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Restaurant Manager interview questions and answers

This Restaurant Manager interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

Christine Del Castillo
Christine Del Castillo

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.

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10 good restaurant manager interview questions

  1. Have you dined with us before? What would you change or improve?
  2. How would you describe our competitors and our customers?
  3. What’s the most challenging aspect of being a restaurant manager?
  4. How would you rate your cost control abilities? What actions have you taken to save costs or increase revenue?
  5. How do you stay up-to-date and precise on revenue reports, inventory reports, and payroll reports?
  6. An item on the menu is not selling well. How would you discuss this with your chef?
  7. Recall a time you resolved a conflict with a guest, employee, or supervisor at work. How did you handle it?
  8. Recall a time you mentored someone. Where were they when you first started? Where are they now?
  9. When was the last time you fired someone? Why did you fire them?
  10. Describe a time you went above and beyond guest expectations.

Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.

1. Have you dined with us before? What would you change or improve?

This question aims to assess the candidate’s familiarity with your restaurant and their ability to provide constructive feedback.

Sample answer:

“Yes, I have dined here. I enjoyed the atmosphere but felt that the wait time for food could be improved.”

2. How would you describe our competitors and our customers?

This question gauges the candidate’s market awareness and understanding of customer demographics.

Sample answer:

“Your competitors focus on fine dining, while your customers seem to be young professionals looking for a casual yet upscale experience.”

3. What’s the most challenging aspect of being a restaurant manager?

This question helps to understand the candidate’s perception of the role’s challenges and how they would approach them.

Sample answer:

“The most challenging aspect is balancing customer satisfaction with operational efficiency. It’s a constant juggling act.”

4. How would you rate your cost control abilities? What actions have you taken to save costs or increase revenue?

This question assesses the candidate’s financial acumen and their ability to manage budgets effectively.

Sample answer:

“I’d rate myself 8 out of 10. I’ve negotiated better deals with suppliers and optimized staff schedules to save costs.”

5. How do you stay up-to-date and precise on revenue reports, inventory reports, and payroll reports?

This question evaluates the candidate’s organizational skills and attention to detail.

Sample answer:

“I use a combination of software tools and regular audits to ensure all reports are accurate and up-to-date.”

6. An item on the menu is not selling well. How would you discuss this with your chef?

This question tests the candidate’s communication skills and their ability to work collaboratively with kitchen staff.

Sample answer:

“I would present the sales data and suggest we either improve the dish or consider replacing it with something more popular.”

7. Recall a time you resolved a conflict with a guest, employee, or supervisor at work. How did you handle it?

This question assesses the candidate’s conflict resolution skills.

Sample answer:

“I once had a guest complaint about service speed. I apologized, explained the situation, and offered a discount on their next visit.”

8. Recall a time you mentored someone. Where were they when you first started? Where are they now?

This question gauges the candidate’s leadership and mentoring abilities.

Sample answer:

“I mentored a server who was struggling with customer interactions. After coaching, they became one of our top performers and are now a shift leader.”

9. When was the last time you fired someone? Why did you fire them?

This question assesses the candidate’s ability to make tough decisions and manage staff effectively.

Sample answer:

“I had to fire someone six months ago for repeated tardiness and failure to improve after warnings.”

10. Describe a time you went above and beyond guest expectations.

This question evaluates the candidate’s commitment to customer service.

Sample answer:

“A guest was celebrating a special occasion, so I arranged a complimentary dessert and personalized service. They became a regular customer.”

What does a good restaurant manager candidate look like?

A strong restaurant manager candidate will have a balanced mix of financial acumen, leadership skills, and a deep understanding of customer service. They should be able to handle stress well and make decisions that benefit both the staff and the business.



Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

Be highly selective and attentive when hiring your next restaurant, or food and beverage manager. This person will be chiefly responsible for ensuring that your restaurant runs profitably and efficiently, and as such they should be both a leader and an organizer. At a high level your Restaurant Manager will be in charge of ensuring high standards of food, service, health, and safety. At the day-to-day level they will be responsible duties such as hiring staff, scheduling shifts, and keeping precise, up-to-date on inventory, expenses, revenue and payroll records.

Conflict management skills and problem-solving skills are critical for this role. As the supervisor of your establishment, any quarrels between staff, complaints about the food, or other issues will be escalated to their attention. They should be a strong communicator and be able to earn the respect and trust of their staff. In addition, they should be multi-skilled and able to pitch in wherever they are needed.

No job should be too small for your Restaurant Manager. Depending on the day, they might have to wash dishes, cook, or serve guests. Use these interview questions to determine whether your candidates have the extensive restaurant experience needed for this role. These open-ended and situational interview questions are a starting point. For best results, add your own questions specific to the type of cuisine or customer you serve.

Let’s summarize some of the questions and add a few more divided into specific types.

Operational and Situational questions

  • Have you dined with us before? What would you change or improve?
  • Have you interacted with our managers or staff? What was your impression?
  • How would you describe our competitors and our customers?
  • What’s the most challenging aspect of being a manager or a chef?
  • How would you rate your cost control abilities? What actions have you taken to save costs or increase revenue?
  • How do you stay up-to-date and precise on revenue reports, inventory reports, and payroll reports?
  • An item on the menu is not selling well. How would you discuss this with your chef?
  • Recall a time you resolved a conflict with a guest, employee, or supervisor at work. How did you handle it?
  • Recall a time you mentored someone. Where were they when you first started? Where are they now?
  • When was the last time you fired someone? Why did you fire them?
  • Describe the best employee you’ve ever hired.
  • How would you deal with ingredient substitutions?
  • How do you accommodate special diets? (Vegan, gluten-free)
  • Describe a time you went above and beyond guest expectations.
  • Describe a time you anticipated a guest’s needs.

Frequently asked questions

Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
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