The Ultimate Guide to Front of House (FOH) In a Restaurant

A quick guide on everything about front-of-house, function, the different FOH positions, and tips on managing and optimizing FOH operations.

The Front of House (FOH) is an integral part of the restaurant business. It is the first impression customers have when they walk through the door. From hosting and seating guests to taking orders and providing exceptional customer service, the FOH plays a crucial role in creating a positive dining experience. In this ultimate guide, we will explore all aspects of the FOH and its importance in the restaurant industry.

What is a Front-of-house?

The Front of House in a restaurant refers to the area that is visible and accessible to customers. It includes the entrance, host stand, dining area, bar, and any other space where customers interact with restaurant staff. The FOH team consists of hosts, servers, bartenders, and other customer-facing staff members. They are responsible for ensuring that guests feel welcome, comfortable, and have a memorable dining experience.

In this guide, we will delve into the key concepts of the FOH and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its significance in running a successful restaurant.

1. The Role of the FOH:

The FOH team is the face of the restaurant. They greet and welcome guests, manage reservations, assist with seating arrangements, and handle customer inquiries. They maintain a professional yet friendly demeanor to ensure guests feel valued and are provided with the best possible service.

Importance: The FOH team sets the tone for the dining experience. A positive and efficient front of house enhances customer satisfaction, encourages repeat business, and helps build a strong reputation for the restaurant.

2. Different Positions in the FOH:

a. Host/Hostess: The hosts are responsible for greeting and seating guests, managing reservations, and handling phone calls.

b. Servers: Servers take orders, deliver food and beverages, address customer needs, and ensure a smooth dining experience.

c. Bartenders: Bartenders prepare and serve drinks, interact with customers at the bar, and provide recommendations.

d. Expediters: Expediters coordinate between the FOH and the kitchen, ensuring that food is prepared and delivered in a timely manner.

e. Floor Managers: Floor managers oversee the FOH team, handle customer complaints, and ensure the smooth operation of the restaurant.

Importance: Each position in the FOH plays a crucial role in delivering exceptional service to guests. Clear roles and responsibilities ensure a well-organized and efficient workflow.

3. Customer Service Skills:

The FOH staff must possess excellent customer service skills to provide an exceptional dining experience to guests. Skills such as effective communication, active listening, problem-solving, and empathy are vital in creating a positive atmosphere.

Importance: Superior customer service skills not only enhance guest satisfaction but also lead to increased customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

4. Training and Development:

Restaurant owners and managers invest in training and developing the FOH staff to ensure they are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to excel in their roles. Training includes learning about the menu, service standards, POS software, handling difficult customers, and upselling techniques.

Importance: Proper training boosts employee confidence, improves performance, and ensures consistent delivery of service.

5. Handling Difficult Situations:

Dealing with difficult customers or challenging situations is an inevitable part of working in the FOH. It is vital for the staff to remain calm, empathetic, and find effective solutions to maintain a positive customer experience.

Importance: Skillful management of difficult situations can turn unhappy customers into satisfied ones, leading to a better reputation and increased customer loyalty.

The Front of House is the face of a restaurant, responsible for ensuring that guests have a memorable dining experience. From greeting and seating to providing exceptional customer service, the FOH team plays a vital role in shaping the overall impression of a restaurant. By investing in training, nurturing excellent customer service skills, and handling difficult situations with grace, a restaurant can create a welcoming and professional atmosphere for its guests.

Next Steps:

1. Enhance your FOH staff’s customer service skills with professional training programs or workshops.

2. Implement a feedback system to continuously improve your FOH operations.

3. Invest in technology, such as POS systems (point of sale), to streamline FOH processes and enhance efficiency.

4. Personalize the dining experience by training your FOH staff to remember guests’ preferences and make them feel special.

5. Offer downloadable resources, such as an FOH training manual or a customer service guide, on your website to help aspiring restaurateurs or FOH staff improve their skills.

By following these next steps, you can take your restaurant’s FOH to the next level and create an exceptional dining experience for your guests.

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