10 Restaurant Job Interview Questions and Answers How to get ready for a restaurant job interview What to bring to the interview? Traditional Restaurant Interview Questions and Answers Expert restaurant interview tips Takeaways
10 Restaurant Job Interview Questions and Answers How to get ready for a restaurant job interview What to bring to the interview? Traditional Restaurant Interview Questions and Answers Expert restaurant interview tips Takeaways
Updated 27/10/2020

10 Restaurant Job Interview Questions and Answers

Would you like to pass a restaurant job interview like a rock star? Prepare yourself from all possible sides, review sample questions and answers, and learn various tricks to make a great impression on your future employer.

Would you like to pass a restaurant job interview like a rock star? Prepare yourself from all possible sides, review sample questions and answers, and learn various tricks to make a great impression on your future employer.

Are you feeling nervous before the upcoming interview? It is entirely normal, especially when it comes to a dream job in the restaurant business. The good news is that you are fully capable of boosting your confidence by getting properly prepared. Start with exploring the top restaurant interview questions and our winning answer templates. Become 100% ready and impress your future employer.

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01

How to get ready for a restaurant job interview

No matter what position you are after, you should know as much as possible about your potential workplace. Whether it is a single-unit operation or a global fast-food chain, an employer will be pleased to see your awareness and enthusiasm towards their restaurant.

Not only will research be a huge plus to prepare you for the interview, but it will also help you better understand if this is really the place you want to work. So, where to start?

  1. Check the restaurant’s social media profiles to see its aesthetics, atmosphere, cuisine, and what people say about it.
  2. If it is a famous restaurant chain, check available instructions on how to handle the interview there, as they often publish the list of common restaurant interview questions.
  3. If it is a single unit, it’s better to go there and see everything with your own eyes as a visitor. Maybe you will notice things you can improve, and it will be an excellent point to find correct answers during the interview. Keep an eye on how personnel works, how they meet and serve clients, their behavioral patterns, and what to wear if you get hired.

The main point here is to understand the philosophy of the place, the main roles of people in the team, and how they work.

02

What to bring to the interview?

Take care to bring a few copies of your resume and cover letter to an interview. These documents will help the interviewer to see the entire picture: your professional background, motivation to obtain this specific job, and your potential value for the restaurant. You can also use them as a crib note when answering questions.

It will be great to bring a list of references if you have one. 87% of employers check references as part of the hiring process. Even if the interviewers are not going to contact your previous employers, references increase the level of credibility and prove your responsible approach to the meeting.

Take care of your comfort during the interview. There are a few items that may help:

  • Pen and a paper: to make notes during the conversation, using a phone for making notes is a bit inappropriate.
  • Pre-written questions for the interviewers: so you don’t miss anything important you want to ask.
  • Water: you will talk a lot, so you’ll need it.
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03

Traditional Restaurant Interview Questions and Answers

We have collected the most popular restaurant job interview questions. For your convenience, we will explain their underlying meaning and provide successful answer examples. This way, you will know what to expect on this defining day for your career.

1. Why do you see the restaurant industry as your career path?

An interviewer wants to find out what’s your motivation for choosing this specific job. The way you answer may show your personality better than your resume. Name a few reasons that honestly outline your motives. Avoid really short answers, as this often seems like you’re not interested in this specific job.

Sample answer (for a food runner): “I like working with people because every day is different. When I come to a table, every time I see new people, and this is a moment of uncertainty: what will they order, how should I serve them, what is their mood is for today. I like to guess the visitor’s food desires and make them happy with the ordered meal. The position you offer fits my schedule. I can combine studying with working here. Besides, I’m studying at food college to become a chef, and I hope to get practical skills and knowledge in how foods should be cooked and served to please customers.”

Sample answer (for a chef): “It’s my vocation. I made my first cookies when I was 5, and ever since, cooking has been my favorite hobby. I like everything about it: finding proper ingredients, experimenting to find unexpected taste combinations, creating my recipes based on traditional cooking principles. I like it when my food makes people feel better after a hard day when they just enjoy eating in good company. I see no other direction for my career except being a chef.”

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2. Did you come to our restaurant as a visitor?

If you followed all the tips from the 1st chapter of this post, you did. Your affirmative reply will show an interviewer that you have good taste and an interest in the position. You can tell them that you thought how great it would be to become a part of their professional team while you were here.

Sample answer: “Yeah, I came here several times before. The first time I just saw some reviews on Facebook and decided to go with my girlfriend. It was such a pleasant atmosphere that we came here two or three times after. You’ve got gorgeous appetizers!”

3. What did you like and what didn’t about it?

If you had an opportunity to visit your potential workplace, you probably noticed the things you’d like to admit. If you dislike something, be ready to suggest an improvement. It will demonstrate your can-do attitude. But don’t over-criticize.

Sample answer: “I enjoyed the first impression your restaurant made on me. I liked the interior and music. The waitress serving us was very polite and suggestive in choosing drinks for the dishes we ordered. The cuisine’s very delicious, especially the strip steak! I’d prefer to have a wider choice of sauces to it. However, my tastes are rather specific. I’d serve it with pepper sauce with a slightly sweet note, or black bean and sesame sauce. However, Cheat’s Béarnaise also tasted well.”

4. What are the reasons for you not to report to work?

It is more a question to test your honesty and responsibility. Don't be sorry for the fact that you are a human, and unexpected circumstances hinder you from coming to work. Such questions can make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t display your concerns or nervousness. Keep calm and confident.

