining experience for guests. Whether you’re looking to break into the industry or aiming to climb the career ladder, GP-Connect can help you find the right hospitality job for you!

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