Interview

17 Restaurant General Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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

The restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy. Restaurants need managers to oversee all aspects of their business, from the front of the house to the back of the house. That’s why restaurant general manager jobs are in high demand.

If you’re looking to land a job as a restaurant general manager, you’ll need to be prepared to answer a range of questions during your interview. In this guide, we’ll provide you with sample questions and answers that will help you stand out from the competition and land the job of your dreams.

Are you comfortable working long hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays?

General managers often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. This question helps the interviewer determine if you’re willing to put in these extra hours when needed. Use your answer to highlight how you balance your personal life with your professional responsibilities.

Example: “I understand that working as a general manager means putting in long hours. I’m prepared for this role because I have experience balancing my personal life with my professional responsibilities. In my last position, I worked 50-hour weeks, which included some evenings and weekends. However, I made sure to schedule time for myself so I could maintain my health and relationships.”

What are your greatest strengths as a manager?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you will fit into their team. When answering this question, it can be helpful to highlight your management skills and abilities that are relevant to the position.

Example: “My greatest strength as a manager is my ability to motivate others. I am always looking for ways to inspire my staff members and encourage them to do their best work. Another strength of mine is my communication skills. I have excellent listening skills and am able to clearly explain ideas and expectations to my employees. These skills allow me to create an open line of communication with my staff so they feel comfortable asking questions or voicing concerns.”

How would you deal with a situation in which multiple employees called in sick and you were short-staffed?

This question can help interviewers understand how you manage challenging situations and whether you have the skills to overcome them. In your answer, try to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to delegate tasks effectively.

Example: “In this situation, I would first call in additional staff members from other locations if possible. If not, I would ask managers at nearby restaurants for assistance. If neither of these options are available, I would work with my team to ensure that all tables were served as quickly as possible. This is important because it helps maintain customer satisfaction while also ensuring that servers aren’t overwhelmed by having too many tables to serve.”

What is your experience with restaurant accounting software?

General managers often need to be familiar with accounting software. This question helps the interviewer determine your experience level and whether you’re comfortable using this type of software. If you have previous experience, share what you’ve learned about the software. If you don’t have any experience, explain that you are willing to learn how to use it.

Example: “I used restaurant accounting software when I was a general manager at my last job. The system we used was easy to navigate once I got used to it. However, I found that there were some things I would do differently if I had to set up the system again. For example, I would make sure all employees could access their sales reports online so they could check their numbers more frequently.”

Provide an example of a time when you solved a problem within your team.

General managers often need to resolve conflicts between employees. Employers ask this question to learn more about your conflict resolution skills and how you can help their team work together. In your answer, describe a time when you helped two or more people solve a problem. Explain what steps you took to ensure the situation didn’t happen again.

Example: “At my previous job, I had an employee who was always late for her shift. She would arrive 15 minutes after she was scheduled to start working. This caused problems because it delayed our ability to open the restaurant on time. I spoke with her privately and learned that she was having trouble getting her child ready in the morning. We decided to change her schedule so she worked later shifts. This allowed her to get her child off to school before arriving at work.”

If we were to visit your restaurant on a typical day, what would we see you doing?

This question is a great way to learn more about the responsibilities of the role and how you would approach them. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe your typical day in detail so that the interviewer can get an idea of what your workday looks like.

Example: “If I were here on a typical day, I would start my morning by checking in with all of my team members to see how they’re doing and if there’s anything I can do to help them. Then, I would meet with each manager to discuss their teams’ performance and any challenges they may be facing. After that, I would check in with the kitchen staff to make sure everything was running smoothly. Finally, I would spend some time greeting customers and making sure everyone has a positive experience.”

What would you do if a customer was unhappy with their meal and wanted to speak with a manager, but you were the only manager on-duty at the time?

As a restaurant general manager, you may be the only person available to speak with customers who have complaints or concerns. An interviewer might ask this question to learn more about how you would handle such a situation and ensure that it doesn’t happen again in the future. In your answer, try to emphasize your problem-solving skills and ability to communicate effectively with customers.

Example: “If I were the only manager on duty at the time, I would apologize to the customer for not having another manager available to speak with them. Then, I would take down all of their information so that I could follow up with them after my shift was over. I would also make sure to talk to the other managers about this incident so we can prevent it from happening again.”

How well do you handle stress?

General managers often have to make important decisions under pressure. Employers ask this question to see if you can handle stress and still perform well. In your answer, share a time when you had to make an important decision quickly. Explain what steps you took to ensure you made the right choice.

Example: “I find that I work best when I am prepared for stressful situations. At my last job, we were short-staffed one night. This meant I needed to take orders, deliver food and help with customer service all at once. I was able to do it because I had practiced making complicated orders before. I also knew how to multitask so I could get everything done as efficiently as possible.”

Do you have experience hiring and training new staff members?

Hiring and training staff members is a major responsibility of general managers. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience with this process, as it’s an important part of the job. In your answer, share what steps you take when hiring new employees. Explain that you also know how to train them on their jobs so they can be successful in their roles.

