Although the position is not quite as common in fine dining restaurants as it once was, many such establishments still utilize the services of a maitre d'. The term is a shortened version of the French phrase “maitre d'hotel”, which literally means “master of the house”. The maitre d' may directly report to a front of house manager, or this job title may simply be the one the restaurant uses interchangeably for that position.
One of the main roles of the maitre d' is taking guest reservations. In this capacity, a strong knowledge of the establishment's reservation systems and capabilities is a must. The maitre d' is usually the first person most guests meet when they arrive at the restaurant. In this capacity, he or she helps to form the first impression the patrons will have of their dining experience. He or she greets these arriving guests warmly, checks off their reservation, and sees to it that a host or hostess takes them to a table in a warm but efficient manner.
For a maitre d', practical experience is often as valued as formal education. While many persons interested in this position may have associate's or bachelor's degrees in hospitality or related disciplines, it is quite common for many persons holding this job to simply have been outstanding front of house workers promoted into a management or supervisory role. Most maitre d's work evenings and weekends, typically 40 hours or more per week. The job can be hectic, and anyone in the position should expect to be on his or her feet throughout the workday in a fine dining restaurant environment.
Maitre d' Tasks
Handle customer complaints and requests.
Provide table service.
Ensure effective operations in compliance with federal and local regulations.
Supervise staffing and assist with scheduling.
Supervise guest seating and reservation arrangements.