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Restaurants are complex organisations with many different moving parts. Therefore, it is common practice within the industry to split working roles into two different groups: front of house and back of house.

Whether you’re a restaurant manager or a new member of the waiting staff, it’s important to have a strong grasp of what goes into working in the front of house in a restaurant.

What is the front of house of a restaurant?

The front of house in a restaurant refers to the area where customers enter, order, dine, and leave. It encompasses anywhere diners sit, as well as the bar, toilets and anywhere else they may go.

The front of house is absolutely critical to your restaurant’s operations. Without customers, there would be no business to speak of. The front of house manages the customer experience and ensures they have a great time in your venue.

Meanwhile, the back of house is the behind-the-scenes engine of a restaurant, such as the kitchen, staff room, and offices. If in doubt, anywhere you would expect to see a customer is the front of house, and anywhere you wouldn’t is the back of house.

If the front of house does its job correctly, customers will be eager to return to your restaurant and spread the good word. This is crucial for any successful restaurant.

Front of house responsibilities

Front of house responsibilities can be broad and vary based on the venue. Here are some of the most important roles front of house staff are responsible for.

Manage bookings and walk-ins

The first step a customer will take when interacting with your business is to either make a booking, or walk in the front door. The front of house is responsible for taking and maintaining reservations, and for servicing walk-in diners.

Front of house staff often utilise software to simplify booking and reservations. ResDiary offers advanced functionality allowing your business to easily manage your bookings, deter no-shows, and extract reservation data that can be applied to other facets of your business.

Greet guests

As soon as a prospective diner enters your restaurant, they should be greeted by a front of house staff member as soon as possible. It is therefore critical that staff members present diners with a friendly smile and are immediately prepared to service customer needs.

It might be a cliché, but it’s true: There’s no second chance to make a first impression. Front of house staff must ensure a customer’s first impression of a restaurant is a great one.

Provide customer service

Of course, customer service goes way beyond an initial greeting. Front of house staff must always maintain a warm, friendly, and helpful demeanour with customers. Any questions or concerns customers may have must be attended to.

At times, front of house staff will be called upon to handle customer complaints. Staff must be prepared to carefully listen to what customers have to say, extend apologies where necessary, and do everything possible to attend to the complaints.

Serve food and beverage

Diners go to restaurants for a social experience, but it’s important to remember the fundamental service of any restaurant: serving food and drinks. Front of house staff must accurately record food and beverage requests and communicate them to the back of house.

They must also be aware of customer allergies or dietary restrictions. Front of house staff must recognise any issues with foods or drinks as they come out of the kitchen or the bar and resolve them before they get to the customer.

Both areas must work together to promptly serve high-quality food and drinks to the customers. If customers are unsatisfied with their meal, they will inform the front of house staff, who must work to resolve any concerns.

Ensure cleanliness

One of the most fundamental features of any good restaurant is cleanliness. From tables to the ground, front of house staff must ensure any customer-facing areas are clean and appealing. This is important not only for hygienic reasons, but to maintain a high-quality, professional image for the restaurant.

Handle payments

Once your diners have finished up their incredible dining experience, it’s time to ensure your venue is properly remunerated.

The payment process doesn’t always run as smoothly as you might hope. Issues with POS systems can arise, and something as simple as a customer forgetting their wallet can lead to situations that can be difficult to handle. A well-trained front of house team is essential for ensuring any technical problems can be resolved and the customer’s needs are handled with care in this situation.

Visit ResDiary to read more about front of house duties and the different roles.

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