Example: “I’ve hired many people into my previous positions. I always start by making sure we are advertising the position properly. Then, I review all applications and select the best candidates for interviews. After conducting interviews, I choose the most qualified applicants and offer them the job. When someone accepts the job, I provide them with information about our benefits program and give them a tour of the restaurant.

After that, I meet with them one-on-one to discuss their goals and expectations. I then set up a schedule for them to shadow another employee before starting their official workday.”

When is it appropriate to offer a guest a complimentary dessert or drink?

This question can help the interviewer determine your understanding of customer service and how you interact with customers. Use examples from previous experiences to show that you understand when it’s appropriate to offer a complimentary item and what factors influence this decision.

Example: “I believe offering a guest a complimentary dessert or drink is appropriate if they have had an exceptional experience at the restaurant. For example, I once had a couple who came in for dinner on their anniversary. They were celebrating their fifth anniversary, so I offered them a free dessert as a congratulations. The couple was very appreciative and left us a generous tip.”

We want to improve our customer service. Give me an example of a strategy you would use to do this.

Customer service is an important aspect of any restaurant. Interviewers ask this question to see if you have a plan for improving customer service at their establishment. Use your answer to explain how you would implement a strategy that improves the quality of customer service in the restaurant.

Example: “I believe one way to improve customer service is by training all employees on the best practices for providing excellent service. I would hold regular meetings with my team members to discuss ways they can provide better service to customers. I also think it’s important to give servers and bartenders more freedom when interacting with customers. For example, I would allow servers to suggest menu items based on what customers are looking for.”

Describe your experience with POS systems.

POS systems are a common tool for restaurant managers. They allow you to track sales, monitor inventory and more. Interviewers ask this question to see if you have experience with POS systems and how well you can use them. In your answer, explain which system you’re most comfortable using and why. If you’ve used multiple systems in the past, describe each one briefly.

Example: “I’m very familiar with Restaurant Manager Pro. I started working at my last job as a server, but when our general manager left, they promoted me to that position. I had no prior management experience, so I took some online courses on managing restaurants. One of those courses was about Restaurant Manager Pro, so I learned how to use it there.”

What makes you the best candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you feel you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your most relevant skills and abilities while also being honest about what makes you unique as a candidate.

Example: “I believe I am the best candidate for this position because of my extensive experience managing teams in high-pressure environments. In my last role, I managed a team of 20 employees who were responsible for serving hundreds of customers each day. I have learned how to motivate my staff members and create a positive work environment where everyone feels comfortable asking questions or expressing concerns. I think these skills will be beneficial to your restaurant.”

Which restaurant management software programs are you comfortable using?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine your comfort level with the software they use in their restaurant. If you have experience using a specific program, share that information and explain why it’s beneficial. If you don’t have experience with the same program as the company, mention which programs you’re familiar with and how you would learn them if hired.

Example: “I’ve used Restaurant Manager Pro for several years now, so I’m very comfortable with its features. It allows me to track sales, inventory and customer feedback all from one place. This saves time when I need to pull up important reports or data during my shift. The system also has an app that lets me check on things while I’m away from work.”

What do you think is the most important trait for a successful restaurant general manager?

This question can help the interviewer determine your priorities and how you would approach a role as a restaurant general manager. When answering this question, it can be helpful to identify one or two traits that are important to you and explain why they’re important.

Example: “I think communication is the most important trait for a successful restaurant general manager. As a leader, I believe it’s essential to communicate with all staff members about any changes in policy or procedures. It’s also important to keep employees informed of their performance and provide constructive feedback when necessary. Communication helps me build trust with my team and allows them to feel comfortable asking questions or providing input.”

How often do you recommend updating a menu?

The interviewer may ask you this question to learn more about your creativity and how often you recommend changing the menu. You can answer by explaining what factors influence your decision to update a menu, such as customer feedback or seasonal changes.

Example: “I usually recommend updating a menu every six months because it gives customers enough time to try new dishes while also giving them an opportunity to revisit their favorites. I also like to change the menu seasonally so that we can highlight fresh ingredients and take advantage of produce at its peak. For example, in spring, I might add some lighter seafood dishes to our menu.”

There is a common complaint from customers about slow service. How would you address this?

General managers are responsible for ensuring that customers have a positive experience at their restaurant. Interviewers ask this question to see how you would handle customer complaints and ensure the quality of service in your restaurant. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to address slow service and improve it.

Example: “I think one of the most important things I can do when I hear about slow service is listen to the customer’s concerns. If they’re unhappy with something, I want to make sure I understand why. Once I know what the problem is, I will work with my team to find solutions. For example, if there is only one server on the floor during a rush, I may need to hire another person or train an employee to cover more tables.

Another thing I might do is check in with the servers to see if they need anything. Maybe they’re having trouble hearing the orders because of the noise or maybe they just need a break. Whatever the issue is, I want to be sure I’m addressing it as quickly as possible.”

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