Interview

13 Waiter Interview Questions and Answers

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

Waiting tables is hard work. It’s also one of the most common ways to start your career in the food service industry. Waiting tables can be a great way to learn the ins and outs of the business, and it can also lead to promotions to more lucrative positions such as becoming a head waiter, restaurant manager, or even owning your own restaurant.

But before you can start your career in the food service industry, you need to ace the interview. One of the best ways to do that is to be prepared for the most common waiter interview questions. In this guide, we’ll provide you with some tips on how to answer those questions, as well as a list of questions that you may be asked during your interview.

What made you choose to apply for this waiter job?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your intentions for applying. They want to know if you are passionate about the job and understand what it entails. When answering, be honest about why you applied. If you have experience in similar roles, mention that instead of focusing on the specific restaurant.

Example: “I chose to apply for this waiter position because I love working with food and drinks. I’ve been a server at several restaurants over the past few years, so I am familiar with how things work here. I also really enjoy interacting with customers and making sure they’re having a good time. I think my skills as a server would make me an excellent addition to the team.”

What do you think is the key to working well with other members of the waitstaff?

This question can help interviewers understand how you work with others and your interpersonal skills. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific example of when you worked well with other members of the waitstaff or another team.

Example: “I think the key to working well with other members of the waitstaff is being able to communicate effectively. I have had many experiences where I was unsure about something but didn’t speak up because I thought someone else would handle it. In those situations, I learned that if I don’t ask for clarification or assistance, then no one will know there’s an issue. Now, I make sure to always ask questions so that everyone has all the information they need.”

What would you do if confronted with an unhappy customer?

Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle conflict. They want to know that you can remain calm and professional when faced with a challenging situation. In your answer, demonstrate that you are willing to go the extra mile for customers even if they’re upset.

Example: “If I encountered an unhappy customer, I would first try my best to understand what was wrong. If it was something I could fix or change, I would do so immediately. If not, I would apologize and offer them a discount on their next visit. Even if someone is upset, I believe that remaining polite and respectful is important.”

How would you describe your own personal dining style – formal, casual, or somewhere in between?

Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you would fit in with the other wait staff. They want to know if you will be able to work well with others, so they are looking for a positive answer that shows you can get along with others.

Example: “I am somewhere between formal and casual. I like to dress up when going out to eat at nice restaurants but also enjoy wearing jeans and a t-shirt when eating at casual places. I think it’s important to respect the restaurant’s dress code while still being comfortable.”

If a customer asked you about a dish that wasn’t on the menu, how would you respond?

This question can help the interviewer assess your customer service skills and ability to think on your feet. Use examples from previous experiences where you were able to successfully answer a guest’s questions about a dish that wasn’t listed on the menu or recommend an alternative dish based on their preferences.

Example: “If a customer asked me about a dish that isn’t on the menu, I would first ask them what they like to eat and if there are any dietary restrictions. Then, I would check with my manager to see if we had any similar dishes in our inventory. If not, I would explain to the customer that unfortunately we don’t have that particular dish but I could offer them another dish that is similar.”

What do you think is the most important factor in creating a positive dining experience for customers?

This question can help interviewers understand your perspective on customer service and how you would approach the job. Use examples from previous experience to explain what you think is most important in creating a positive dining experience for customers.

Example: “I believe that the most important factor in creating a positive dining experience is making sure that I am attentive to my tables’ needs throughout their entire visit. This means being friendly, helpful and knowledgeable about the menu items and specials. It also means checking back with customers often enough so they don’t have to wait too long for anything but not so frequently that it becomes annoying. When I was working at a restaurant as a server, I noticed that many of our guests appreciated when we checked in with them after delivering their food to make sure everything was okay.”

What would you say is your greatest strength as a waiter?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your personality and how you would fit in with their team. They want to know what makes you unique, so be sure to answer honestly. When answering this question, think of a specific skill that you have as a waiter. You can also talk about a time when you used that skill to help the restaurant or customers.

Example: “My greatest strength is my ability to multitask. I am always able to keep track of many orders at once while still providing excellent customer service. For example, one time there was a large group of people who all ordered different things. I was able to remember everyone’s order without writing it down and deliver each dish at the right time. The customers were very happy with their meals.”

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

Working as a waiter can be a physically and emotionally demanding job. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re prepared for the challenges of working in such a role. In your answer, explain that you are willing to work long hours if it means helping customers have an enjoyable dining experience.

Example: “I am definitely comfortable with working long hours. I know how important it is to provide excellent service to our customers, so I’m happy to stay late or come in early to ensure everyone has a great time at our restaurant. I also understand that sometimes we need to work on holidays, so I’m ready to do whatever it takes to help our business succeed.”

Do you have any questions for me about the waiter job or our company?

Interviewers often ask this question to see if you have done your research on the company and job. They want to know that you are genuinely interested in working for them, so it’s important to come prepared with a few questions about their business or restaurant.

Example: “I was impressed by how many awards your restaurant has won, and I would love to learn more about what makes your food so special. Also, I noticed that you offer a lot of vegetarian options on your menu. I am a vegetarian myself, so I’m curious as to why you decided to make that decision. Lastly, I noticed that you also have gluten-free options. I am celiac, so I am wondering if you can tell me how you ensure those meals are safe for people like me.”

Can you provide an example of a time when you went above and beyond to provide excellent customer service?

Interviewers ask this question to learn more about your customer service skills and how you can apply them in a restaurant setting. When answering, it’s important to highlight the specific actions you took that helped provide excellent customer service.

Example: “In my previous role as a waiter at a high-end steakhouse, I noticed one of our customers was having trouble deciding what to order for dinner. After asking if he needed any help, he told me he wasn’t sure what cut of meat he wanted. I asked him some questions about his preferences and then suggested a few different cuts of meat based on his answers. He ended up ordering a filet mignon, which is one of our most popular dishes.”

What do you believe are the biggest challenges that come with working as a waiter?

This question can help an interviewer understand your perspective on the job and how you might approach challenges that come with it. Use this opportunity to highlight any skills or experiences that make you a strong candidate for the position, such as your ability to multitask or your communication skills.

Example: “Waiting tables is one of the most challenging jobs I’ve ever had because there are so many things going on at once. You have to be able to communicate clearly with customers, remember orders and deliver food quickly while also ensuring that everyone’s needs are met. However, I find these challenges motivating because they give me opportunities to use my organizational and multitasking skills.”

Do you have any experience working in a fast-paced or high-volume restaurant?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience working in a busy restaurant and how well you perform under pressure. Use your answer to highlight any skills or experiences that might be relevant to this role, such as multitasking, time management or communication.

Example: “I worked at a high-volume restaurant for three years where we were consistently busy during peak hours. I learned how to manage my time efficiently while still providing excellent customer service. In fact, I was promoted to server after only one year because of my ability to work quickly but also provide quality service.”

What do you think is the key to maintaining a positive attitude while working long hours on your feet?

A positive attitude is an important quality for any waiter to have. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of having a good attitude and how it can benefit your job performance. In your answer, explain that a positive attitude helps you stay motivated throughout your shift. Share some strategies you use to maintain a positive outlook even when working long hours or dealing with difficult customers.

Example: “I think maintaining a positive attitude is one of the most important qualities a waiter can have. When I’m in a good mood, I find that I am more patient with my customers and coworkers. This makes me better at my job because I am able to provide excellent customer service while also being friendly and helpful to my coworkers.”

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