Interview

10 Waitress Interview Questions and Answers

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

Waitressing is a customer service-oriented job where you’re responsible for providing great service and ensuring that customers have a great experience. Waitresses are also responsible for taking orders, delivering food, and cleaning up after customers.

If you’re applying for a waitressing job, you’ll likely face some interview questions about your experience waitressing in the past. You may also be asked about your customer service skills and your ability to work under pressure.

In this guide, we’ve compiled a list of common waitressing interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

What do you think are the most important attributes for a successful waitress?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you have experience in this role and can identify what makes a good waitress. You can also use your answer to highlight any skills or experiences that make you a strong candidate for the job.

Example: “I think the most important attributes for a successful waitress are communication, organization and multitasking abilities. As a server, I need to be able to communicate with my customers clearly so they understand me and I understand their needs. I also need to be organized so I can keep track of orders and payments efficiently. Finally, I need to be able to multitask because there’s always something going on at work, whether it’s taking orders, bringing food or cleaning up.”

What do you think makes a great customer service experience?

Interviewers may ask this question to see if you have the same ideas about customer service as they do. They want to know that you can provide a positive experience for their customers and help them achieve their goals. In your answer, try to highlight some of the most important aspects of great customer service.

Example: “I think a great customer service experience starts with friendly and attentive wait staff. When I am in a restaurant, I want to feel like my server is there to help me however they can. I also appreciate when servers are knowledgeable about the menu and able to make recommendations based on my preferences. Finally, I love it when servers remember what I ordered last time and greet me by name.”

Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer?

Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle challenging situations. They want to know that you can remain calm and professional when faced with a difficult customer. In your answer, try to focus on the steps you took to resolve the situation.

Example: “I once had a customer who was very rude to me. I remained calm and smiled at him as he spoke. When he left, I told my manager about what happened so they could keep an eye out for any similar behavior from him in the future. The next time he came into the restaurant, my manager sat him at a different table where one of our other waitresses served him. He never acted up again.”

Can you describe how you handle it when multiple demands are placed on your time?

As a server, you may be responsible for taking orders from multiple tables at once. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle multitasking and prioritize your tasks effectively. In your answer, explain how you plan out your time so that you’re able to complete all of your duties in a timely manner.

Example: “I find it helpful to write down the order as I hear it. This way, I don’t forget any details when I move on to the next table. When I have several tables at once, I try to take care of the most complicated or largest orders first. This helps me get those customers their food sooner, which makes them happier and frees up more time to focus on smaller orders.”

Tell us about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer.

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your customer service skills. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer and how that helped them or made their experience more positive.

Example: “I had a regular customer who came in every day at lunchtime. One day, she was running late and I noticed her order hadn’t been placed yet. I took care of placing her order before my other tables so she could have her food as soon as possible. She really appreciated it and told me she would come back later that week with some friends. It was nice knowing that I made her day a little bit brighter.”

How do you stay calm under pressure?

As a server, you may encounter situations where customers are upset or impatient. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to stay calm and provide excellent customer service in these situations. In your answer, share two or three strategies that help you remain calm under pressure. Try to relate them back to serving customers.

Example: “I find deep breathing exercises to be very helpful when I’m feeling stressed. When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I take a few moments to close my eyes and focus on my breath. This helps me get centered and ready to face whatever situation is at hand. Another thing I do is try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. If they’re upset, it’s usually because they need something from me. By taking a moment to understand their needs, I can better meet them.”

Can you describe a time when you had to deal with a customer complaint?

As a server, you may encounter customers who are unhappy with their experience. Employers ask this question to make sure that you have the skills needed to diffuse difficult situations and resolve customer complaints. In your answer, share an example of how you handled a complaint in the past. Explain what steps you took to solve the problem and ensure the customer was happy with the outcome.

Example: “When I worked at my previous restaurant, I had a customer who ordered a steak but didn’t like it when it arrived. The customer sent it back to me, and I offered to replace it or give them something else off the menu. They decided they wanted another steak, so I prepared one for them and made sure they were happy with it before leaving the table.”

Tell us about a time when you had to upsell a customer.

Upselling is a common practice in the restaurant industry. It’s when you encourage customers to purchase more expensive items or add-ons to their order. Upselling can be an important part of your job as a server, so employers want to make sure you’re comfortable with this task. In your answer, explain how you would approach upselling and what strategies you use to convince customers to spend more money.

Example: “I think it’s important to be honest with customers about why I’m suggesting something new. For example, if I see that they have ordered a side salad but haven’t yet received their meal, I might ask them if they are still interested in ordering a full entrée. This way, they know that I am not trying to rush them into making a decision before they are ready.”

What do you do if you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question?

As a server, you may encounter questions that you don’t know the answer to. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the confidence and ability to find the answers when needed. In your answer, explain how you would go about finding the information. Show them that you are willing to put in the effort to learn more about their menu items or restaurant policies.

Example: “If I didn’t know the answer to a customer’s question, I would politely tell them that I am not 100% certain of the answer but will do my best to find out for them. Then, I would immediately seek out another employee who might be able to help me with the answer. If they were unable to provide an answer, I would look online for the information. I would also try to remember what the customer asked so that I could relay the information back to them as soon as I found it.”

What do think is the most important thing to remember while working as a waitress?

This question is an opportunity to show the interviewer that you understand what it takes to be a good waitress. You can answer this question by explaining one or two things you think are most important for waitresses to remember and how you implement them in your work.

Example: “The most important thing I think waitresses should remember is their customers’ orders. It’s easy to get distracted when working as a server, but remembering orders is essential because it helps us provide better service. In my previous job, I used a note-taking app on my phone to remind me of all the orders I had so I could check with each table before leaving to see if they needed anything else.”

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