This Waiter/Waitress interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.
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Waiter or Waitress Interview Questions
Next to the actual food and beverages, the service provided by your waiters and waitresses will make or break your guests’ dining experience. Hire staff with a critical eye and determine the level of experience you need based on the kind of establishment you run. If you’re looking for more experienced waitstaff, you can add more situational questions. If you’re hiring candidates new to this line of work, you can ask other types of customer service questions instead. What’s most desirable for this role is customer-facing experience and experience with handling cash (point of sale systems, cash registers). Food safety training is a plus.
Excellent restaurant servers are outgoing and eager to please. They have great stamina and can be on their feet for long periods of time. They are knowledgeable about the menu and can upsell without being too pushy. And, they work well with teams. They’re friendly and can build strong working relationships with fellow servers, hosts, bartenders, cooks, and other colleagues at their restaurant. They should also be reliable. If they can’t make it to work, they should be able to give notice and find a substitute for their shift.
These questions are mostly situational and designed to encourage candidates to speak at length about any experience that is relevant to the position. You’ll get a sense of how personable they are, how well they explain themselves, and their motivations for applying to this job. In addition, you’ll find out how well they know the food and beverage industry.
Operational and Situational questions
- What is your experience with customer service and how does that relate to this position?
- Describe your last dining experience and how it could have been improved.
- What do you know about our main competitors?
- What are some food trends that you’ve recently noticed?
- What wines do you often recommend to your customers?
- Recall a time you handled a customer complaint. What was the situation and outcome?
- What would you if your customer tried to combine some special offers that can’t be combined?
- How do you stay organized while taking orders?
- How would you rate your upselling skills?
- How would you handle getting a bad tip?
- What would you do if your car broke down on the way to work?
- Recall a time a team member wasn’t doing their share of the work. How did you handle it?
- What are your feelings on tip sharing?
- Have you dined with us before? What do you think we could do better?