Most American restaurants haven't seen a maître d' for longer than that bottle of Galliano has been collecting dust in their bar. However, unlike the liquor, there is an essential place in many restaurants for this retired restaurant relic.
Yes, restaurants can hire young, attractive people, teach them table numbers and, more often than not, they can successfully walk guests to their table. Moreover, when they quit or get fired for repeatedly triple seating a station, management can hire their replacement.
However, I would argue, there is a gaping hole in restaurant hospitality that a host or floor manager hasn't entirely filled since the maître d' departure. Here is why we think more restaurants should consider their return.
First and foremost, a maître d' is that ever-present, friendly, familiar face that knows everything about your guests and the front of the house. They are there make new guests feel like regulars and regulars feel like family (the good kind that is). While great food is critical to a restaurants success, making guests feel welcomed and valued is, perhaps, even more essential. A good maître d' can do this effortlessly and make it seem uniquely special every time. Even better, they don't need an app or Apple device to know guests names, favorite tables, allergies concerns, or even indiscretions that must be avoided. It's in their DNA.
Since sometimes it is better to give than receive, no one knows how to show gratitude better than the maître d'. Who doesn't appreciate receiving a comp round of drinks or their dessert? A maître d' not only remembers guests, but he also knows their favorites like the names of their kids. So, when it's needed most, they know the thing to make guests feel extra special with a well-timed surprise.
A good maître d' is also highly skilled in controlling the flow and seating of the restaurant. Unlike a floor manager whose responsibilities can take them off the floor, the maître d' is a front of the house fixture. Because of this, they are ever present to know when to adjust the pace and handle any situation. Also, because they feel the flow of the restaurant like the blood running through their veins, it's often before anyone else even knows there is an issue.
Lastly, with good servers harder and harder to find as well as retain, the familiar face of a restaurant maitre'd is more crucial than ever. That is why Waiter Wallet thinks the good old maître d' should once again be as much of a fixture as that old bottle of Galliano. The only question is, how to pay for the maître d' (which is likely why they disappeared in the first place).
Waiter Wallet has that solved too. Provide the Waiter Wallet to all your servers and use our free templates, so they know and sell more every shift! If only the Waiter Wallet were around back then, we wouldn't have even had to write this. Sorry; I couldn't resist.