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Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

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Job interviews are a tough ordeal for employers and applicants alike. To help both, we have compiled a list of the top 20 restaurant manager interview questions and responses.

In each question, we examine what an employer should look for in a response and provide guidance on how a candidate can answer to increase their chances of getting a restaurant manager job.

Find the right candidate for your position or land the role of a restaurant manager, one of the best-paid jobs in the restaurant industry!

20 Restaurant Manager Interview Questions Employers Should Ask

We have drawn up a list of 20 questions employers should ask during an interview. From soft skills to specialized experience, these questions will help you identify the candidates who best fit your business.

1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Look for a candidate who shares specific qualities and experiences, including relevant industry experience, leadership skills and a passion for the hospitality sector.

In their answer, the ideal candidate should also display a strong work ethic and a desire to continue learning and growing in their role.

2. What kind of work environment do you prefer?

A strong candidate should express a preference for a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, one that demands attention to detail and teamwork.

They should be comfortable working in a high-pressure setting and be able to make quality, on-the-spot decisions.

Most of all, a prospective candidate needs to express a willingness to motivate their staff and help them work efficiently to ensure customer satisfaction.

3. What do you know about our restaurant?

Look for candidates who demonstrate knowledge of your restaurant’s menu, ambiance and target customer base.

They should be aware of at least some recent reviews, awards or press releases. This shows that the candidate has done their research and is interested in the specific restaurant they are interviewing for.

4. Why did you apply for this position at our restaurant?

As this is one of the most important restaurant manager interview questions, pay close attention to candidates who did their research.

They should speak to your restaurant’s specific qualities and reputation that drew them to apply, such as its commitment to sustainability, locally sourced ingredients or special events, such as fundraisers or theme parties.

5. What are your strengths as a restaurant manager?

The ideal candidate should possess strong leadership skills, the ability to multitask and excellent communication skills.

They should be able to work well under pressure and have experience managing and motivating a team. A successful candidate should also possess strong organizational skills, and the ability to problem-solve quickly and effectively.

6. What are your weaknesses?

Look for applicants who are able to identify areas for improvement and be honest about their weaknesses.

Weaknesses may include a lack of experience in a particular area or difficulty managing certain personality types.

Most importantly, the candidate should be able to speak to how they are working to improve in these areas, such as through continuing education or seeking feedback from their team.

7. How would you handle a customer complaint about a staff member’s behavior?

This is a kind of control question. Asking for an example helps you check the applicant’s experience and resourcefulness.

Look for a customer-centric approach, conflict resolution skills and commitment to maintaining a pleasant dining experience.

8. Can you give an example of how you resolved a conflict between team members in the past? What was the outcome?

This question can help you assess the candidate’s conflict resolution skills and ability to effectively manage team dynamics.

An ideal answer would demonstrate the candidate’s ability to remain calm and neutral in a conflict and implement a solution that is fair and satisfactory to everyone involved.

9. How have you handled a mistake in a previous position?

The applicant should demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their mistake, be proactive in finding a solution and communicate effectively with their team and any affected customers.

They should also describe any preventative measures they put in place to ensure the mistake doesn’t happen again.

10. What do you believe are the most important qualities a person needs to succeed in this role?

Another control question helps you determine whether or not the candidate understands the core values of a restaurant manager position for your business.

You can also vent out the candidates who didn’t read the job description carefully.

11. What is your favorite part of managing a restaurant?

Look for a passion for the industry and a desire to contribute to the restaurant’s success in the future.

The ideal candidate can contribute to your restaurant’s bottom line with their unique value as a leader and a person.

12. Are you able to work weekend/holiday/night shifts?

This question helps you eliminate candidates whose availability is incompatible with your restaurant’s schedule.

A viable candidate should be available when the restaurant needs them, as this is a critical aspect of the role.

Additionally, they should be able to plan their personal life around their work schedule, ensuring that they can meet their work commitments consistently.

13. How do you ensure that your restaurant meets all health and safety standards?

A restaurant manager’s ability to keep the staff and the restaurant itself in check is vital. The owner is liable for any health or safety violations, but most of all, the staff and the guests must be protected.

Look for answers that demonstrate an understanding of relevant health and safety regulations and an ability to implement and enforce protocols effectively.

14. What is your experience with restaurant automation tools as a restaurant manager?

It’s important to find candidates who are, if not familiar with modern software you might use, at least willing to learn quickly.

The ideal candidate should have experience implementing these tools to improve efficiency, reduce wait times and enhance the overall customer experience.

Ask for specific examples of how they’ve used the automation tool in past jobs or learned to use a similar one.

