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. As events ramp up throughout the year, hiring, training, and retaining staff can feel like a never-ending item on your to-do list. Turnover in the industry is high, so it’s crucial to onboard staff that will be able to support you during your busiest times of the year. 

As we head into the holiday season, it’s vital to hire people you can rely on for all the private events you’ll be running. If you’re doing some hiring, here are the questions you need to get to know a candidate. 

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 and feel free to work in the details they tell you into some of the following 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 feel free to ask any follow-up questions. 

So why do you want to work in the restaurant industry?

No matter what role you’re hiring for, if they’re going to represent your restaurant, you want to find dependable employees. There’s not 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 to 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 around 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 more 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?

You’re going to be investing lots of time and energy from multiple members of your team to get them up to speed. It’s always a good question to get to know their self-awareness 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….

It’s great to use situations that have happened at your restaurant. It’s more about seeing what their thought process is when situations arise. 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. And actually follow up with whom they give you to be able to cross-check some of their answers and experience. 

Why do you want to work here?

You’ve gotten the gist about them – if they’re someone you’re interested in moving forward with, this question helps give you an idea 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 and any other loose ends to tie up.  

These questions should help you get a sense of who they are and if they’d be a good fit for your team. If you’re hiring more staff for your events, make sure that everyone’s on the same page. With unlimited users, a transparent calendar, and easy team communication, Gather can keep everyone in the loop. Take a look today. 

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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