Interview

17 Kitchen Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a kitchen manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Kitchen managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the kitchen, including food preparation, ordering, and budgeting. They also oversee the work of kitchen staff and ensure that food safety and hygiene standards are met.

If you’re looking for a kitchen manager job, you’ll need to be able to answer questions about your experience, management style, and food safety knowledge. In this guide, you’ll find kitchen manager interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Are you comfortable giving employees constructive criticism when necessary?

As a kitchen manager, you may need to give employees feedback on their performance. Employers ask this question to see if you are comfortable giving negative feedback and how you would do it in a productive way. In your answer, explain that you understand the importance of constructive criticism and will use it when necessary. Explain that you will make sure to provide positive feedback along with any constructive criticism so that employees know what they’re doing well.

Example: “I am definitely comfortable giving my team members constructive criticism when I feel it’s needed. I believe that providing both positive and negative feedback is important because it shows employees where they can improve while also showing them what they’re doing right. When giving someone feedback, I try to be as specific as possible about what I expect from them. This helps employees better understand what I want from them and gives them an opportunity to learn more about the job.”

What are some strategies you use to motivate your staff?

Motivation is an important skill for a kitchen manager to have. It helps them keep their staff happy and productive, which in turn makes the restaurant more successful. A hiring manager may ask this question to see if you know how to motivate your team members. They might also want to know what strategies you use to help yourself stay motivated while working as a kitchen manager.

Example: “I find that one of the best ways to motivate my staff is by giving them opportunities for growth. I try to give everyone on my team at least one promotion per year so they can learn new skills and feel like they’re making progress. Another strategy I use to motivate my staff is by celebrating their successes. For example, when we get positive reviews from customers or win awards, I make sure to throw a party to celebrate.”

How would you handle an emergency situation in the kitchen, such as a fire or a gas leak?

An interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your ability to handle stressful situations and make quick decisions. In your answer, try to demonstrate that you can stay calm under pressure while also making smart choices.

Example: “If I encountered an emergency situation in the kitchen, I would first ensure that everyone was safe. Then, I would assess the situation and determine what resources we had available to us. For example, if there were gas leaks or fires, I would immediately evacuate the building and call for help. If it was something that could be fixed quickly, such as a broken dishwasher, I would delegate tasks to my team members so that they could take care of the issue.”

What is your experience with menu planning and food preparation?

The interviewer may ask you this question to learn more about your experience with menu planning and food preparation. Use examples from previous positions to explain how you developed menus, planned daily specials and organized the kitchen staff’s workflow.

Example: “In my last position as a kitchen manager, I was responsible for creating weekly menus that included seasonal dishes and customer favorites. I also planned monthly special events like themed dinners and holiday meals. In addition to menu planning, I worked with the waitstaff to create nightly specials based on what ingredients were available in the kitchen. This helped me plan efficient prep work and ensured we had enough food to serve our customers.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.

As a kitchen manager, you may have to deal with customers who are unhappy about their food or service. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to handle these situations in a professional way. In your answer, try to show that you can remain calm and polite even when dealing with someone who is upset.

Example: “When I worked as a server, I had a customer who was very rude to me. They complained about the food and were demanding for more drinks. I remained calm and explained our policies clearly. I also apologized for any inconvenience they experienced. The next time they came into the restaurant, they were much friendlier. They thanked me for my patience and excellent service.”

If we were to walk into your kitchen right now, what would we see you doing?

This question is a great way to learn more about the candidate’s work ethic and what they consider important. It also helps you understand how much control they have over their team members, as well as how much freedom they give them.

Example: “If I were in charge of this kitchen right now, I would be checking on my cooks to make sure that they’re following proper food safety procedures. I’d ask if they needed any help with anything or if they had any questions. I’d also be making sure that all of our orders are being prepared correctly and that we’re meeting our customers’ needs.”

What would you do if you noticed an employee taking a long break during their shift?

Employers ask this question to make sure you have a plan for handling employee behavior that doesn’t align with company policy. In your answer, explain how you would handle the situation and what steps you would take to ensure it didn’t happen again.

Example: “If I noticed an employee taking a long break during their shift, I would first speak with them about the issue. If they were doing so because of a personal emergency or other extenuating circumstance, I would allow them to take the time off as needed. However, if they were simply taking a break without permission, I would give them a warning and let them know that further infractions could result in termination.”

How well do you handle stress in the kitchen?

Working in a busy kitchen can be stressful. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills needed to handle stress and remain calm when things get hectic. Use your answer to show that you are able to stay focused even when there is a lot going on around you. Explain how you use your time management skills to prioritize tasks and keep yourself organized.

Example: “I am very good at managing my time, which helps me stay organized and focused during a rush. I also try to take deep breaths whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed. This helps me relax so I can focus on getting through each task one at a time. In my last position, I was often the person who stepped up to help others when they were feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I like being able to provide support for others.”

