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Top 15 Assistant Restaurant Manager Interview Questions & How To Answer Them

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The restaurant industry is growing and it is projected to exceed more than $1 trillion in sales in 2024.

In the United States, the food service industry is the second largest private sector employer, employing close to 16 million people and adding about 200,000 jobs annually.

These positions can vary from entry-level roles like Barback and Dishwasher to everything like a Chef, Bartender or Restaurant Manager.

image showing how many people are employed by the restaurant industry

Assistant Restaurant Manager helps the Manager run the restaurant operations smoothly. To determine whether a candidate would be a good addition to your team, you want to ask about their experience in managing a restaurant.

That is why we created this guide to help you.

We’ve assembled a list of questions divided into three categories and provided you with example answers for each. They are questions about:

  • Skills and experience
  • Customer Service
  • Situational/Behavioral

1. Assistant Restaurant Manager Interview Questions About Skills & Experience

Assistant Restaurant Manager helps the Manager run the restaurant operations smoothly. To determine whether a candidate would be a good addition to your team, you want to ask about their skills and experience in managing a restaurant. A good Assistant Restaurant Manager will display the following skills:

  • Leadership: A good Assistant Restaurant Manager can effectively motivate and inspire teams to achieve goals and maintain high standards of performance.
  • Communication: They will have exceptional communication skills to effectively interact with staff, customers and upper management, ensuring alignment of goals and expectations from everyone involved.
  • Organizational skills: They possess excellent organizational abilities to manage multiple tasks, schedules and priorities efficiently in a fast-paced restaurant environment.
  • Customer focus: They prioritize customer satisfaction and strive to create positive dining experiences for guests.
  • Attention to detail: They pay close attention to health and safety regulations, ensuring a high standard of cleanliness, food quality and service consistency.

In this guide, we’ll look into the top Assistant Restaurant Manager interview questions, categorized into Skills and Experience, Customer Service and Situational/Behavioral, with examples and explanations of each.

Can you describe your experience in restaurant management?

For employers: This question will help you assess the candidate’s overall managerial experience. Try to determine how they handled various aspects of restaurant management such as staffing, inventory management, customer service and financial operations.

For applicants: Highlight your relevant experience in restaurant management, including any specific roles or responsibilities you’ve held, achievements and challenges you’ve overcome.

Example answer: I have X years of experience in restaurant management as an Assistant Restaurant Manager. I have overseen all aspects of restaurant operations, including staff training and supervision, inventory management and scheduling.

It was also my job to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations while maintaining high standards of food quality and consistency in providing exceptional service to customers.

How do you manage inventory?

For employers: This question assesses the candidate’s ability to effectively manage inventory. They should demonstrate skills for controlling costs and ensuring sufficient supplies for the restaurant’s daily operations, receiving, tracking and minimizing waste.

For applicants: Describe your inventory management process. Highlight the skills that help you streamline the process including ordering, receiving, tracking and minimizing waste.

Example answer: I implement a scientific method to inventory management, beginning with regular checks to monitor inventory tiers and identify any discrepancies. I use inventory management software such as Ordoro or Katana to track inventory movement, vicinity orders with suppliers and examine usage patterns. Additionally, I implement measures to limit waste and spoilage, such as FIFO (first in, first out) rotation and portion control.

Are Assistant Restaurant Manager salaries keeping up with living costs in your area?

How do you handle scheduling and staffing?

For employers: Use this question to assess the candidate’s experience with staffing and scheduling. Look for someone who can demonstrate an ability to effectively manage staffing needs and avoid staffing issues such as lack of staff which could affect the quality of service.

For applicants: Discuss your previous experience with scheduling and staffing needs and how you forecasted staffing needs, taking into account unexpected absences.

Example answer: I begin by analyzing historical data and current trends to accurately forecast staffing needs. When developing plans, I consider factors such as labor availability, skill levels and budget constraints.

I also maintain open communication with employees to manage scheduling conflicts and meet their needs whenever possible.

How do you ensure compliance with health and safety regulations?

For employers: This question will help you gauge the candidate’s knowledge on health and safety regulations and their ability to implement procedures that maintain compliance.

For applicants: Discuss your approach to ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations, including staff training, regular inspections and how you address violations.

Example answer: I make certain that all employees receive a thorough education on food protection practices, sanitation strategies and emergency protocols. I conduct daily inspections of the premises to identify and cope with any violations.

When I spot a violation, I take immediate action to rectify it and install measures to prevent it from happening again.

Can you discuss your experience with financial management, such as budgeting and cost control?

For employers: Use this question to evaluate the candidate’s skills in financial management such as budgeting and forecasting. Look for someone who demonstrates an ability to reduce the restaurant’s operational costs and strategies on how to do so.

For applicants: Highlight your experience with financial management with a focus on strategies that maximize profitability.

Example answer: In my previous role, I was in charge of managing the budget and executing strategies for optimal economic performance. I closely monitored expenses in an attempt to identify areas for improvement and maximize the restaurant’s profitability.

