Maître D’s are the first point of contact of the guests and patrons when entering a restaurant or any other dining establishment, as they are the ones welcoming the guests and showing them to their seats. In some cases, Maître D’s may even assist customers before their visit by booking reservations and giving them key information on the restaurant’s menu and ambiance.
Maître D’s can also be referred to as Head Waiters, as they are also in charge of assigning the tasks to all Servers and monitoring their work to ensure it’s carried out effectively. In addition to managing the dining room staff, Maître D’s also supervise all parameters that may affect the guests’ experience, such as the room’s temperature, lighting, and overall appearance of the restaurant or establishment.
When working on a cruise or in a hotel, these professionals supervise the food offered to guests and clients, whether if it’s sent to their rooms or served in a buffet and, whenever required, they may cook, mix, and serve food at guests’ tables.
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 or patron in the restaurant, dining room, or lounge:
- Receiving and coordinating 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 pleasant and welcoming environment for the guests’ enjoyment at all times, ensuring the best dining experience, so that they always come back for the first-class service;
- advising guests on the restaurant’s best meals; and
- thanking and greeting guests with genuine appreciation before they leave.
- Communicating with the guest and/or patron:
- Getting feedback from guests or patrons in order to ensure satisfaction with both food and service;
- assessing customer complaints, inquiries, and recommendations, always striving to provide a better service;
- anticipating and addressing the customers’ needs; and
- ensuring all information provided to the guest or patron is current and accurate.
- Speaking with guests, patrons, or staff using a clear, professional, and respectful language at all times.
- Acting as a bridge between the kitchen and the food and beverage Servers to guarantee 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;
- arranging for the replacement of dining room cutlery and other supplies, as necessary;
- ensuring the highest quality of standards are met for service, cleanliness, and profitability;
- implementing new menus and promotions;
- completing opening and closing duties (e.g. 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:
- Assigning and monitoring tasks;
- coordinating work schedules;
- assisting in the hiring and training of new employees;
- instructing the staff on how to provide high-quality service and ensure that the guests’ needs are met; and
- ensuring the staff is well-groomed and wearing the proper attire.
- Managing administrative operations:
- Handling payments from guests and patrons, as well as managing the cash register;
- 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 current safety and sanitation policies whenever handling food and beverages.
- Being the point of communication between the kitchen and the dining room.
- Supervising and managing restaurant staff.
- Booking reservations.
- Welcoming and assisting guests and patrons, catering to their every need.
- Communicating with clients in a polite manner.
- 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 $33,759 per year or $17 per hour. This is around 1.2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $24,000 while most experienced workers make up to $47,000. These results are based on 8 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;
- speaking a second language as some clients may come from different countries; 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;
- effectively analyzing numerical information, especially when handling payments;
- being highly responsible and reliable; and
- being organized, detail oriented and structured.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- 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:
- Being driven to achieve goals, as well as motivating the staff to achieve team goals.
- 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. A college education is not usually required for the Maître D’ position, but a degree or course 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 setting. 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 the candidate doesn’t necessarily need a college degree to get promoted. An entry-level job will help the applicant develop and master the skills and abilities required to progress in their professional journey. 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 Food Services industry where they basically have the same responsibilities and tasks mentioned in this entry.