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Kitchen Manager Interview Questions [For Employers and Applicants]


Here are some common questions asked during job interviews to assess your qualifications for performing the duties of a kitchen manager.

1. Tell me about your experience managing a kitchen team.

For the interviewer: This question allows you to evaluate the candidate’s experience and team management skills. Ask for specific instances wherein the candidate handled difficult situations in a restaurant or similar setting, as well as conflicts among team members.

For the candidate: Talk about your previous experience leading a kitchen team, including how you motivated and supported your team to achieve goals and overcome challenges. Demonstrate your knowledge of the different roles involved in all aspects of kitchen operations and build on the information posted in the restaurant’s job description for kitchen managers.

2. How do you ensure your kitchen’s compliance with health and safety regulations?

For the interviewer: This question will help you evaluate the candidate’s awareness of health and safety regulations beyond regular kitchen duties, and how they prioritize the safety of customers and employees in everyday operations.

For the candidate: Describe how you have executed, or plan to execute, your training process on health and safety regulations, including ways of conducting regular inspections and maintaining documentation of safety standards.

3. How do you implement inventory management?

For the interviewer: This question should give you an overview of how the candidate controls costs, reduces waste and supervises inventory and other supplies in a restaurant setting.

For the candidate: Talk about your experience tracking inventory levels, cost savings and supervising inventory management processes. Share specific examples or anecdotes that have contributed to streamlining inventory operations and achieving optimal inventory control for your restaurant.

4. How do you handle kitchen emergencies?

For the interviewer: Equipment failures and accidents are bound to happen in any kitchen. Assess the candidate’s ability to remain calm under pressure and make quick decisions in emergencies.

For the candidate: Explain how you have trained your team on emergency procedures and provide examples of how you handled emergencies in the past. Be clear about the specific actions you took and your reasoning behind them.

A graphic that shows the top 4 injury categories in commercial kitchens
Top four injury categories in commercial kitchens [Source: Restaurant Technologies]

5. How do you balance ensuring high-quality standards and effectively managing costs in food preparation?

For the interviewer: Check the candidate’s experience and knowledge in streamlining production processes and optimizing food costs without compromising taste and presentation.

For the candidate: Cite examples of how you have reworked menu items, adjusted portion sizes, negotiated with suppliers for better deals, sought more reasonable prices or any other measures you have taken to balance food quality with cost management. By sharing your expertise in this area, you can demonstrate your awareness of industry trends and, more importantly, care for the restaurant you work for.

When interviewing candidates for a kitchen manager role, pay attention to the specific examples and practical insights they provide to showcase their experience and problem-solving abilities. Observe their communication style, how clearly they express their ideas and their depth of understanding of the duties of a kitchen manager.

As a candidate, giving clear, concise responses highlighting your relevant experience and skills is essential. Use specific examples to illustrate your abilities and demonstrate your knowledge of the best practices in the industry.

Lastly, emphasize your leadership qualities, attention to detail, adaptability and dedication to maintaining high standards in a kitchen environment and performing all other duties of a kitchen manager.

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