As a restaurant manager, you know that the interview process can be daunting. You also know that it’s crucial to ask the right questions to get beyond the rehearsed answers and find out if a candidate has the skills and personality to succeed in your restaurant.

To help make your job a little easier, we’ve put together a list of the 6 best restaurant interview questions. These questions will give you insight into a candidate’s experiences, work ethic, customer service skills, and more. With this information, you’ll be better equipped to make the best hire for your restaurant.

How to Approach Interview Questions Based on Role?

When you’re talking to potential hires for a restaurant job, make sure the questions you’re asking are relevant to the exact position they’re interested in. For instance, if you need someone for a front-of-house role, ask them about their previous experiences with giving great customer service. On the other hand, if you’re searching for a back-of-house employee, ask them about their culinary skills and background.

Here are some general tips on how to approach interview questions based on role:

  • Make sure you clearly understand the job requirements and have a list of questions that are specific to that position before crafting your interview questions.
  • Ask open-ended questions. The best questions are those that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. They prompt the candidate to give a response that is more detailed. That way, you get more information about their skills and personality.
  • Once a candidate has given an answer, probe deeper into the candidate’s responses by asking follow-up questions. The objective is to get candidates talking about the specific challenges they have addressed and how they handled them.
  • It’s always best to ask behavior-based questions when it’s possible, particularly when the candidate has been through a similar situation in the past. This gives you an opportunity to gauge how they handled it, rather than predicting how they might perform in an unknown situation.

Defining the STAR Method 

The STAR technique is a popular way of questioning job applicants to see if they have the appropriate qualities for a position. It’s often used in the restaurant industry, as excellent customer relations are crucial in this line of work.

The acronym “STAR” stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This method can be used to ask behavioral interview questions, which are designed to predict how a candidate has behaved in the past to predict how they will behave in the future.

When using the STAR method, provide specific and concrete examples. This will help the candidate to clearly understand what is being asked of them and give a more accurate response.

Here is an example of how the STAR method could be used:

Situation: You are working as a waitress in a busy restaurant and it is your turn to take an order from a table of four customers. Two of the customers are elderly and one is a young child. The fourth customer is using a mobile phone and appears to be distracted.

Task: What would you do in this situation?

Action: The candidate should describe what steps they would take in this situation, such as taking the orders from the elderly customers first and then the child while keeping an eye on the fourth customer in case they need assistance.

Result: The result of the candidate’s actions should be that all four customers have their orders taken and are satisfied with the service they received

Why the STAR Method is Important ?

The STAR method is a structured way of asking questions that allows you to probe a candidate’s skills, experience, and attitude. It can help you:

  • Identify whether a candidate has the necessary skills and disposition to provide excellent customer service.  
  • Pinpoint areas where a candidate may need additional training. 
  • Make more informed hiring decisions

6 Important Restaurant Interview Questions

Not sure what to ask during a restaurant job interview? Here are some great questions to help you find the best candidates.

  1. What made you decide to pursue a career in the restaurant industry?

    For many people, working in a restaurant is more than just a job – it’s a passion. Whether it’s the fast pace, the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life, or simply the love of food, there are plenty of reasons why someone might choose this career path. This question will give insight into what motivates your candidate and whether or not they’re likely to stick around for the long haul.

  2. What experience do you have in the restaurant industry?

    Experience is always an essential factor when considering candidates for any position. Ask your candidates about their previous roles in restaurants, what types of restaurants they’ve worked in ( fast food or high-end dining), and what duties they were responsible for. This will help you gauge their experience and expertise and understand how they might perform in your restaurant.

  3. What makes our restaurant stand out from the rest?

    Asking candidates about your competition allows you to assess how well potential employees comprehend what you do and what sets you apart. Candidates who can express what distinguishes your restaurant from other places are more observant and probably will be better at promoting your restaurant and offering the right customer service.

  4. What would you do if confronted with a difficult customer?

    Restaurant employees need to be able to deal with unhappy, dissatisfied, or sometimes just plain angry customers. A good way to gauge a candidate’s customer service and conflict resolution skills is by asking them how they would deal with a difficult customer. This question also allows you to see how they can think on their feet.

  5. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a challenging situation or problem.

    In any work environment, there will be times when employees have to deal with challenging situations or problems. Ask your candidates about when they faced such a challenge and see how they handled it. This will give you insight into their problem-solving skills and ability to stay calm under pressure.

  6. What do you think makes a great customer service experience?

    Customer service plays a prominent role in the restaurant industry, so your candidates must understand what makes for a great customer service experience. Look for candidates who emphasize the importance of friendliness, attentiveness, and efficiency.

    By asking these questions, you’ll better understand your candidates’ experience, qualifications, and motivation for pursuing a career in the industry. And that will give you a much better chance of finding the right person for the job.

Restaurant Interview Best Practices

Here are some best practices for interviewing new candidates:

  1. Make sure you’re clear about the job requirements.

    Before interviewing candidates, take some time to sit down and think about what the job entails. What specific skills and qualities are you looking for in an ideal candidate? Once you understand what you need, you can craft questions that will help you identify if the candidates possess those qualities.

  2. Avoid yes or no questions.

    When crafting your questions, avoid those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, opt for open-ended questions that require thoughtful responses. This will give you a better sense of the candidate’s thought process and how they would approach various situations on the job.

  3. Ask about their experience in similar roles.

    One of the best ways to gauge if a candidate is a good fit for your restaurant is to ask about their previous experience in similar roles. Find out what kind of restaurants they’ve worked in and what duties they were responsible for. This will give you an idea of their experience level and how well they might mesh with your restaurant.

  4. Be sure to listen carefully to their answers.

    It’s not enough to ask the right questions – you also need to listen carefully to the candidate’s answers. Pay attention to their words and body language to understand their feelings about the job and if they’re genuinely excited about working in your restaurant.

  5. Take your time making a decision.

    Don’t feel like you have to decide on the spot – it’s important to take your time and think about each candidate before extending an offer. In addition to interviewing them, you might want to do a trial shift or have them shadow another employee for a day to see how well they fit in with your team.

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