15. What do you think are the biggest industry trends and the challenges restaurants are facing today?

This question can help you determine whether the applicant is able to speak to the biggest challenges restaurants face today.

Look for specific examples of the latest restaurant industry trends. See if they understand the specific restaurant challenges that can impact the business.

Ideally, an applicant has specific examples of how they have addressed these challenges, such as creating new menu items that appeal to changing consumer trends.

16. What is your approach to managing employee performance in a restaurant setting?

Great responses might include elements such as setting clear expectations, providing regular feedback and coaching, recognizing and rewarding good performance and offering opportunities for growth and development.

17. How do you handle inventory management in a restaurant?

This question highlights the applicant’s knowledge of best practices for inventory management, as well as attention to detail and organization skills.

Good responses might include elements such as conducting regular inventory audits, tracking food waste and implementing systems for ordering and receiving supplies.

18. Can you share your proudest moment working in a restaurant?

This answer should be specific and meaningful—it’s a great opportunity for the applicant to showcase their passion for the role.

Examples may include successful staff training or development or handling a difficult situation with grace and professionalism.

The candidate should also explain why this moment was important to them and how it demonstrates their abilities as a restaurant manager.

19. How do you keep your team motivated during both busy, stressful shifts and slow, boring shifts?

This question can help you assess the candidate’s ability to manage and motivate a team.

Look for answers that demonstrate strong leadership skills, an understanding of employee needs and the ability to maintain a positive team culture.

20. Why should we hire you?

This question helps you assess whether the candidate has carefully evaluated both the restaurant’s way of business and how they fit the part.

They should demonstrate why they are uniquely qualified for the role and what they bring to the table, including increasing revenue, improving customer satisfaction and developing staff.

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How to Answer Restaurant Manager Interview Questions + Sample Responses [For Applicants]

Getting ready for an interview for a restaurant job? Check out the top 20 restaurant manager interview questions with helpful tips on how to navigate them.

Your answers should accurately reflect your own experience and the value you bring to the table, but we’ve included some sample responses to help you get started.

1. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

When asked about yourself, you should focus on your background as a restaurant manager. Highlight your experience, leadership skills and passion for the industry.

Sample response: “I have been in the restaurant industry for over 10 years, working my way up from a server to a restaurant manager. I am passionate about providing excellent customer service and creating a welcoming atmosphere for all guests.

I see a stellar career path in the restaurant business in the future, and I work hard to accomplish this. Outside of work, I enjoy trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes at home.”

2. What kind of work environment do you prefer?

Talk about the importance of teamwork, clear communication and a positive attitude among staff members.

Sample response: “I am an open person that loves a challenge, so I prefer a fast-paced work environment where I can use my organizational and leadership skills to keep things running smoothly.

I enjoy working with a diverse team and understand the importance of creating an environment where everyone is committed to providing the best possible service to customers. This helps us all thrive.”

3. What do you know about our restaurant?

Try to demonstrate your research into the restaurant’s menu, reputation and unique selling points.

Sample response: “I have done some research on your restaurant, and I am impressed by the quality of the food and the level of service you provide.

I appreciate the focus on using locally sourced ingredients and the commitment to sustainability. I also know that your restaurant has received numerous accolades for its innovative menu and outstanding service.”

4. Why did you apply for this position at our restaurant?

Prepare for this question by doing research. Then explain your interest in the restaurant’s mission, values and culture—and how your skills and experience align with the position’s responsibilities.

Sample response: “I am drawn to the high standards of excellence and commitment to providing outstanding service. I am excited about the opportunity to work with a team of passionate professionals who share my values and continue to contribute to the restaurant’s ongoing success.”

5. What are your strengths as a restaurant manager?

Highlight your ability to motivate and manage staff, problem-solve and drive revenue and customer satisfaction.

Sample response: “I believe my strengths include my ability to lead and motivate a team, my strong communication skills and my attention to detail.

Also, my understanding of the unique advantages and quirks different people can have in this business, and how to make them work. I am committed to providing excellent customer service and ensuring that every guest has a memorable dining experience.”

6. What are your weaknesses?

Identify areas where you can improve, such as time management or delegation, and describe how you are working to address those issues.

Sample response: “As a restaurant manager, I’m always looking for ways to improve, and one area where I’m currently focusing is staff training and development. Once the team gets into a rhythm, everything runs smoothly, but this can easily slip into a habit and even stagnation.

To address this, I’ve implemented regular training sessions and workshops, I encourage my team to take on new challenges and provide ongoing feedback and support.”

