When you visit a restaurant, and it’s more than a diner or hole in the wall, the odds are, there is a host stand with hosts and hostesses who manage seating people. This host stand ensures prompt seating in appropriate sections of the restaurant. If you didn’t know, now you know. Sure, some people dislike host stands. But, I assure you, the process ensures you’re going to receive the best possible dining experience.
Table distribution is put in place with the guests in mind. If you seat yourself, you might not get prompt or good service. Having an employee from the host stand seat you is important for many reasons. I’ll list some, at random, below:
- There might be a rookie on the floor who can’t handle many tables. Seating yourself in said rookie’s section could lead to poor service.
- You might seat yourself in a section where the server was just sat other tables. This is called putting a server “in the weeds“. Now you have a frazzled server waiting on you.
- If you seat yourself, you may not get noticed by anyone. This could lead to you sitting there for a long time without any servers greeting you.
- There may be other people waiting to be seated. If you simply “cut the line” to avoid a wait, you may be asked to get up. Also, if you knowingly “cut the line”, you’re a jerk.
- The host stand is likely seating in rotation. You’re breaking the rotation. Maybe some poor server was dying for a table, so he or she can have a chance at making some money, and you just sat in someone else’s section.
My biggest gripe, with people who seat themselves, is when I’m busy doing something and people just sit down in my section. I may not realize they are there. What usually happens next is the table that sat themselves is annoyed that it took me so long to greet them. Sorry, but if you just went ahead and skipped the first and very important part of the restaurant dining process, it’s not completely my fault that you were waiting.
I wait on lots of tables who seem like they’ve just left the house for the first time. I’m more than happy to explain dining etiquette to any guest who seems unsure of what’s going on. If you’re ever out somewhere, and you don’t understand “how to do things like everyone else”, just ask. Restaurant lobby etiquette is a great way to ensure a “bump-free” dinner for you and those around you.