22 Restaurant Interview Questions Plus Interviewing Tips

The restaurant industry is high energy and fast-paced. When you have an open role in your restaurant, you most likely need to fill it fast. 

Once you’ve crafted and posted the perfect job description, and finally start to get some applications rolling in, you can use interviews to evaluate candidates and find the perfect person for your team. 

Excellent customer service is key along with skills like time management and multitasking. You may want someone that has experience in a similar role or be willing to take on someone with the right growth potential. The following restaurant interview questions can help you find the candidate with the right experience and combination of skills to succeed in your open position. 

Let’s start by covering the types of questions you might ask in an interview, then get into some restaurant industry-specific questions to help you get to know your candidates and find a good fit. 

Types of interview questions 

In an interview, you will typically ask questions that fall under four main categories: verification, opinion, behavioral, and random. CareerPlug’s Senior Director of People, Natalie Morgans explains this further in the video below: 

Let’s get into some example restaurant interview questions under each category. Asking a combination of these types will help you determine if someone has the skills, knowledge, and desire to succeed in your open role. 

Restaurant interview questions to help you make your next hire 

Verification questions 

These questions are used to verify a candidate’s credentials and experience. They can be thought of as “fact-based” questions. Ask a few verification questions to make sure you understand a candidate’s resume and skill set. 

  • What dates were you employed at your previous job? 
  • What restaurants have you worked in before? 
  • What positions have you held in restaurants before? 
  • What is your availability? 
  • Describe your job responsibilities at the last restaurant you worked at. 
  • Are you familiar with (insert name) point-of-sale software? 
  • What education or training do you have related to the restaurant industry and this position?

Opinion-based questions

These questions ask about a candidate’s perspective (or opinion). Opinion questions can provide valuable insight into how a candidate thinks, what motivates them, what values they hold, and how they solve problems. 

  • What do you like about working in the restaurant industry? 
  • What is your favorite food dish? How would you describe it to a diner?
  • Can you describe your ideal restaurant work environment?
  • What types of wines pair well with our dinner entrees?
  • What are your career goals in this industry? 
  • Tell me about your favorite past manager. What did you like most about them? 

Behavioral questions

Behavioral questions ask for examples of how a candidate has behaved in the past. Assuming that past behavior is most indicative of future behavior, you can use behavioral questions to predict a candidate’s success in a new role and to evaluate their problem solving skills. 

  • Tell me about a time you had a really difficult customer. How did you handle the situation? 
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake while working in a restaurant. How did you resolve the issue? 
  • How do you typically remember your customer’s orders?
  • Our restaurant can get really busy. Tell me about a time you worked well under pressure. 
  • Have you ever gone above and beyond to enhance someone’s dining experience? 
  • Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile to help someone on your team. 

Random questions

Random questions, as the name implies, are catch-all deviations from traditional questions. 

Random and problem-solving questions fade into and out of popularity, but there can be some merit in throwing one into your interview to gauge skills like creativity, the ability to maintain composure under pressure, and comfort with vulnerability. One or two of these are fine, but you’ll typically learn much more about a candidate from the first three types of questions. 

  • What would the title of your life story be? 
  • What do you do outside of work? 
  • What is your biggest pet peeve? 

More interview tips 

In our 2023 Candidate Experience Report, we found that a “negative experience with people in the interview process” was one of the main reasons candidates turned down a job. So in order to get more of your top choice candidates to say yes to your offers, you need to not only think about your interview questions – you also need to focus on conducting great interviews. Here are some of our best tips:

  • Make sure all interviewers are prepared for interviews and stay present and engaged throughout. 
  • Create a warm, welcoming experience for candidates coming in to interview. 
  • Avoid asking candidates to participate in one-way video interviews
  • Allow candidates to schedule their own interviews when it’s convenient for them using automated interview scheduling. 

Kick off a great candidate experience before the interviews begin by using CareerPlug’s automated interview scheduling tool, Autopilot, which instantly sends your qualified applicants a text (or email if they’ve opted out of texting) with a link to book an interview directly on your calendar. To learn more about how Autopilot makes scheduling easier for both managers and candidates, watch the video below with CareerPlug’s president, Jenny Leman: 

The right restaurant interview questions can help you effectively evaluate candidates for your role. And moving candidates down your pipeline quicker with automated interview scheduling can help you get more of the best candidates to say yes to your job offers. Happy hiring! 

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