How Do I Become a Maitre D'?

Sheri Cyprus

To become a maitre d', which translates from French to English as "master of the hotel," you will have to be able to adequately manage a dining room complete with staff as well as convince a hiring manager of your abilities. If you don't already have a strong background in dining room management, top experience managing a team in another aspect of the hospitality or retail industries is likely to be required. Depending on the country and restaurant, educational requirements range from high school graduation to a hospitality certificate. Working in smaller restaurants as a host or headwaiter or even a bartender before trying to get in to larger hotels or cruise ships can be a successful strategy to become a maitre d'.

A maitre d'.
A maitre d'.

Build up your food service, serving and supervisory skills as soon as you can through both formal and informal study where possible. Completing relevant restaurant management hospitality courses can further your knowledge as well as show potential employers reading your resume or interviewing you that you're serious and passionate in your goal to become a maitre d'. Leadership courses can also help you get hired, but it's best to relate your job experience to how you were able to motivate a team in accomplishing a company's or hotel's goals.

Being a maitre d' not only requires strong team leadership, but a thorough understanding of a dining room's clientele and menu. Before applying to become a maitre d' at a certain establishment, do your homework by learning and analyzing the menu. This, in addition to a relevant background, can be helpful in convincing the hiring manager that you're the right person for the job. You'll also need to demonstrate personal qualities such as politeness and dependability.

If you hope to become a maitre d', being available to work a wide range of shifts and hours is important. This isn't the type of job in which you're likely to have evenings and weekends off. Depending on the structure of hotels and the food service industry in the part of the world in which you hope to work, you may have to be prepared to become a member of a union. Doing thorough research before you plan on becoming a maitre d' in specific venues or areas is necessary to avoid being held back in your goal due to paperwork delays. Make sure you're prepared to convince hiring managers that you're well rounded in dining room management and can work well within set budgets.

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Discussion Comments


Working as a maître D working in a famous restaurant sounds more appealing than working for the royals.


I have to say, I have heard the job maitre d' and I honestly thought it would be something more exciting than just being in control of a dining hall and/or a restaurant/wait staff. Maybe if I was in the food industry, I would think differently, but since I am not, it doesn't sound too appealing.

I don't know why, but I was thinking a maitre d' would be an assistant to royalty or something of that sort. I guess my imagination sometimes has a tendency of running wild.

If I were ever able to be a maitre d', I could envision working in a small, quiet, quant, yet popular hotel that had a fabulous menu. I would want to be in charge of a dining hall in a hotel that not only enticed people from far away, but also regular locals. I would want to work with a menu where the food was proudly made by hand and the food was proudly bought locally and organically as much as possible.

I would want it to be big enough so that everyone working there could make a decent wage, but also small enough that it felt homey and unique. My goal as a maitre d' would be to make sure my employee's and costumers were happy.

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