Several positions are required to ensure smooth operation in each restaurant in order for it to be successful in this highly competitive and fast-paced section of the guest service market. Front of house employees are considered the face of the restaurant in which they work as they are the visible representation that the guests remember.
The corresponding back of house positions prepare the restaurant's product.
Front of House
In the restaurant industry, the term "front of house" refers to all customer service areas that involve interacting with, serving and cashing out dining guests from the moment they walk into the door until dining is complete and the guest leaves. Whether an employee serves a guest in the bar or while awaiting a seat or at a table during the meal, experience for this position requires complete and fluid customer service skills, product knowledge, courtesy and multitasking capability to take care of numerous guests during high volume rush windows. In comparison, positions such as chef, assistant chef, prep cook, alley steward or dishwasher are considered back of house because those positions interact mainly with the product as opposed to the guest.
Waitstaff are the focal point of a guest's dining experience as they are responsible for providing table and drink service from beginning to end. Duties include menu description and order gathering/product selling, service of all courses properly and guest accommodation. This position can be found in all levels of dining, from fast food to fast casual to gourmet fine dining. No particular educational degree is necessary to become a waiter/waitress, however, previous experience will dictate the level of service the candidate is qualified for as judged by prospective employers. According to PayScale online salary tracking, the average annual income for a waiter/waitress in 2010 ranges from £9,154 to £18,274, plus guest gratuities.
Dining Room Manager/Supervisor
The dining room manager/supervisor (DRM) is in charge of running the dining room and often the bar area in restaurant-lounge facilities. The DRM ensures the floor is properly staffed, service flow is maintained as well as providing a constant presence on the floor interacting with guests or resolving any guest issues. The DRM will be responsible for all cash in and cash out functions at opening, close and from shift to shift. An associate's degree or higher in hospitality management or restaurant service management is common for most managers in fast casual, casual dining and fine dining restaurant, but not absolutely mandatory. According to PayScale, the average annual income for a dining room manager/supervisor in 2010 ranges from £20,553 to £30,310, plus yearly performance bonuses.
Busboy positions are found primarily in casual and fine dining restaurant venues. Also known in some establishments as server assistants, this employee is responsible for setting tables, starting the guest's table off with waters and complimentaries, such as chips and salsa or fresh baked bread and clearing away dishes guests have finished with. This position usually provides the stepping stone and experience necessary for those who wish to become a server and requires no degree training. According to PayScale, the average annual income for a restaurant busboy in 2010 ranges from £9,681 to £12,826 plus gratuities paid them by the server(s) they assist each shift.
Bartenders work in the bar/lounge area of a restaurant and provide pre-dinner drink and appetizer service to guests waiting for a table or who have come in solely for cocktails or drinks. They also work the back end of the bar providing the waitstaff with alcoholic drinks and beverages that dining room floor guests have ordered to accompany their meals. This position is responsible for cash functions within the bar and its opening prep procedures and closing duties as well as the primary duty of serving waiting guests. No specific education is required but many bartenders attend specialised training courses for better placement opportunities. According to PayScale, the average annual income for a restaurant bartender in 2010 ranges from £11,883 to £23,793 plus guest and waiter/waitress gratuities.
Host/Hostess or Cashier
Holding a host/hostess position entails taking guest reservations, seating arriving guests and cashing out guest who are finished dining. In fast food restaurants, the cashier often provides counter service only while the host/hostess position in table service types of restaurants is more mobile throughout the floor performing job duties. No educational requirements are necessary. According to PayScale, the average annual income for a host/hostess or restaurant cashier ranges from £10,288 to £13,594. In many casual dining and fine dining establishments the waitstaff will tip out the nightly host personnel.