In one instance, I analyzed the menu and noticed that a particular imported seafood dish was not only costly but also not very popular among customers. I made the decision to replace it with a locally sourced seafood option, not only reducing ingredient costs but also resonating better with our regular guests.

2. Assistant Restaurant Manager Interview Questions About Customer Service

Research shows that 90% of restaurant-goers in the United States research a restaurant before dining there. It also shows that a single negative review can drive away 22% of the customers, while three negative reviews can push the number to 59%.

[Source: Food Grade Packaging]

Cleanliness, location and service are some of the main reasons that can influence a potential guest to skip your restaurant. That is why you want to hire someone who understands the importance of having a high standard for customer service.

This group of questions will help you assess the candidate’s ability to deliver exceptional customer service and enhance the overall customer experience.

How do you ensure high levels of customer satisfaction?

For employers: This question will help you assess the candidate’s customer-centric mindset and their ability to deliver excellent service. Look for a candidate that demonstrates an ability to remain composed in difficult situations and who can prioritize customer satisfaction in all scenarios.

For applicants: Highlight how you recognize the importance of excellent customer service and how you implement strategies to ensure you meet all the customers’ needs. Highlight your ability to deliver personal service and make guests feel valued.

Example answer: I prioritize careful and personalized service to ensure customer satisfaction. I greet customers warmly, listen carefully and address any concerns quickly and courteously.

I follow up with customers after they arrive to ensure their experience meets their expectations and gather feedback for continuous improvement.

Can you provide an example of a time when you successfully resolved a customer complaint?

For employers: This question will help you evaluate the candidate’s skills and ability to effectively resolve complaints, a skill crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For applicants: Demonstrate your ability to listen and empathize with customers, highlighting how you take proper steps to resolve any issues they are facing.

Example answer: There was a time when a customer expressed displeasure with their food due to a mistake with the order. I listened carefully to their concerns, sincerely apologized for the mistake and quickly arranged for another meal.

I also offered complimentary food as a goodwill gesture. The customer left satisfied, after which they returned to the restaurant as well.

How do you train and motivate staff to deliver excellent customer service?

For employers: This question will help you assess the applicant’s ability to inspire other team members to deliver exceptional customer service. Look for an individual that clearly communicates the expectations and holds themself accountable to the same standard when interacting with guests.

For applicants: Discuss your motivation strategies as well as how you set clear expectations and provide feedback and recognition.

Example answer: I believe in setting clear expectations and providing comprehensive training to equip employees with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles. I also believe in fostering a positive work culture based on mutual respect, teamwork and achievement recognition.

I try to lead by example and provide regular feedback and recognition, either to bring other team members’ attention to what needs to be improved or to compliment a job well done. I also hold myself accountable and lead by example—I practice what I preach and try to maintain professionalism when interacting with other employees while ensuring all guests have as pleasant an evening at the restaurant as possible.

How do you handle high-pressure situations during peak hours?

For employers: This question will help you evaluate the applicant’s ability to remain composed under pressure and ensure customer satisfaction during busy periods.

For applicants: Describe your approach during high-pressure situations, including strategies to effectively prioritize tasks, manage stress and maintain professionalism.

Example answer: During peak hours, I prioritize clear communication, effective teamwork and a positive attitude to ensure smooth operations. I delegate tasks effectively, anticipate potential challenges and proactively address any issues that arise.

I try to remain accessible to employees for support and guidance. By staying organized and focused, I help the team navigate busy periods successfully while delivering exceptional service to every customer.

What do you believe is the key to building rapport with customers and keeping them coming back?

For employers: Use this question to assess the applicant’s understanding of customer loyalty and their ability to forge lasting relationships that encourage repeat business.

For applicants: Discuss how you build relationships with the customers and emphasize factors such as attentiveness, personalization and consistency.

Example answer: In my experience, the key to building relationships with customers and driving loyalty lies in creating memorable experiences that resonate with them. I treat each client with genuine warmth and hospitality, and I believe in taking the time to listen to their preferences and offer personalized suggestions.

I strive to consistently provide exceptional service, whether it’s a client’s first visit or their 100th. By building trust and making customers feel valued and appreciated, I encourage repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

3. Situational/Behavioral Assistant Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

Use this set of questions to assess the candidate’s problem-solving skills and adaptability in real-life scenarios.

How do you handle a difficult guest?

For employers: This question will help you gauge the candidate’s ability to maintain professionalism in a challenging situation.

For applicants: Demonstrate how you remain professional and discuss strategies to diffuse intense situations. This includes listening and empathizing with the guest while remaining professional and addressing their concerns.

Example answer: I empathize with the guest and listen to their concerns. I try to diffuse the situation by offering a complimentary meal or by amending the situation some other way. If all else fails, I involve the manager to try and rectify the situation further.

How do you handle a situation where there is a conflict among staff members during a busy shift?

For employers: Use this question to assess the candidate’s ability to effectively maintain a positive work environment under pressure.

