Top 20 Restaurant Interview Questions

Finding the best fit for a position can be challenging as a restaurant manager. There are a lot of variables you need to consider when it comes to hiring the right person. These range from age, attitude, work ethic, availability, how they presented themselves and the list goes on. How do you determine whether a prospective employee will be an asset or a liability to your business?

We have compiled the top 20 restaurant interview questions that you can use to do just that.

1. What kind of working environment are you used to?

Experience in a high pressure working environment can determine whether the employee will be likely to stay for a long time or not. If they are not used to a busy environment, try to ask if there was a time they had to deal with pressure and how they handled it.

2. Why do you want to work here?

Candidates might give you a vague clichéd answer such as “I want to work here because it’s the best restaurant in town” or “I want to be a part of a competitive team.” With this question, try to dig deeper, so that you can get to know their motives.

3. Give me an example of a time you went above and beyond to exceed expectations of a customer.

Meeting a customer’s expectation is good, but exceeding it especially valuable in the food industry as it can boost your restaurant’s reputation. This question will give an indication of whether an applicant is the type to go that extra mile when serving/helping customers.

4. What qualities do you think are necessary for the job you’re interested in and how would you apply those?

There are a set of qualities needed for every job. This question will help you determine how well the candidate knows the intricacies of the job they’re applying for.

5.  What do you know about our restaurant?

A candidate that has done his/her research obviously has a high level of interest.

6. What motivates you to work every day?

We all have our motivations, this question provides an insight into the human aspect of the prospective employee, how badly do they want/need the job.

7. Give me a reason why shouldn’t I hire you?

As an alternative to the typical question “why should I hire you?” Instead, reverse the question to test their reasoning skills and how they sell themselves to you.

8. Was there ever a time when your expectations at work were not met and how did you deal with it?

Employees have their expectations at the workplace; a promotion, an appraisal or even simple recognition for a job well done. This question will help you gauge what the candidate will do when faced with a challenging situation.

9.  Tell me about a time when it was hard for you to arrive to work on time. What did you do to resolve it?

It can be impossible to be on time, every time. This question will help you gauge whether your employee has problem-solving skills. Do they make excuses or do they prioritize punctuality, look for solutions and/or anticipate any circumstance that can affect their punctuality?

10. From the customer’s perspective, what do you think are the things servers do that are most annoying?

This will give insight into the candidate’s industry experience and ideas on what constitutes good/poor customer service

11. Give me an example of when you have had to deal with an impatient customer?

Anxious customers are not unusual in a restaurant. This question will help you gauge the composure of the candidate and how capable they would be of providing a positive experience to an impatient customer.

12.  Why do you think you would perform well in this job?

It is essential for you to know what candidates have to offer. This question will help you understand their strengths,  skills and level of experience and match these with your restaurant’s needs.

13.  How would you know you were being successful in this job?

As an employee, you need to know how you will be evaluated to perform well in your job. If the candidate can provide insight to this question, it will demonstrate an understanding of his/her ability to meet or exceed your expectations as an employer.

14. Do you think you are qualified for this position and why?

This question is an opportunity for the candidate to present themselves as best they can.

15. Would you rather miss a detail to reach a deadline, or miss a deadline to attend to a detail and execute a job correctly?

Restaurants depend on speed as well as accuracy. a candidate’s answer to this question can provide insight into their priorities and problem-solving skills.

16. Are you willing to stay late, come in early, work occasional extra shifts or go the extra mile to help out in peak periods?

It may be important for you to have an employee who has a flexible schedule to ensure you can cater for peak periods.

17. What is the difference between a good customer service and an excellent customer service?

Can they differentiate between good and an excellent customer service? Their answer to this question will help you assess whether they will go the extra mile when the opportunity arises.

18. Would you rather do the right thing or would you help to cover up a mistake for camaraderie sake?

Integrity matters. Enough said.

19. Give an example of when you have had to disobey your company’s rules and regulations.

Rules are there to follow, but there may be times when we need to bend some rules to delight customers.

20. What does camaraderie mean to you?

This is an insight into whether your candidate is a team player.

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