Front of house staff ensure a seamless and quality customer experience for guests at venues including restaurants, bars and gastropubs.
They manage bookings, greet guests, escort them to tables and are there to resolve any customer issues or complaints.
Front of house managers and supervisors are also responsible for overseeing teams of staff with tasks including rostering and performance appraisals.
This detailed guide offers everything you need to know about front of house roles, including a job description, information about current salaries and essential qualifications and skills needed.
- Front of house staff job description
- How much do front of house staff earn?
- What does a front of house staff member do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs front of house staff?
- Which junior jobs progress to front of house staff roles?
Front of house staff job description
Front of house manager |Provenance Fine Dining
Provenance Fine Dining was awarded its first Michelin star in 2018 and has continued to delight guests with its unique take on modern British dining. Sourcing the very best in British produce, the restaurant is also famed for its extensive wine list with selections from across Europe and the New World.
About the role
This is an exciting opportunity to join one of London’s hottest restaurants as front of house manager. Your role will be to guarantee that guests enjoy a flawless dining experience, while overseeing a team of eight front of house staff including waiters and sommeliers.
- Supervising a team of eight front of house staff including waiters, commis, head waiters and sommeliers.
- Scheduling work rosters for the front of house team, ensuring the correct level of staffing is achieved on each shift
- Monitoring staff performance and giving feedback where necessary
- Hiring and training new employees so they meet high quality standards
- Greeting all guests warmly on arrival and escorting them to their table
- Managing walk-in, online and telephone reservations
- Responding quickly and sympathetically to any customer concerns
- Adhering to all health and safety requirements, including food hygiene regulations
- Supporting colleagues and staff during busy periods, including taking orders, serving meals and clearing tables
- Liaising with the kitchen staff to ensure an efficient and seamless service
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full-time role based in London’s West End
- Flexible shifts and hours, including evenings and weekends
- Occasional overtime and holiday work
- Experience working in a fine dining restaurant or luxury hotel
- Experience working in the position of front of house manager or restaurant manager
- Extensive knowledge of food and wine
- Availability to work evenings, weekends and holidays
- Experience working at a Michelin-starred restaurant
- Fluent in a second language such as French, Spanish or Japanese
Contact us to apply
To apply for the role, please email Jon Edwards at email@example.com, providing a copy of your CV and a brief explanation about why you are the perfect candidate for the role.
How much do front of house staff earn?
Front of house staff typically have a salary around £23,000 with opportunities to increase that through customer tips.
Front of house staff salaries in the UK
- Low: £19,000
- Average: £23,000
- High: £29,500
Front of house staff salaries can vary based on;
- The style of venue – e.g. is the venue a Michelin-starred restaurant or a local pub?
- Size of the team – e.g. is it a large team where everyone has a clearly defined role or a smaller team where duties and responsibilities are all shared?
- Management responsibilities – does the role include supervising other team members?
- Other bonus structures or benefits – e.g. the position may have a standard base salary with performance-related bonus schemes
For example, venues such as fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels will pay higher salaries for “silver service” front of house staff than more casual pubs and bars.
There is also a greater opportunity to increase base salaries through tips in more upmarket establishments where guests expect immaculate service and attention compared with bartenders who have brief interactions with customers.
What does a front of house staff member do?
To translate the job description into simple language, here is a list of the tasks and responsibilities that front of house staff will deliver in an average working week;
- Greeting customers on arrival – Manning the entrance to the venue and welcoming guests as they arrive, before showing them to their seats
- Delivering exceptional service – Exceeding the expectations of customers throughout their visit, including taking orders, providing recommendations and responding to queries promptly
- Resolving complaints – Handling customer complaints directly or escalating to supervisors when needed
- Managing reservations – Receiving and recording incoming reservations in person, by email and telephone
- Liaising with other teams – Working closely with team members in other areas of the business, to create a seamless experience for the customer, e.g. kitchen staff
Front of house managers and supervisors will also be responsible for:
- Quality assurance – Establishing standards for customer services and ensuring all staff members are achieving those standards
- Team management – Overseeing work rosters and schedules so that all shifts are appropriately staffed
- Hiring and training – Recruiting new staff members and overseeing their performance from initial training to regular reviews
What do front of house staff need?