Sample answer: “There must be a very strong, unexpected reason for me not to come. I can remember perhaps 2 or 3 such cases during my career when I had to miss my job. For me, possible reasons include illness or some emergency for my family. I will inform a manager as soon as possible and try to find a colleague to cover for me. If my absence can be planned, I will discuss it with my management to not fail the team and have time to resolve the situation.”

5. What management style do you prefer?

You may be asked such a question if you’re supposed to work under the manager’s supervision. It helps to understand if the two of you can find a common language and perform well as a team. Don’t hide your real thoughts about this, as an employer wants to hear your vision, your own opinion of what good management means to you.

Sample answer: “I prefer a democratic management style when a supervisor treats every employee as an important part of his team. The client’s satisfaction in a restaurant depends on how well every team member performs, from the chef to the food server. As such, I'd like to have a supervisor who will point out what I do wrong and advise on how to perform better. I’d like to see my supervisor as an advisor, oriented at team success.”

6. What is your weakness?

Don’t say you’re strong in everything or mention weaknesses that are not related to the job. Tell about your professional weakness, and explain how you’re managing with it.

Sample answer: “As a restaurant chef, I like to see people satisfied with the food I make. When someone is disappointed with the ordered meal, sometimes I take it too personally. I've learned one simple truth during my career: it's impossible to please everybody when it comes to a taste. I appreciate all feedback, especially negative: it shows me how I can become better in my profession. I always analyze how a dish can be changed to taste better.”

7. What is excellent customer service for you?

Just imagine you’re a customer, and how you’d like the restaurant to serve you.

Sample answer: “I think there are a few important criteria of perfect customer service in a restaurant: a customer should not wait long for the order, the entire service should be friendly and professional, the order must be done accurately and timely, and of course, the dining hall and kitchen should be clean for the comfort and safety of guests.”

8. How long are you planning to work here?

That’s a tricky question. Perhaps you see the position as a springboard on the way to the job of your dreams. However, an employer does not like staff turnover, and always considers an interviewee a candidate for long-term employment. Answer such questions from the general perspective, emphasizing your intentions for a stable, long-term job.

Sample answer: “For the time being, I am not planning to leave the city. I am looking for a stable, interesting job. Your position fits my expectations completely, and I hope to work here as long as possible.”

9. Would you mind working extra hours and during the weekend?

Restaurants usually work on Sundays. Some of them are open late in the evening or even around the clock. Typically, they expect you to be ready for such a schedule. However, if you have some limitations, mention them in your answer.

Sample answer: “Yes, I am ready to work extra hours if your restaurant schedule requires it. I am also fine with working on weekends if they are compensated by days-off during the rest of the week. I need at least one day off a week to visit my elderly parents in another city. Part-time shifts on Sundays are also fine for me.”

10. What motivates you?

Here an employer wants to understand what moves your decisions and what motivates you to perform a good job. Your answer should be related to work, and it is better to avoid materialistic drivers.

Sample answer: “I am passionate about my profession, and I think the best thing here is that every new day is not like previous ones. I learn something new each day, and from each customer I serve. It helps to understand life better and see it in a complete palette of colors”.

There may be various interview questions for restaurant jobs related both to professional and personal backgrounds. The interviewers not only listen to what you answer, they evaluate how you speak, how you look, and how you behave. It all determines your image and makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Besides smart answers, there are a few tricks to win the interview.

04

Expert restaurant interview tips

Many factors build the impression of you during the interview while not directly related to your future duties. These recommendations will help you to improve the interview flow and bring you closer to successful employment.

Interview Timing

Jennifer Scupi, an interview coach and the owner of Interview Genie, recommends not answering questions for more than 2 minutes.

“Don't go past 2 or 2.5 minutes. It's hard to listen to someone for that long, so your interviewer may get bored.”

Even if the question implies a highly detailed answer, do your best not to exhaust interviewers with long talks. Let them ask additional questions to get more details if they get interested.

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Pre-define what you’d like to tell about yourself

Avery Blank, a Forbes Senior Contributor, recommends choosing three things you’d like your interviewers to know. It will help to focus your answers on the right point. It should be three skills or experiences that demonstrate your qualification for the future job.

“Cut down on the time to think and, in turn, your stress levels because you know you have information to retrieve to respond to unexpected questions or topics.”

Ask questions

The way to express your real interest in the future job is by asking the interviewers questions about the restaurant, the staff, your future duties, etc. Dawn Graham, another Forbes expert, recommends never hesitating to ask questions during the interview. Here is how to ask your employer:

“Ask questions as if you’re already in the role. Pretend you are hired, and this is your first week. What questions might be on your mind? These tend to be great questions to ask in the interview because they’re more strategic in nature and show you’ve done your homework.”

Let body language help you

Experts from Insider advise you to watch your body language during the interview for a restaurant job. Almost any position in the service sector highly depends on the quality of communication, and restaurant employers pay attention to body language, often unconsciously. The most obvious thing here is to sit up straight and keep eye contact with the interviewer.

Another useful recommendation is smiling. Smile and nod when listening to the interviewer, express a positive mood instead of looking nervous. Avoid blocking gestures like folded arms and crossed fingers, and keep your palms open.

05

Takeaways

A job interview is a gripping psychological challenge worth taking time to get ready, as it defines your career success. With this guide’s help, you have maximum chances to impress your interviewers and get the restaurant job you want. There are various interview questions to ask restaurant job seekers. Using the samples above, you can make up your own answers based on personal experience, attitude, and beliefs. Such preparations will help you relieve stress, feel more confident during the interview, present yourself better, and get the desired job. Stay calm, confident, and enthusiastic about future career opportunities.

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