Interview

16 Server Interview Questions and Answers

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

Working as a server in a restaurant, hotel, or other hospitality setting can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the service industry. Servers are the face of the hospitality industry, and they often have the opportunity to interact with customers and learn their names. They also have a unique opportunity to learn about the guests’ preferences and make suggestions for their next visit.

But before you can start working as a server, you’ll need to go through a job interview. In this guide, we’ll provide you with some tips for preparing for common server interview questions. We’ll also give you a few sample questions and answers to help you get started.

Why do you want to work at this restaurant?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are a good fit for their restaurant. It also helps them determine if your goals align with the restaurant’s mission statement. When preparing for this question, think about what attracted you to working at this particular establishment. Consider mentioning any aspects of the job listing that appealed to you or how your skills match up with the position requirements.

Example: “I applied for this position because I was drawn to the restaurant’s commitment to quality service. I have several years of experience as a server, so I am confident in my ability to provide excellent customer service. I would love to work here because I feel like I could really make an impact on the restaurant’s reputation.”

Are you looking for full or part-time work?

Employers ask this question to determine if you are flexible with your schedule. If you’re looking for full-time work, explain that you would be available to work any shifts the restaurant needs. If you’re only looking for part-time work, let them know what days and times you’re available to work.

Example: “I’m currently looking for a full-time position. I am open to working any shift as long as it fits into my schedule. I have worked in restaurants where I had to work every day of the week, so I understand how important it is to have reliable employees.”

What types of restaurants have you worked in?

This question can help an interviewer determine if your experience is similar to the type of restaurant you’re interviewing for. It’s important to be honest about what types of restaurants you’ve worked in, but it’s also helpful to mention any differences between those and the one you’re applying to.

Example: “I have worked in both casual and fine dining restaurants. In my last position at a fine dining establishment, I was responsible for helping customers choose their meals from our menu and answering questions about ingredients or special requests. At my previous casual restaurant job, I helped customers decide on their meal by recommending popular dishes and explaining how they were prepared.”

Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work and how you fixed it.

This question is a great way to learn more about how you respond to challenges. It can also help employers see that you are willing to take responsibility for your mistakes and learn from them. When answering this question, it can be helpful to focus on the steps you took to fix the mistake and what you learned from the experience.

Example: “When I first started working as a server, I was so focused on getting all of my tables’ orders right that I forgot to bring one of my customers their check. They were in a rush, so they left without paying. I realized my mistake when I went to close out their bill at the end of the night. I immediately called the customer and apologized. They understood and agreed to come back to the restaurant to pay. From then on, I made sure to always double-check my work before closing out checks.”

What is your least favorite thing about serving customers?

This question is a great way to see how you react to challenges in the workplace. It also allows employers to understand what aspects of serving customers you enjoy and which ones you don’t. When answering this question, it’s important to be honest about your feelings while still being respectful.

Example: “My least favorite thing about serving customers is when they are rude or disrespectful. I know that sometimes people have bad days, but I always try my best to make sure everyone has a good experience at our restaurant. If someone is rude to me, I will do my best to remain calm and treat them with respect. I believe that if you treat others well, they will treat you well.”

How do you build rapport with new customers?

When you start a new job, it’s important to make customers feel welcome and comfortable. Employers ask this question to see if you have strategies for making customers feel at ease. In your answer, share two or three ways that you build rapport with new customers. Explain how these methods help you create positive experiences for customers.

Example: “I find that the best way to get to know new customers is by listening to them. I try to ask open-ended questions about their day and what they like about our restaurant. This helps me learn more about each customer so I can provide better service. Another strategy I use is remembering details about my customers. If I remember someone’s name, I can greet them by it when they come in. It makes them feel special and appreciated.”

How do you remember orders?

This question can help interviewers understand how you prioritize tasks and manage your time. Use examples from previous experiences to explain how you remember orders, customer preferences and other details that may be important for your job.

Example: “I use a system of color coding to keep track of customers’ orders. For example, if I’m waiting on a family with two children, I’ll code the father’s meal as blue, the mother’s meal as red and the kids’ meals as yellow. This way, when they come back to the table, I can easily recall their orders. If there are multiple people at the table, I’ll also add numbers to each person’s meal so I know who ordered what.”

What’s a time you went above and beyond in your job?

This question is a great way to show your potential employer that you’re willing to go the extra mile for their business. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think of an example from your previous job or even one from a past internship.

