Some Typical Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

Following are some of the typical interview questions you should be prepared to answer truthfully, confidently, succinctly, and intelligently when interviewing for a management position. Remember, these questions are used not only to elicit a direct response, but also to assess your thought processes, work ethic, personality, perception of your self and others, etc. You should always try to answer in a positive fashion or with an answer that will indicate a positive resolution or outcome (what you are doing to strengthen a weakness, etc.).

Tell me about yourself. (Keep it relevant and professional)
Why did you become a restaurant/hospitality manager, chef, etc.? (Do you have a passion for the business/guest/food?)
What do you know about our restaurant/property/company? (Do your research!)
Have you been to any of our restaurants/properties? What did you think? What did you observe while you were there? Did you get a chance to interact with any of our managers or staff? What would you improve or change? (Should be part of your research prior to the interview if possible. Keep it positive.)
What do you think sets us apart from our competitors? (What is your motivation to want to work specifically for that concept?)
Why do you want to work for our hotel/club/restaurant/property? (Your desire to work for them is again trying to be determined.)
Who else are you interviewing with? How do we compare to them? (What is your interest level?)
Have you been offered any positions yet? (How likely are you to continue in the process with this company?)
What do you think is a chef’s/manager’s role? What qualities should they possess?
How would you describe your management style? Your personality?
What motivates you? How do you motivate others? (This is a more in depth and specific line of questions pertaining to "Tell me about yourself.")
What was the best company you ever worked for? The worst? The best boss you ever had? Your least favorite? Why? (Keep the negative in a positive light by highlighting what you learned from a bad situation.)
What are some of your greatest accomplishments? (What are you professionally most proud of?)
Tell me about your cost control abilities? What have you done to help or improve your financial results? (Have specific examples, know your numbers.)
How would your supervisor/fellow managers/employees describe you? (This is more "Tell me about yourself." The answer should be consistent with the other similar questions' answers.)
Have you ever been involved in confrontation with a guest/employee/supervisor at work? How did you resolve it? (Have specific examples ready that highlight your skills of conflict resolution.)
How would you handle the following situation?…. (Again, honest and consistent answers.)
What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 3/5/10 years? What are you looking for in a job? (Do you have a plan for yourself? If not, can the restaurant expect you to have a plan for their success?)
What makes you an effective manager/chef? (Are you consistent, firm but fair, willing to share the store's vision and the glory?)
What are your strengths? Weakness? What are you doing to improve your weakness?
What are some of you greatest achievements or successes? What are some of your worst failures? (Don't use a strength overemphasized as a weakness, i.e. "I work too hard." Be honest and always finish the statement with what you are actively doing to overcome that.)
Why did you leave your last job? Why do you want to leave your current position? (Money is not your best answer here. What else is motivating you?)
What do you like least about being a manager/chef? (Honesty is the best policy. How can you control/correct what you don't like?)
Give me an example when you…..
What upsets you/tries your patience? (And what you can or are doing to prevent that situation.)
How long do you think you will stay with our company? (Do you have a 5 year plan?)
What makes you the best candidate for this position? What do you think you bring to the table? ( This is your turn to toot your horn. Stick to specific and relevant attributes, strengths, abilities, and knowledge.)
What questions do you have for me? (Know what you want to know about the company. Ask any questions that haven't been answered to this point. It's very important that you understand this is not where you ask about salary, vacation, schedule requests, etc.)

Prepare for these and similar questions and you have set yourself up for a successful interview. Make sure the interviewer understands that you are very interested in the position. After the interview, debrief with your recruiter and ask him/her to get some feedback from the company for you.


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Comment by Brian Bruce on June 11, 2009 at 7:06am

Very well written post. It reminds me of a post on my blog I put up in 2007, titled Typical Restaurant Manager Interview Questions. See link for a comparison.

Thank you for helping others through this material.

Comment by Sam on October 25, 2008 at 11:33am
These are great questions for candidates for Restaurant Manager Jobs
Comment by Merrili Jones on March 23, 2008 at 11:17pm
This is a very good discussion. In regards to a question Mike has on his post. "What if you saw one of your co-workers giving away food, what would you do?" I have had this happen to me and I turned it in to management.

Comment by Mike Serchia on March 22, 2008 at 9:22pm
What I find that helps me is to really identify what you are looking for in the individual. What motivates and how you see them interacting with your team and your guests. Integrity and honesty are big with me. Questions like ... what would you do if your boss was taking from the company? What if you saw one of your co - workers giving away food, what would you do? If a vendor left another restaurants order with you, what would you do? I like trying to interview for character, skills we can teach.

Great questions ...
Comment by Andy Swingley on March 22, 2008 at 6:13pm
Another great post Tony!




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