7. How would you handle a customer complaint about a staff member’s behavior?

In response to this question, you should emphasize your ability to handle difficult situations with staff and customers professionally and with empathy.

Sample response: “If a customer complained about a staff member’s behavior, I would immediately apologize for their experience and ask for specifics about what happened. While with the customer, I would focus on active listening and empathy.

I would then address the situation with the staff members, listen to their side of the story and take appropriate action to resolve the issue. This might include retraining, disciplinary action or other measures as necessary to ensure that our customers receive excellent service.”

8. Can you give an example of how you resolved a conflict between team members in the past? What was the outcome?

There is no need to go into the specifics of the situation too much since this is likely confidential in some way. Still, relate a true story, and elaborate.

Sample response: “In the past, I had two team members who were constantly at odds with each other, which was affecting the overall morale of the team. I approached each member separately and asked them to explain their side of the situation.

Once I had a better understanding of their individual perspectives, I organized a meeting with both team members to facilitate an open and honest discussion.

Together, we developed a plan to address their concerns and find a way for them to work together more effectively. The outcome was a significant improvement in team morale and productivity.”

9. How have you handled a mistake in a previous position?

Be honest, talk about a real-life example, explain how you handled it and how you work on avoiding repeating the same mistake in the future.

Sample response: “We once had a situation where a customer’s order was completely wrong. I immediately took ownership of the mistake, apologized to the customer and offered to have the correct order prepared ASAP.

Additionally, I offered to comp their meal or provide a gift card for a future visit as a gesture of goodwill. The customer left satisfied and even left a positive review about how we handled the mistake.

Since then, I’ve made it a priority to ensure our team is well-trained and empowered to make things right for our customers when mistakes happen.”

10. What do you believe are the most important qualities a person needs to succeed in this role?

Discuss the important qualities needed for a restaurant manager, including leadership, communication, customer focus, passion and team motivation.

Sample response: “I believe that the most important qualities a person needs to succeed as a restaurant manager are strong leadership skills, excellent communication and the ability to handle high-pressure situations with ease.

Additionally, a successful manager should have a passion for the industry, a customer-focused approach and the ability to motivate and develop their team.”

11. What is your favorite part of managing a restaurant?

Describe your personal favorite part of managing a restaurant, such as the satisfaction of creating a positive dining experience for customers.

Sample response: “My favorite part of managing a restaurant is the opportunity to create a positive dining experience for our customers. I enjoy working with the team to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and seeing the satisfaction on our customers’ faces when they enjoy their meal is truly rewarding.”

12. Are you able to work weekend/holiday/night shifts?

Confirm your ability to work flexible hours, including weekends, holidays and night shifts, to ensure customer satisfaction.

Sample response: “Yes, I understand that the restaurant industry requires flexibility and the ability to work weekends, holidays and night shifts. I am committed to providing the best possible experience for our customers, and I am willing to work the hours necessary to achieve that.”

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13. How do you ensure your restaurant meets all health and safety standards?

In response to this question, you should emphasize your experience implementing and enforcing health and safety protocols, as well as your commitment to maintaining a safe and healthy dining environment.

Sample response: “I take health and safety very seriously at our restaurant, and I have rigorous protocols in place to ensure that the restaurant meets or exceeds all relevant regulations.

This includes regular staff training on food handling, hygiene and safety protocols, as well as frequent inspections and audits to ensure that we maintain the highest standards.

I also have clear procedures in place for dealing with any health or safety issues that may arise, and take prompt action to resolve them, ensuring that the customers and staff members are always safe and healthy.”

14. What is your experience with restaurant automation tools as a manager?

Emphasize your knowledge of software and hardware systems and how you have used them to streamline operations, reduce wait times and improve customer satisfaction.

Sample response: “I have used POS systems, online ordering platforms and kitchen display systems. By implementing these tools, I was able to increase efficiency in order processing and improve overall customer satisfaction.

For example, I used an online ordering platform that reduced wait times and improved order accuracy. I have also used kitchen display systems that allow for real-time tracking of orders and inventory management.”

15. What do you think are the biggest challenges restaurants are facing today?

To answer this question, you will need to read up on the most recent news articles and reports on the restaurant industry at large.

Sample response: “I believe that the biggest challenges facing restaurants today include increasing food costs, finding and retaining qualified staff, staying competitive in a crowded market and adapting to changing consumer preferences.

The industry trends I noticed recently are the rise of ghost kitchens, the increasing demand for plant-based options and the growing popularity of contactless ordering and payment.

