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Find The Right Staff with These Restaurant Interview Questions

By Katy Mullet | 3 min read

According to Toast’s Restaurant Success in 2019 report, 51% of restaurant professionals ranked hiring staff as a top challenge. You’re already busy with day-to-day functions and special events, so hiring, training and retaining staff can feel like a never-ending cycle. Turnover in the industry is high, but you can mitigate turnover at your venue hiring reliable, motivated staff members. One surefire way to make hire great employees? Ask the right interview questions. 

Here are a few questions and topics to cover when interviewing potential staff members.

Restaurant Interview Questions 


Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

Before you dive in, give them a chance to warm up a little bit. Pay attention to what they say and try to work the details they give into your follow-up questions. 

Let’s talk about your experience at…

Look at their resume and ask a specific question about their experience– even if it’s not in the restaurant industry. See what comes to mind for the candidate first, and ask follow-up questions if you need clarity on an answer. 

Why do you want to work in the restaurant industry?

No matter what role you’re hiring for, you want to find dependable employees to represent your restaurant. There isn’t necessarily a wrong answer here, unless they can’t answer at all. It might help to poll some of your most reliable staff on why they want to be in the restaurant industry, and then look for similar answers. 

How would your best friend describe you?

Get an idea of who they are outside of work. Another great question here would be about what they like to do in their free time. If they’re interviewing for a front of the house position, you want to make sure they can chat and connect with guests.

How would your last boss describe you?

On a professional note, it’s a good idea to hear about strengths, weaknesses and how positively or negatively they talk about a past employer. 

How do you learn best?

Your team is going to invest time and energy to get a new hire up to speed. It’s helpful to know their learning style so you can tailor training to their strengths. 

 Tell me about a time you… 

These questions are great if they have experience in the industry. It will give you an idea about how they deal with challenging situations. Some examples might be “dealt with a conflict with a manager, and how did you resolve it?” or “had a guest complain, and what did you do to make it right?” 

What would you do if….

Present the interviewee with actual situations that have happened at your restaurant. Questions like this help you see how they think in different scenarios. Some examples could be “a guest left a negative review mentioning your name?” or “a guest at a private event you were working had too much to drink?” 

Who can I talk to as a reference?

Make sure to make it clear you’re looking for someone they worked for or with– not just a friend or family member. Remember to actually follow up with the contact they give you in order to cross-check some of their answers and experience. 

Why do you want to work here?

Now that you’ve gotten to know them– if they’re someone you’re interested in moving forward with, this question will tell you if they’re interested in moving forward as well. 

What questions do you have for me?

Just like you’re interviewing them, they’re interviewing you and your restaurant. See if there’s anything you haven’t covered or if they have any concerns.  

These restaurant interview questions should help you get a sense of who the candidate is and if they’d be a good fit for your team.

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Katy Mullet
Content Marketing Manager

I'm the Content Marketing Manager here at Gather. Outside of writing and creating campaigns, I love to try new restaurants here in Atlanta or wherever I'm traveling.

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