What is the Difference Between a Server and a Host in a Restaurant?

Both hosts and servers are important in a restaurant business because they are the ones who face and attend to the customers. However, a host and a server have different responsibilities in a restaurant. To know more about the differences between a server and a host in a restaurant, we will discuss with you their specific roles.

The Role of a Host in a Restaurant

A host or hostess represents the service and overall hospitality of the staff in a restaurant. When customers arrive in a restaurant, it is the host’s or the hostess’ job to greet them, take their information for a reservation, and help them find their seats. The host can also indicate the restaurant’s specialties and answer any basic questions.

It is the job of the host to keep the guests comfortable and keep them informed about the status of their orders. During busy hours in a restaurant, it is the host’s duty to explain to impatient customers that they are doing their best to accommodate them.

Keeping an eye on what’s going on in the kitchen, in each of the servers’ stations, and the bar, is also another role of a host. It is their duty to check the restaurant whether it’s clean and up to the mark or not. Also, if the customers have concerns, or if anything wrong happens, the host will have to deal with it.

The host or hostess always need to look and act calm, friendly, and polished, and should not be bossy, loud, and vulgar. The hosts also dress a bit different from the servers so that people will be able to recognize them easily if they need any service. Their level of formality also depends on the kind of restaurant their working in. For instance, in a fine dining restaurant, the host or hostess may be required to dress formally and display remarkable manners to be able to keep with the restaurants environment or theme.


The Role of a Server in a Restaurant

Restaurant server is the gender-neutral term for a waiter or waitress. Their primary duty is to provide good customer service by taking orders, serving foods, answering questions about the menu, setting and cleaning the tables, and processing payments. Servers are the ones who takes care of the guests from the moment they sit on their tables till the end when they leave.

In some upscale restaurants, servers also offer suggestions and recommendations like wine pairings. They have a more formal and attentive service and they help customers in personalizing their meals.

There are also some restaurants that have revolving menus. In this kind, the servers may need to meet with the kitchen staff as well as the managers daily to discuss what foods they have to offer for the day. It is also the server’s duty to up-sell additional products when appropriate. After taking orders from the customers, it’s also the server’s responsibility to communicate the order details to the kitchen staff.

Basically, the role of the server in a restaurant is to greet the customers, take orders, bring food and drinks, and provide a friendly and quality dining experience.


When it comes to earnings, the salary of hostesses and waitresses are quite similar, however, the structure on how they receive it may vary. Most hosts or hostesses receive their salary in the form of an hourly wage while servers receive a small hourly wage plus tips from customers. Servers in fine dining restaurants may earn higher compared to hosts. Hosts on the other hand, can make higher hourly wage in fancier establishments, but they have to bear a greater service burden.


Being a host and a server are both challenging because they come with high stress especially during peak seasons. Hosts should be able to quickly assign tables to guests and optimize seating space while dealing with some impatient guests. Waitresses on the other hand, should always be active and on the go.

Both jobs should always maintain a positive attitude even when under pressure or tough times, especially when dealing with rude and unfriendly guests. And both jobs require hard work to be able to earn and make a decent living.

A host and a server have different set of responsibilities but both jobs require you to have a good customer service skill. So whether you want to be a server or a host in a restaurant, the most important thing to keep in mind is to always have a positive attitude.

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