To keep up with these trends and challenges, I regularly review and adjust menu prices to account for fluctuating food costs. Additionally, I have been exploring ways to incorporate plant-based options into our menu while still maintaining our signature dishes and flavors.”

16. What is your approach to managing employee performance in a restaurant setting?

Cite setting clear expectations and providing regular feedback and coaching as important qualities. Include recognizing and rewarding good performance, and offering opportunities for growth and development.

Sample response: “I set clear expectations from the start, providing ongoing feedback and coaching and recognizing and rewarding good performance. I believe in regular check-ins with employees to discuss their progress and identify areas for improvement.

If an employee is consistently underperforming, I work with them to create a performance improvement plan and offer additional training or support as needed.

I also believe in creating a positive work environment that fosters teamwork, open communication and a strong sense of accountability.”

17. How do you handle inventory management in a restaurant?

Cite the best practices for inventory management, as well as attention to detail and organization skills.

Sample response: “When it comes to inventory management in a restaurant, I believe in setting par levels and conducting regular inventory audits to ensure we always have the supplies we need.

I also think it’s important to track food waste and adjust orders accordingly to minimize waste and reduce costs.

Finally, I believe in implementing systems for ordering and receiving supplies that are efficient and reliable, so that we can always be confident that we have what we need when we need it.”

18. Can you share your proudest moment working in a restaurant?

Name an example and show a sense of professional pride, given the success of the restaurant and your team.

Sample response: “My proudest moment as a restaurant manager was when we received a glowing review from a local magazine, by an undercover food critic. They were thrilled by the exceptional service and food quality. It was a testament to my team’s hard work and dedication.”

19. How do you keep your team motivated during both busy, stressful shifts and slow, boring shifts?

In response to this question, you should emphasize your ability to manage a team, recognize the challenges of the restaurant industry and develop creative solutions to keep your team motivated.

Sample response: “To keep my team motivated during busy and slow shifts, I believe in leading by example and staying positive. During busy shifts, I make sure to give clear instructions and provide support when needed, while also recognizing and rewarding hard work.

During slower shifts, I find creative ways to keep my team engaged, such as providing training opportunities or setting goals for individual or team performance.

Ultimately, I believe in creating a positive and supportive team culture that recognizes and rewards hard work and celebrates successes.”

20. Why should we hire you?

Focus on the specificities of the restaurant itself, as well as your professional experience and personal qualities, and how they fit together.

Sample response: “I am confident that I am the right person for this role because of my experience managing high-volume, fast-paced restaurants and my ability to consistently exceed revenue targets.

Additionally, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute my ideas to help elevate the brand, which I have researched in-depth.

I also have a proven track record of building and leading strong teams, and I am committed to fostering a positive work environment that supports employee growth and development.”

How to Prepare for a Restaurant Manager Interview as an Employer

As an employer preparing for a restaurant manager interview, you can take these steps to ensure everything runs smoothly:

  • Create a list of relevant interview questions: Ask about the candidate’s experience, customer service skills and ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Review the job description and requirements: Understand the duties, qualifications and skills listed in the job posting, and go through them during the interview
  • Review the candidate’s resume and cover letter: Familiarize yourself with the work history, education and training of every applicant you invite for an interview
  • Ask behavioral questions: Gain insight into how the candidate would handle challenging situations, such as customer complaints
  • Consider what you can offer: Consider offering a generous restaurant manager compensation package, as well as other benefits such as the healthcare package and PTO
  • Listen carefully: Pay attention to the candidate’s responses and ask follow-up questions as needed

Finally, don’t forget to follow up with your interviewees, if possible, whether you choose to pursue working with them or not.

Respecting employees’ (and prospective employees’) time and effort is a vital part of effective team-building—plus, your feedback could help them grow and prepare for their next role.

How to Prepare for a Restaurant Manager Interview as an Applicant

Here’s what you can do to best prepare for a restaurant manager interview as an applicant:

  • Research: Conduct thorough research on the restaurant, including its menu items, awards it won and its cuisine type
  • Prepare answers: Familiarize yourself with common restaurant manager interview questions and loosely prepare your responses. There’s no need to know every question and answer by heart, but you should know what to expect
  • Practice: Put your job interview communication skills to the test by interacting with friends and family. This way, you will build up your confidence in a familiar environment
  • Use real-life examples: Illustrate your points but keep it classy and do not name names, unless it’s in a positive context
  • Dress professionally and arrive early: This is essential to show respect for the interviewer’s time
  • Bring several copies of your resume: Your resume should ideally be a single page—two pages at most
  • Be prepared to discuss your availability: Restaurants often require managers to work various shifts, and you need to be prepared to discuss your future schedule

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