Do you have any experience working with food allergens?

If the restaurant you’re interviewing for serves food that contains allergens, employers may ask this question to make sure you have experience working with them. In your answer, explain how you’ve handled similar situations in the past and what steps you took to ensure the safety of customers who had allergies.

Example: “In my last position as a kitchen manager, we served several dishes that contained peanuts. I made sure all employees were aware of which dishes contained peanuts so they could inform customers if they asked about ingredients. We also implemented procedures to prevent cross-contamination between dishes containing peanuts and other foods. This included storing separate utensils and plates for each dish.”

When planning meals, how do you go about ensuring that the food is both delicious and healthy?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your culinary skills and how you plan meals for customers. Use examples from past experiences to explain how you balance healthy food with delicious dishes.

Example: “I always start by looking at the customer’s dietary restrictions, allergies and preferences. From there, I create a menu that includes both healthy and indulgent options. For example, in my last position as a kitchen manager, we had a lot of customers who were vegan or vegetarian. To accommodate them, I planned several meatless entrees each week. We also offered plenty of sides and appetizers that were rich in nutrients but low in calories.”

We want to attract customers who are looking for a unique dining experience. How would you make our kitchen stand out?

The interviewer may ask you this question to see how creative you are and whether you can help the restaurant attract new customers. Your answer should show that you have a unique idea for attracting customers, but it also needs to be something that is feasible in your workplace.

Example: “I would make sure our kitchen always has at least one special dish on the menu that isn’t available anywhere else. This could be a seasonal dish or an item that we only serve on certain days of the week. I think this would encourage people who want to try something different to come to our restaurant.”

Describe your strategy for ensuring that all of the equipment, utensils, ingredients, and other items in the kitchen are clean and ready to use.

The interviewer may ask you this question to learn more about your attention to detail and organizational skills. Use examples from past experiences to explain how you ensure that the kitchen is ready for use at all times.

Example: “I have a system in place where I check each item before, during and after service. This helps me make sure that everything is clean and organized throughout the day. If something isn’t right, I can address it immediately so we don’t run into any issues with customers. In my last role, I also implemented a cleaning schedule so that everyone knew when they were responsible for cleaning specific areas of the kitchen.”

What makes you the right candidate for this kitchen manager position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications for the job. They want someone who is passionate, hardworking and eager to take on new challenges. When you answer this question, make sure to highlight your relevant skills and experience. You can also share a story about how you overcame a challenge in your previous role as kitchen manager.

Example: “I am the right candidate for this position because I have extensive management experience. In my last role as kitchen manager, I oversaw all aspects of the kitchen including hiring and training staff, ordering supplies and managing inventory. I also made sure that our food was always fresh and delicious. My team and I worked together to create an enjoyable work environment where everyone felt valued.”

Which restaurant kitchens have you worked in previously?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your experience level. They want to know if you have worked in a kitchen before and how many kitchens you’ve worked in. If you haven’t worked in a professional kitchen, explain what other types of food service you’ve done work in.

Example: “I’ve only worked in one professional kitchen so far. I started as a line cook at the local diner where my parents still work. After working there for two years, I moved on to another restaurant where I was promoted to sous chef after six months. I stayed there for three years until I got my current job.”

What do you think is the most important trait for a kitchen manager to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the same priorities as they do. It also helps them understand how your personality and skills might fit in with their kitchen team. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a trait that is important to you personally and one that you think would benefit the restaurant.

Example: “I believe communication is the most important trait for a kitchen manager to have. As a kitchen manager, I would need to communicate clearly with my staff about any changes or challenges we faced. I would also need to communicate effectively with our customers so they could receive the best service possible. Communication is an essential skill for anyone working in the food industry.”

How often do you perform inventory checks to ensure that the kitchen has enough supplies?

The interviewer may ask you this question to learn more about your organizational skills and attention to detail. Show the interviewer that you can perform regular inventory checks, understand how to use a computerized inventory system and keep track of supplies as they run out.

Example: “I perform an inventory check at least once per week in order to ensure that we have enough supplies for our customers. I also make sure to note any items that are running low so that my staff and I can prepare for when those supplies need to be restocked. In my last role, I used a computerized inventory system that allowed me to enter information into the program and receive alerts when certain supplies were running low.”

There is a conflict between two kitchen staff members. How do you handle it?

As a kitchen manager, you may need to resolve conflicts between staff members. Employers ask this question to see if you have conflict resolution skills and how you would handle such situations. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to help the two parties come to an agreement or compromise.

Example: “I would first listen to both sides of the story. Then I would speak with each person individually to get more details about their side of the situation. After that, I would meet with them together again to discuss solutions they could agree on. If they still can’t find a solution, I would step in and make a final decision.”

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