For applicants: Highlight your ability to successfully resolve conflicts among team members and mention the strategies you use to do so. Emphasize your ability to foster constructive dialogue and making sure that each team member is heard.

Example answer: When there is a conflict among staff members, I try to address the issue promptly to minimize disruptions to the restaurant’s operations. I gather the involved individuals and try to facilitate a constructive dialogue.  By actively listening to each side, I work to identify any underlying concerns and facilitate a resolution satisfactory to all parties involved.

Should establishments provide bonuses or shared profits with employees?

How do you handle situations where you observe a potential safety or security issue within the establishment?

For employers: This question will help you gauge the candidate’s ability to address safety and security within the restaurant, ensuring the well-being of customers and staff.

For applicants: Highlight the skills that make you reliable in potentially unsafe situations — emphasize your ability to observe, intervene and communicate with relevant individuals.

Example answer: To protect the safety of guests and employees, I respond right away when I see a possible security or safety concern within the establishment. Depending on the problem, I might step in right away to fix a spill or a malfunctioning piece of equipment, or I might escalate it to management or security staff for more help. In addition, I continue to be watchful and proactive in keeping an eye out for any possible threats to the overall operations of the restaurant.

Explain a situation where you had to use your problem-solving skills to address an issue with a customer or staff member.

For employers: Use this question to assess the applicant’s critical and creative thinking as well as their ability to resolve issues most efficiently.

For applicants: Describe a specific situation in which there was a problem with a customer or a staff member and how you resolved the issue.

Example answer: Once, a Server miscommunicated with the kitchen, causing a delay in taking a customer’s order. I immediately went to the customer, apologized for any inconvenience, gave them a free appetizer while they were waiting for their main dish and talked to the kitchen staff to prioritize this customer’s meal. The guest enjoyed the entire dining experience and expressed gratitude for the gift. They also came back to the restaurant at a later date.

Describe a time when you had to handle a delicate or confidential situation involving a customer or staff member.

For employers: Use this question to assess the candidate’s ability to navigate the complexity of interpersonal dynamics, ensuring the smooth operations of the restaurant in a discreet manner.

For applicants: Demonstrate your ability to handle sensitive situations with care and integrity. Show how you ensure the privacy of your colleagues, offering support while remaining professional in the work setting.

Example answer: I was once approached by an employee whose personal problems were getting in the way of their performance in the workplace. I paid close attention to their concerns and assured them of their privacy and confidentiality, understanding the gravity of the situation.  While maintaining professional boundaries, I referred them to the appropriate resources for help. Of course, everything was handled discretely and soon the employee returned to their optimal performance levels.

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How To Prepare for an Assistant Restaurant Manager Interview

Prepare for an Assistant Restaurant Manager interview by focusing on essential aspects both as a candidate and an interviewer.

As a candidate:

  • Familiarize yourself with the restaurant you are applying for. This includes the restaurant’s offerings, menu and service standards.
  • Prepare answers related to your restaurant managerial experience, including staff supervision, customer service and inventory management.
  • Highlight skills that would make you excel in this role like leadership, problem-solving, and the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
  • Stay updated on industry trends and relevant regulations that apply to your restaurant.

As an interviewer:

  • Prepare questions that assess the candidate’s abilities to manage restaurant operations such as communication, conflict-resolution and overseeing restaurant operations.
  • Add scenario-based questions that will help you gauge the candidate’s adaptability in various situations.
  • Create a welcoming atmosphere during the interview allowing the candidate to highlight their abilities in a stress-free environment.

How to Become an Assistant Restaurant Manager

Becoming an Assistant Restaurant Manager usually requires a combination of skills and experience.

Still, the best way to become an Assistant Restaurant Manager is to gain experience in various restaurant roles like Server, Host, Bartender or Cook. From there, you can take the below steps to advance your career and become an Assistant Restaurant Manager in a restaurant:

  • Complete relevant training or certifications: Completing a hospitality management certification program will help you gain valuable skills and knowledge for the Assistant Restaurant Manager role.
  • Seek advancement opportunities: Articulate your desires to advance in your career. Request more responsibilities and attend management training programs.
  • Build a network: Attend industry events and seek valuable mentorship opportunities.
  • Apply for Assistant Restaurant Manager positions: Gain skills and acquire connections. Then start applying to roles that you think you’d be a good fit for.
  • Prepare for interviews: Prepare the most common interview questions and do mock interviews. Be ready to discuss your skills and experience and highlight what makes you a good fit for the role you are applying.
  • Don’t stop learning: The restaurant industry is always changing and evolving. Subscribe to industry publications, attend workshops and seminars and stay updated on industry regulations.

Are Assistant Restaurant Managers Paid Well?

The average annual salary for Assistant Restaurant Managers can vary across different states due to several factors.

Explore the Assistant Restaurant Manager salary by state below:

[Calculated using Salary.com, ZipRecruiter and Talent.com data]

This map is interactive. Hover your mouse over different parts of the map to see detailed data. 

 

 

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