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Waiter/Waitress Interview Questions


The demand for Waiter/Waitress positions is experiencing a decline, with projections indicating a -3% decrease in job opportunities from 2022 to 2032. However, despite this downward trend, the competition in the restaurant industry remains fierce.

To navigate this competitive industry, candidates must thoroughly prepare for job interviews and demonstrate their skills and experience effectively.

In this guide, we’ll look into essential Waiter/Waitress interview questions and answers for both employers and applicants to help you prepare for the hiring process.

5 Waiter/Waitress Interview Questions

For employers: This question assesses the candidate’s attention to detail and ability to accurately record customer orders, essential for ensuring a seamless dining experience and minimizing errors.

For applicants: Describe your approach to order taking and how you ensure accuracy in customer requests, highlighting any strategies or techniques you use to minimize errors.

Example answer: To ensure accuracy in order taking, I always double-check customer orders before submitting them to the kitchen. This includes repeating the order back to the customer to confirm accuracy and clarifying any special requests or modifications.

I also pay close attention to detail when writing down orders, using shorthand notation to capture specific instructions accurately. I then relay orders promptly and clearly to the kitchen staff to minimize delays and errors.

For employers: This question evaluates the candidate’s ability to manage customer complaints effectively and resolve issues to ensure customer satisfaction.

For applicants: Explain your approach to handling customer complaints or dissatisfaction, emphasizing your commitment to resolving issues promptly and maintaining a positive relationship with the customer.

Example answer: When a customer is dissatisfied with their meal or service, I prioritize addressing their concerns promptly and professionally. I start by listening to the customer’s feedback attentively and apologizing for any inconvenience caused.

Then, I take proactive steps to resolve the issue, whether it’s offering a replacement dish, adjusting the bill or seeking assistance from a manager if necessary.

It’s essential to handle complaints with empathy and understanding, as maintaining a positive relationship with the customer is crucial for their overall satisfaction and likelihood of returning to our restaurant.

For employers: This question evaluates the candidate’s ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and provide excellent customer service even during busy periods.

For applicants: Explain your approach to multitasking and serving multiple tables simultaneously, emphasizing your ability to prioritize tasks and provide attentive service to all customers.

Example answer: When serving multiple tables, I prioritize tasks based on urgency and proximity. I make a mental note of each table’s needs and check in with them regularly to ensure they have everything they need.

By staying organized and proactive, I can anticipate potential issues before they arise and address them promptly. Additionally, I communicate effectively with my colleagues to coordinate tasks and provide backup support when needed.

Ultimately, my goal is to ensure all customers receive prompt and attentive service, regardless of how busy the restaurant may be.

For employers: This question evaluates the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively with diverse customers and overcome language barriers to provide quality service.

For applicants: Explain your approach to handling language barriers with customers, highlighting any strategies or techniques you use to ensure effective communication and understanding.

Example answer: When faced with a language barrier, I rely on nonverbal cues, gestures and visual aids to facilitate communication with customers. I also make use of technology such as translation apps or language cards to bridge the gap and ensure mutual understanding.

For employers: This question assesses the candidate’s sales skills and ability to increase revenue through upselling techniques, contributing to the restaurant’s profitability.

For applicants: Share a specific instance where you successfully upsold a menu item or beverage to a customer. Describe your approach to the upselling process, including how you identified opportunities, made recommendations and ultimately persuaded the customer to make a purchase.

Example answer: Certainly, I once successfully upsold a premium wine pairing to a couple celebrating their anniversary. After taking their initial drink order, I noticed that they were discussing menu options and seemed open to suggestions.

I approached the table with enthusiasm, mentioning our special anniversary dessert and subtly introducing the idea of a wine pairing to complement their meal. I highlighted the unique characteristics of the wine and how it would enhance their dining experience.

The couple was intrigued and decided to give it a try. They were delighted with the recommendation, commenting on how it elevated their meal and made their celebration even more special.


How To Prepare for a Waiter/Waitress Interview

Prepare for a Waiter/Waitress interview by focusing on essential aspects both as a candidate and an interviewer.

As a candidate: 

  • Take some time to learn about the restaurant where you’re interviewing. Understand their cuisine, ambiance and any unique features or offerings they have. This knowledge will demonstrate your interest in the establishment and your readiness to be part of their team.
  • Emphasize your customer service skills and experiences during the interview. Provide examples of times when you’ve gone above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction, handled challenging situations effectively or worked well in a team-oriented environment.
  •  Come prepared with thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the restaurant, the team dynamic, training opportunities or any other aspects of the job or workplace culture that are important to you. This demonstrates your interest and engagement in the interview process.

As an interviewer: 

  • Familiarize yourself with the specific duties and responsibilities of the waiter position within your establishment. This will help you tailor your questions to assess candidates’ suitability for the role.
  • Create a list of questions that will help you evaluate candidates’ experience, skills and attitude towards the job. Ask about their previous serving experience, customer service abilities and their approach to teamwork and collaboration.
  • Pay attention to candidates’ communication abilities during the interview. Look for clear and articulate verbal communication, active listening skills and the ability to engage with customers in a friendly and professional manner.

Are Waiters/Waitresses Paid Well?

Base hourly wages for Waiters/Waitresses may be at or slightly above the minimum wage in some states, while in others, they may be below minimum wage with the expectation that tips will supplement income.

Waiters/Waitresses can earn a competitive income, especially in high-end restaurants or establishments with a generous tipping culture.

Average Waiter/Waitress Base Salary:

What can I earn as a Waiter/Waitress?Your salary is 0 the US national average

Restaurant Salaries & Job Opportunities

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