I used to work for a restaurant that had waiter teams. There were three roles: Aid, Lead, and Follow-up.

  • The Aid was basically the busboy.
  • The Lead greeted the customers, took the drink orders, got the drinks, and took the food orders (most of the time).
  • The Aid and Lead were often out of sight to the customers, getting stuff outside the section.
  • The Follow-up handled the flow of the service, quality control, customer relations, and getting paid. The Follow-up never left the section, and was usually the most experienced waiter. Described here it sounds stilted, but it wasn't: it worked very well.

I am looking for a word to replace "follow-up" that is more elegant to hear and see, and that reflects the seniority and sophistication of the role.

  • In our business we call a role like that 'front-of-house' with 'support' staff in the background. It emphasises the responsibility of being visible to clients. – Nigel J Jan 31 '18 at 20:27
  • Would you consider maître d'hôtel? You can check this list also: restaurant.org/Restaurant-Careers/Career-Development/… – ermanen Feb 2 '18 at 1:21
  • I am looking for one word, so neither "front-of-house" nor "maître d'hôtel" fit the bill (so to speak). – chanceoperation Feb 2 '18 at 4:05
  • @chanceoperation: Maître d'hôtel is a compound word. There are many French loan words like this in English. If you are going to be pedantic, maître is used as a shortened version of maître d'hôtel but these are uncommon words. Hyphenated compound words can serve as a single word also. – ermanen Feb 3 '18 at 19:45
  • 2
    Head waiter? Captain of the staff? – DJohnson Mar 7 '18 at 18:19

How about the main waiter?

This way you have the Lead, the Main and the Aid (or Aide). These terms work both as noun modifiers and as nouns.

These are plain terms, but imagine the waiter responding to a customer who asks who is doing what, or why they are no longer seeing the person who took their initial drinks order. Fancy titles may not have the desired effect on the customer's opinion

  • It sounds to me that the role of Lead would be better described with 'Service' or 'Contact'. Follow-up could then be called the 'Lead'. I would suggest 'Head' instead, but I am assuming there are a number of teams and one Head Waiter who rules over them all. – Ross Murray Feb 1 '18 at 4:07
  • @Global You are right that customers often were surprised to see a different person take charge after some time, and asked about it. Usually we just explained that we worked in teams. – chanceoperation Feb 2 '18 at 3:58
  • @Ross No, we did not have a head waiter over all the others. The system was not very hierarchic. That is one reason why it worked, and why I liked working within it. It is also why the title "Head" would not be a good replacement for "Follow-up". – chanceoperation Feb 2 '18 at 4:02

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