Depending on the industry and role, front of house staff may need to demonstrate specific experience or knowledge in addition to friendliness, initiative and enthusiasm.
Here is a basic overview of what’s needed.
Waiter or bartender jobs often don’t require specific qualifications and most skills can be learned on the job. Some experience in customer experience will be looked on favourably, for example previous time working in hospitality or retail.
Head bartenders and sommeliers will need to demonstrate thorough knowledge of their chosen area, such as cocktail recipes or wine varieties from around the world. They should be able to share their knowledge with customers and make recommendations where appropriate.
Front of house managers will need to show extensive experience working in hospitality roles where they have been responsible for managing teams and scheduling shifts. They will need to know how to manage customer complaints, be able to liaise with other areas of the business and will report to a restaurant or general manager.
Front of house staff skills
Aside from industry experience such as specific food or beverage knowledge, the following are the softer skills required for front of house staff.
- People skills: Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to make guests feel welcome and well cared for
- Teamwork: The ability to work closely with other team members during a shift, and, if in a management position, to manage a group of staff
- Negotiation: Addressing guest complaints efficiently and effectively to ensure overall customer satisfaction
- Organisation skills: Being able to multi-task and juggle competing priorities throughout a shift
- Food and beverage knowledge: Detailed knowledge of a specific food or beverage function related to the role, for example cocktails or wine
- Restaurant/bar operations knowledge: Understanding of how hospitality venues run on a day-to-day basis including staff rostering, opening and closing routines, and cleaning protocols
- Software knowledge: Knowledge and application of industry software and systems including taking bookings, orders and payments
Front of house staff qualifications
Qualifications are not required for more junior front of house positions, where employers will be more interested in attitude and enthusiasm.
However, senior or specialist front of house roles will need to demonstrate a breadth of experience and some specialist knowledge or qualifications.
Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management
For senior positions such as front of house managers a Bachelor’s degree in hospitality management may be required. These courses provide strategies around managing hospitality facilities, food and beverage management and business topics like revenue management and marketing.
WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) qualification
Sommeliers can undertake WSET qualifications that improve their capabilities in customer service, terminology, sensory evaluation and wine and spirits from around the world.
What is expected of front of house staff?
Typically, front of house staff will be expected to commit to the following;
- Full time hours – (35 – 40 hours per week) comprising shifts during peak service times
- Regular evening or weekend shifts as well as occasional holiday work
- Location – Based onsite at the restaurant or other venue
Front of house staff benefits
Front of house staff receive a number of benefits in addition to their base salaries including things like:
- Training and development
- Discounts and free or subsidised staff meals during shifts
Who employs front of house staff?
Many venues within the hospitality industry will require front of house staff to oversee food and beverage service to customers.
Typical front of house staff employers include companies like:
- Bars and pubs
- Hotels with dining facilities
Which junior jobs progress to front of house staff roles?
There are plenty of opportunities for junior front of house staff to be promoted within the organisations. These include:
Waiters look after the ordering and delivery of food and drinks throughout the dining experience. Over time, waiters can take on extra responsibility during their shifts and become shift supervisors and then front of house managers where they will also take on a staff management role.
Which senior jobs do front of house staff progress to?
Front of house staff can progress to broader roles within the hospitality or service industry once they gain experience in customer service and a greater understanding of how establishments run.
Restaurant managers are usually responsible for the running of the venue, covering both the front of house and kitchen staff. They will ensure the restaurant is always appropriately staffed and both the kitchen and front of house is stocked with appropriate supplies. Restaurant managers also manage the venue’s revenue stream and devise marketing strategies for promoting the venue to new customers.
Front of house staff job description – conclusion
Front of house staff positions provide an excellent pathway into the hospitality and leisure industries.
With ample opportunity to learn and grow within organisations, these roles area ideal for those who have a passion for working with people.