Example: “At my last restaurant job, I was working as a server and bartender at the same time. One night, we were really busy and our bartender got sick. I had to take over his duties while still taking care of all my tables. It was a lot of work, but I managed to get everything done without any mistakes. The manager told me how impressed he was with my hard work.”

How well can you handle multiple customers at once in a fast paced environment?

This question is a great way to test your multitasking skills. As a server, you will often have multiple customers at once and need to be able to handle their orders quickly while also ensuring they are happy with the service they receive. Your answer should show that you can multitask effectively and prioritize tasks in order of importance.

Example: “I am very good at handling multiple customers at once because I know how important it is to make sure each customer receives excellent service. In my previous role as a server, I would take care of one table at a time, starting with the most urgent needs first. For example, if someone needed their food or drink right away, I would get that out for them before moving on to another task like taking an order from another customer.”

What would you do if a customer was rude to you?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle difficult situations. They may want to know that you’re willing to stand up for yourself and your coworkers when necessary. In your answer, try to show the interviewer that you have self-confidence and are willing to defend yourself if needed.

Example: “I would first ask myself why they were being rude. If it was because of a mistake I made, I would apologize and make sure to correct the situation as quickly as possible. However, if they were being rude simply because they wanted to be, I would politely tell them that their behavior is unacceptable and refuse to serve them any more drinks or food until they change their attitude.”

What would you do if a manager asked you to work overtime?

Working overtime is a common part of the restaurant industry. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re willing to work extra hours when needed. In your answer, explain that you would be happy to do so as long as it’s within reason. Explain that you understand there are times when managers need to ask their employees for help.

Example: “I’m always willing to work overtime if it means helping my team get through a busy night. However, I also know that sometimes we have to work late or come in early because our manager needs us to cover shifts. I am flexible and understand that these things happen. As long as they don’t happen too often, I can handle working overtime.”

How do you manage stress?

Working as a server can be stressful. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the skills and techniques needed to manage stress in the workplace. In your answer, explain how you stay calm under pressure. Share two or three strategies that help you remain focused on your work even when things get busy.

Example: “I find deep breathing exercises to be very helpful for managing stress. When I feel overwhelmed at work, I take a few minutes to close my eyes and focus on my breath. This helps me relax and refocus on what I need to do next. Another strategy I use is positive self-talk. If I start to worry about something, I remind myself that everything will be okay. Reminding myself of these facts usually makes me feel more confident and ready to tackle whatever comes my way.”

What would you do if a table wasn’t happy with their meal?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle customer complaints. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to make customers happy.

Example: “If a table wasn’t happy with their meal, I would first apologize for the inconvenience. Then, I would ask what they didn’t like about it so that I could fix the issue or replace the meal. If there was nothing wrong with the food but they weren’t satisfied, I would offer them a discount on their next visit. I believe in making sure my guests are happy at all times.”

What does good customer service mean to you?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you define good customer service and whether your definition aligns with their restaurant’s. Use examples from previous experiences to explain what makes for a positive customer experience, including how you provide it.

Example: “Good customer service means that I am attentive to my guests’ needs and make sure they have an enjoyable dining experience. In my last position as a server, I noticed one of our regular customers was in the restaurant without her husband. I asked if she would like me to bring him something while she waited for her meal, and she said no but appreciated the offer. When her food arrived, I brought him his usual dish on a separate plate so he could enjoy it when he returned home.”

What is your favorite food on our menu?

This question is a great way to see if you have done your research on the restaurant. It also shows that you are passionate about food and can connect with customers who share similar tastes. When answering this question, pick something from the menu that you would order yourself.

Example: “I love the chicken parmesan here. I think it’s one of the best dishes because it has so much flavor without being too heavy. The pasta is cooked perfectly, and the sauce is just right. I’ve had some places where they use too much cheese or not enough sauce, but this place really gets it right.”

Do you have any knowledge about wine?

This question is often asked by employers to see if you have any wine knowledge. If you are interviewing for a fine dining restaurant, it’s likely that the employer will want you to know about different types of wines and how they pair with certain foods. You can answer this question by telling them what you know about wine or by asking them what type of wine they serve at their restaurant.

Example: “I do have some basic knowledge about wine. I’ve taken several classes on pairing food with wine and which wines go best with various meals. I also know quite a bit about the different grapes used in making wine.”

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