Interview

20 Restaurant Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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

Restaurant managers are responsible for the overall operations of a restaurant, from hiring and training staff to creating and enforcing policies to ensuring customer satisfaction. Restaurant manager job interviews will cover a wide range of topics, from your experience in the food industry to your leadership skills.

In order to ace your interview and get the job, you’ll need to be prepared to answer a range of restaurant manager interview questions. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common questions asked during a restaurant manager job interview, along with sample answers.

What experience do you have in the restaurant industry?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and experience. They want to know what you’ve learned from previous jobs, how you developed your skills and what you’re passionate about in the industry. When answering this question, think of a few things that have helped you succeed in the past. Consider including any awards or recognitions you’ve received for your work.

Example: “I started working in restaurants when I was 16 years old as a hostess. After two years, I became a server because I enjoyed interacting with customers. Eventually, I moved up to become a bartender where I learned how to make many different drinks. In my last position, I worked as a bar manager where I managed a team of bartenders and servers. I also created new cocktails and specials for our restaurant.”

What experience do you have in management?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level and how you’ve progressed in management. If you have no prior management experience, discuss what skills helped you become a manager. If you do have experience managing others, share what responsibilities you had as a manager.

Example: “I started my career as a server at a local restaurant where I worked for five years before moving to another restaurant where I became a hostess. After working there for two years, I was promoted to floor supervisor where I managed servers and bartenders. I stayed in that position for three years until I moved to my current role as a server at this restaurant.”

Why do you want to be a restaurant manager?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand your motivations for wanting this position. It’s important to be honest in your answer, but it can also be helpful to include a specific example of why you’re passionate about this career path.

Example: “I want to be a restaurant manager because I love working with people and helping them have an enjoyable experience at our establishment. In my last job as a server, I noticed that some customers were having trouble deciding what they wanted to order. So, I asked if they had any questions or needed recommendations from me. They said no, so I recommended three dishes based on their preferences and they ended up ordering all three. The next time they came back, they thanked me again for helping them make their decision.”

What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful restaurant manager?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities they’re looking for in a restaurant manager. Use your answer to highlight your management experience, communication skills and ability to work with others.

Example: “I think that the most important qualities for a successful restaurant manager are strong leadership skills, excellent communication skills and the ability to work well with others. A manager needs to be able to lead their team effectively while also being approachable and open to feedback from employees. I’ve always strived to develop these skills throughout my career as a server and now as a bartender because I believe it’s important to treat everyone fairly and respectfully.”

What do you think are the biggest challenges a restaurant manager faces?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your management style and how you would approach challenges in this role. Your answer should show that you are aware of common issues restaurant managers face, but also that you have strategies for overcoming them.

Example: “I think one of the biggest challenges restaurant managers face is hiring and training new employees. It’s important to find people who will be a good fit for the team and the restaurant as a whole, while also making sure they’re qualified for their position. I’ve found that creating an employee onboarding plan with clear expectations and goals helps me ensure that new hires feel supported and prepared for their job.”

Tell me about a time when you had to solve a problem in a restaurant.

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach challenges and solve problems. Use examples from your experience to highlight your critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities and leadership qualities.

Example: “In my previous role as a restaurant manager, I had an employee who was consistently late for work. This caused them to miss their shift change time, which disrupted other employees’ schedules. I spoke with this employee about the issue and learned that they were having transportation issues. We worked together to find a solution so that they could get to work on time while also maintaining their job.”

Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer or staff member.

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your conflict resolution skills. Use past experiences to highlight how you handled the situation and what steps you took to resolve it.

Example: “In my previous role as a restaurant manager, I had an employee who was constantly late for work. This made it difficult for them to complete their tasks on time, which affected other employees’ ability to do their job. After talking with the staff member several times, they still weren’t able to arrive at work on time. As a result, I decided to let them go from the company.”

Tell me about a time when you had to make a tough decision in a restaurant.

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of how you make decisions and what your thought process is. Use this opportunity to highlight your problem-solving skills, ability to think critically and leadership qualities.

Example: “When I was working as a server at a restaurant, we were having an especially busy night. One of our cooks called in sick, so I had to take over his station for the evening. This meant that I couldn’t be on my usual floor taking orders, which caused some customers to wait longer than normal for their food. I decided to have one of my servers cover me while I took care of the kitchen. It helped us keep up with the demand and ensured that all of our customers got their meals.”

What do you think is the key to creating a positive work environment in a restaurant?

A restaurant manager needs to be able to create a positive work environment for their employees. This is because the quality of an employee’s experience at work can affect how they interact with customers and vice versa. A hiring manager may ask this question to see if you have any ideas about how to make your team feel valued and appreciated. In your answer, try to explain what you think makes a good work environment and why it’s important.

Example: “I think creating a positive work environment starts with having high expectations but also being empathetic to the challenges that come with working in a restaurant. I believe that managers should always be available to talk to their staff members when they need help or advice. I also think it’s important to show appreciation for hard work by giving regular feedback and rewards.”

How do you handle stress while working in a fast-paced environment?

Working in a restaurant can be stressful, especially when you’re managing the staff. Employers ask this question to make sure you have strategies for dealing with stress and that you can keep your cool while working under pressure. In your answer, share two or three ways you manage stress. Try to choose methods that show you are organized and able to multitask.

