Restaurant Manager Interview Questions (With Helpful Tips)
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During the hiring process for a restaurant manager position, hiring managers interview candidates to determine which professional is the best candidate for the job. Although there are countless questions an interviewer might ask, there are specific questions that relate to managing a restaurant that candidates can prepare for before their interviews. If you're preparing for a restaurant interview, you can benefit from learning more about the questions a hiring manager might ask and how you can answer them effectively.
In this article, we discuss general restaurant manager interview questions, provide questions about experience and background, share some questions with sample answers, and highlight some helpful interview tips.
General restaurant manager interview questions
Here are 10 general restaurant manager interview questions that a hiring manager might ask you:
Tell me about yourself.
Why did you apply for this position?
What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
Why are you leaving your current job?
Do you prefer working independently or as part of a team?
How might your previous employer describe you?
What is your proudest achievement in your career?
What is your most outstanding personal achievement?
Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?
What is your definition of success?
Questions about experience and background
Here are 10 questions that a hiring manager may ask you about your experience in management and the hospitality industry:
Which restaurants have you worked at in the past?
How might you remember a customer's order?
Which positions have you had in a restaurant?
When you dine at a restaurant, what makes it an enjoyable experience?
Describe your ideal restaurant and what you like about it.
What skills can help you manage a restaurant effectively?
How might your education help you manage a team?
How might you describe your favourite meal to a customer?
Have you made any mistakes while working at a restaurant in the past? If so, what did you learn from the mistake?
Have you experienced any conflicts with colleagues while working in a restaurant? How did you resolve the conflict?
Restaurant manager interview questions with sample answers
Here are some specific restaurant manager interview questions that a hiring manager may ask you during your interview for the position:
What do you know about this restaurant?
Hiring managers might ask you this question to see if you researched the restaurant and assess your interest in working there. Most restaurants prefer to hire managers that genuinely like the restaurant and want to work there. When managers enjoy the restaurant they manage, they're more likely to do their best to help ensure it succeeds. When you answer this question, aim to show the hiring manager you've researched the restaurant and are excited about the opportunity to work there. Consider mentioning that the restaurant is your first choice for your place of employment. Here's an example of an answer:
"I've eaten at Sashimi and Rice multiple times over the past few years, and it's one of my favourite restaurants. I always receive excellent customer service and delicious sushi. I know that there are about 20 employees who work diligently to ensure customers receive their meals within 10 minutes of placing their orders."
What improvements might you make as the manager of this restaurant?
Interviewers might ask this question to determine how familiar you are with the restaurant. They also want to see how observant you are and if you're already considering ways you can positively affect the restaurant. When you mention a specific aspect that requires improvement, explain how you might improve it. For example, if you think the restaurant is understaffed, explain how hiring additional servers might help solve problems. If you genuinely think the restaurant is exceptional and cannot find any faults, explain how you plan to uphold the highest level of customer service. Here's an example of an answer:
"I genuinely find that MgGreggor's Endless Pub is an exceptional restaurant, but sometimes it takes too long for customers to receive their food. Hiring more cooks and additional meal preparation employees might help the kitchen team make meals faster. The servers seem to be extremely friendly and address customers' needs quickly.
How might you motivate the staff in the restaurant during busy or overwhelming shifts?
During your interview, hiring managers might ask you this question to discover your managing style and how you operate under stress. Your ability to manage a team during the busiest times is crucial, as not all candidates may handle the pressure. You might explain that you maintain a pleasant atmosphere so that all customers can enjoy the experience. You can also highlight that you can lead by example, with a positive attitude, to help keep employees motivated during busy hours. Here's an example of an answer you can use:
"I know restaurants can become hectic during peak hours, but it's crucial to lead by example in these moments. I remain calm and in control, even during stressful times. I am confident that the employees can look to me as an example of working diligently in these moments so all customers can have an exceptional experience."
As the manager, how might you talk to the lead chef about a dish on the menu that isn't selling well?
The hiring manager may ask you this question to test your communication and decision-making skills when put in an uncomfortable situation. They're likely looking for a manager that's confident in their decisions and knows how to communicate effectively, even when they might not want to hear it. In your answer, mention that you're confident during a confrontation and that it's worth the conversation because it's the best decision for the restaurant. You might include adjectives to describe how you communicate this message, such as "kindly." Here's a sample answer you might consider:
"In this situation, I might approach the chef privately and first remind them they're doing an excellent job. Then, I can explain to them kindly that the dish isn't selling well and ask them if they have an idea for a replacement dish. Asking for their input and giving them control shows I trust their decision and helps motivate them."
How might you accommodate a customer that has special dietary needs?
During your interview, a hiring manager might ask you this question to see how you treat customers who some might consider difficult. They likely want to know that you always put customers first and are willing to perform additional work to ensure they have an exceptional experience. In your answer, highlight that you thoroughly understand various diet restrictions and have experience providing meals that adhere to specific dietary needs. Share that ensuring the customer has an enjoyable experience is your top priority. Here's an example that you can use to respond effectively:
"As a manager, it's my top priority to satisfy all customers by providing them with excellent meals and an enjoyable experience. If a customer has a specific dietary restriction, a team member or I can recommend a particular dish or offer to alter another one when possible."
Here are some interview tips that can help you impress the hiring manager and get the job you want:
Consider your questions: Before ending the interview, the hiring manager might ask you if you have questions about the organization, position, or hiring process. It's a smart idea to prepare these questions before your interview to help ensure that you ask thoughtful and professional questions.
Dress appropriately for the interview: Dress neatly and appropriately for the interview. You might view the restaurant's website to understand better how formally you can dress to make a good impression on the hiring manager.
Follow up after the interview: After your interview, send an e-mail thanking the hiring manager for their time and reiterate that you're still interested in the position after speaking with them. If you don't receive a response within a week, consider sending another e-mail asking when you might hear about the job.
Learn the STAR method: Before your interview, learn what the STAR method is to help you better answer questions. STAR stands for situation, task, action, and result.
Practise for your interview: Practise answering common questions for restaurant managers. You might have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview to help you practise and gain confidence.
Research your potential employer: Before your interview, research information about your potential employer, such as their goals, mission, and accomplishments. This information can help you answer questions and show the hiring manager you've researched the organization.
Review the job description: Review the job description before your interview and consider how you might address your suitability for the mentioned roles and responsibilities. For example, you can highlight your ability to manage a team by expressing your management and coordinating skills.
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