Exploring the Different Roles and Positions in a Restaurant

Restaurants are vibrant and multifaceted establishments that serve as hubs for culinary experiences, social interactions, and employment opportunities. Behind the scenes of every successful restaurant, there exists a complex web of roles and positions that work in harmony to provide customers with an enjoyable dining experience. In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the various roles and positions that make up the backbone of a restaurant, from the front of house to the back of house.

Front of House (FOH)

1. Host or Hostess

The host or hostess is the first point of contact for customers. restaurant management jobs nyc They greet and seat guests, manage reservations, and ensure a smooth transition from the waiting area to the dining tables. They also handle inquiries and provide menus.

2. Server or Waitstaff

Servers are the face of the restaurant to diners. They take orders, deliver food and beverages, offer recommendations, and cater to guests’ needs. Servers must have excellent communication skills, product knowledge, and the ability to multitask efficiently.

3. Bartender

Bartenders are responsible for mixing and serving drinks. They must have extensive knowledge of cocktails, beers, wines, and spirits. In addition to making drinks, bartenders often engage with customers, creating a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere at the bar.

4. Sommelier

A sommelier is a wine expert responsible for curating the wine list, helping customers select wines that pair well with their meals, and maintaining the wine cellar. They possess in-depth knowledge of wine regions, varietals, and vintages.

5. Busser

Bussers ensure that tables are clean and ready for the next group of diners. They also help servers by refilling water glasses, clearing plates, and resetting tables promptly.

6. Expeditor

The expeditor, often called the “expo,” acts as the liaison between the kitchen and the front of house. They ensure that orders are prepared correctly, plated beautifully, and delivered to the right table at the right time.

7. Maître d’ or Restaurant Manager

The maître d’ or restaurant manager oversees the entire front of house operations. They manage staff, handle customer complaints, and ensure the restaurant’s overall success. Leadership and problem-solving skills are essential in this role.

Back of House (BOH)

8. Chef

The chef is the creative force in the kitchen. They plan menus, create recipes, and oversee food preparation. Depending on the restaurant’s size and type, there may be various chef positions, such as executive chef, sous chef, and pastry chef.

9. Line Cook

Line cooks are responsible for preparing specific dishes on the menu. They work on different stations in the kitchen, such as the grill, sauté, or pastry, and must work efficiently to ensure orders are prepared and presented consistently.

10. Dishwasher

Dishwashers play a critical role in maintaining the cleanliness of the kitchen. They wash dishes, utensils, and kitchen equipment, ensuring that the kitchen staff always has the necessary tools to work with.

11. Prep Cook

Prep cooks prepare ingredients by chopping, slicing, and measuring before they are used in recipes. They assist the chefs by ensuring that everything is readily available during busy service hours.

12. Kitchen Manager

The kitchen manager oversees BOH operations. They are responsible for inventory management, staff scheduling, and ensuring that food safety and sanitation standards are upheld.

13. Pastry Chef

In restaurants with a dessert menu, the pastry chef specializes in creating pastries, desserts, and baked goods. They bring a sweet conclusion to the dining experience.

14. Sous Chef

The sous chef is the second-in-command in the kitchen and assists the head chef in various tasks, including managing the kitchen staff, overseeing food preparation, and ensuring quality control.

15. Food Expeditor

Similar to the expeditor in the FOH, the food expeditor in the BOH ensures that each dish meets quality standards, is properly plated, and is sent to the right table.

Support Staff

16. Host/Hostess Assistants

These individuals assist hosts and hostesses with seating guests and managing the waiting area during peak times.

17. Food Runners

Food runners assist servers by delivering dishes from the kitchen to the tables, ensuring that hot food remains hot and cold food stays cold.

18. Barbacks

Barbacks assist bartenders by restocking the bar, preparing garnishes, and cleaning glassware. They help maintain a well-organized and efficient bar.

19. Cleaning Staff

Cleaning staff ensure that the restaurant remains clean and hygienic. They clean dining areas, restrooms, and kitchen spaces after service hours.


A restaurant is a finely-tuned machine where each role and position is crucial to its success. Whether you’re dining out for a special occasion or simply grabbing a quick bite, understanding the diverse roles within a restaurant can enhance your appreciation for the teamwork and dedication that go into creating an enjoyable dining experience. From the front of house staff who welcome you with a smile to the talented chefs working behind the scenes, each role contributes to the overall ambiance and satisfaction of your restaurant visit.