Example: “I find that exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. When I’m feeling overwhelmed at work, I take five minutes to go outside and walk around the block. This helps me clear my mind and get back into work mode. Another thing I do is write down everything on my to-do list so I don’t forget anything. It’s much easier to stay calm when I know exactly what needs to get done.”

What would you do if you received complaints about the food or service in your restaurant?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle customer complaints and challenges. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills, communication abilities and leadership qualities.

Example: “If I received a complaint about the food or service in my restaurant, I would first apologize to the guest for their experience. Then, I would ask them what they ordered and if there was anything else that could have made their meal more enjoyable. After this, I would talk with my team members to find out what happened during the guest’s visit. If it seems like we are at fault, I would offer the guest a discount on their next visit.”

How would you deal with staff members who are not following company policies?

As a restaurant manager, you may need to discipline your staff members when they are not following company policies. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills needed to handle these situations effectively. In your answer, explain how you would approach this situation and what steps you would take to ensure that it does not happen again.

Example: “I would first speak with the employee privately about why their actions were inappropriate. I would then give them a warning about any consequences if they continue to break the rules. If they do not follow the rules after the second warning, I would fire them from the position. This is because I believe in having high standards for my employees and want to make sure everyone follows the same procedures.”

What would you do if you ran out of an ingredient for a dish on the menu?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle challenges in the workplace. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to adapt to unexpected situations.

Example: “If I ran out of an ingredient for a dish on the menu, I would first try to find a substitute that’s similar in taste and texture. If there isn’t a suitable alternative, I would talk with my team about what we could do to make the dish without the missing ingredient. For example, if we were out of chicken, I might suggest making a vegetarian version of the dish or changing the main protein to seafood.”

What would you do if a health inspector gave your restaurant a low rating?

An interviewer may ask this question to learn how you handle stressful situations. They want to know that you can remain calm and focused in a crisis, even if it’s one you didn’t cause. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to improve the restaurant’s rating.

Example: “If I received a low health inspection rating, I would first find out why we got the rating. If there was something minor like an employee forgetting to wash their hands, then I would give them additional training. However, if there were more serious issues, such as food safety concerns or unsanitary conditions, I would work with my team to make sure those problems are fixed before our next inspection.”

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when training new staff members?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach training new employees and how important it is to you. Your answer can also tell them about your management style, so be sure to explain what you think is most important when training staff members.

Example: “I believe that the most important thing to remember when training new staff members is to make sure they are comfortable with their job duties before letting them interact with customers. I always start by explaining exactly what my expectations are for each position and then provide plenty of opportunities for questions. Once I feel like they have a good understanding of their responsibilities, I allow them to work on their own while I observe.”

What do you think is the best way to motivate employees?

Motivation is an important skill for a restaurant manager. It helps you keep your employees happy and productive, which can help the business succeed. When answering this question, think about what motivates you as an employee. Consider sharing some of those strategies with the interviewer to show that you understand how they work.

Example: “I believe that motivation comes from within. I try to create an environment where my employees feel valued and appreciated. If they know that I appreciate their hard work, it’s easier for them to do well at their jobs. I also like to give small rewards to employees who go above and beyond. For example, if someone has a great idea, I’ll reward them with a gift card or free meal.”

What strategies do you have for increasing revenue in a restaurant?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you plan to increase sales and profits in their restaurant. Use examples from your experience that show your ability to generate revenue for a business.

Example: “I have several strategies I use to increase revenue in restaurants. One strategy is to create an atmosphere where customers want to spend more time at the restaurant, which can lead to them ordering more food and drinks. For example, when I worked as a server, I would make sure all of my tables had enough utensils, napkins and water glasses so they didn’t need anything else during their meal. This helped me build rapport with my customers and made them feel welcome, which encouraged them to come back.”

What ideas do you have for marketing a restaurant?

Marketing is an important part of a restaurant’s success. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have any ideas for marketing their restaurant and how you would implement them. Use your answer to highlight your creativity, communication skills and ability to work with others.

Example: “I think social media is a great way to market a restaurant because it allows you to reach so many people at once. I would create a Facebook page that highlights the best dishes on the menu and offers discounts or coupons to entice new customers. I would also use Instagram to share photos of the food and decor to help attract more customers.”

How would you go about creating a new menu for a restaurant?

This question can help an interviewer understand your creativity and problem-solving skills. Use examples from past experiences to highlight how you would create a new menu for a restaurant, including the steps you would take to ensure it’s successful.

Example: “I would first research what other restaurants are doing in terms of their menus. I would also talk with customers about what they like and dislike about the current menu. Then, I would meet with my team to discuss ideas we have for new dishes. After that, I would test out some of our ideas by making them at home or ordering them at other restaurants. Finally, once I feel confident in our new menu, I would introduce it to the public.”

What are your thoughts on healthy eating and how it relates to the restaurant industry?

This question is a great way to see how you feel about the current state of the restaurant industry and its relationship with healthy eating. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of offering healthy options on your menu, as well as educating customers about what’s in their food.

Example: “I think it’s important for restaurants to offer healthy options because many people are looking for healthier ways to eat. I also believe that we have an obligation to educate our customers about what they’re ordering so they can make informed decisions. For example, if someone orders a burger without the bun, I’ll let them know that the patty itself contains gluten. This helps them make a more educated decision.”

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