With new restaurants opening up all the time you may think that it would be easy to get a restaurant job anytime you need one. That’s not quite true. Restaurants are looking for the right person, not just any person. To succeed in any restaurant job interview you need to prepare answer to the top restaurant job interview questions and master the following 6 topic areas.
Talk up the ‘Customer Service’ aspects of your personality
In one way or another you will be asked to talk about yourself during a restaurant job interview. It is very important that the key aspects of your answer relate directly to the customer service experience. This is what restaurant owners care about. Talk about your passion for good food, your belief that eating out is not just functional and needs based but that it is an experience. Focus on your commitment that everyone should have a great experience when they eat out and that it is your responsibility to make sure that happens. Highlight that your aim is for customers to leave feeling happy and then return often. You want to show that you have a degree of commitment to the industry, that working in the restaurant industry is a passion not a casual job you don’t care about. You can also talk about how you really enjoy meeting lots of different people and if you intend to stay in the industry long term you can mention those goals as well. Show that you are excited about the opportunity to work in that particular restaurant and try to qualify why. Eg I have enormous respect for the head chef, the restaurant has a wonderful reputation for quality food, I particularly love this type of cuisine and would like to learn more about it etc.
Highlight your Qualifications and Experience
Restaurant job interviews are all about your experience and committment. You need to show that you are both qualified and capable but are still very willing to learn new ways of doing things and that you will fit easily into a new team. The best way to do this is to quickly cover your formal qualifications and focus most of your comments on real life experiences. Proudly highlight any personal praise, awards and triumphs you have achieved being careful to mention the whole team as needed. Praise can be focussed on multi tasking many tables and multiple sittings, it can focus on customer interaction, satisfaction and tips or even your knowledge of the restaurants food and wine menu. Try and also add in a sales achievement or a waste reduction achievement. To show you ar a true team player mention that you have picked up additional shifts for colleagues in need and you ability to fit in easily with a new team of people.
Showcase your Food and Wine knowledge
Before any restaurant job interview make sure you look carefully at their food and wine menu. If there are any dishes you are unfamiliar with make sure you learn what they are. Think about which dishes you would recommend if asked and which dishes are appropriate for children. Familiarise yourself with the wine list and have an answer ready if the ask you which wines you would recommend with each dish.
Why do you want This Job?
This can be a tough one to answer especially in a restaurant job interview. Chances are you just need some casual employment while you study, travel etc… and which restaurant you work in doesn’t matter too much to you. But you can’t say that in your answer. You need to show the restaurant owner that the restaurant they own is the one you want to work in and you need to explain why. You need to show that this job is the opportunity you really want and highlight what experience you will gain from it. Research is critical here. Visit the restaurant yourself, read all the online reviews, ask others who have eaten there what they thought then think carefully about what experience you will gain and focus your answer there.
Prove you can deal with Difficult Customers
Customers equal money in a restaurant so even if a customer is rude or difficult they still need to be treated with respect. Restaurant job interviews will always include questions about how you deal with the most difficult and stressful customers. Simply saying, it’s fine I am always polite no matter how rude people may be is just not enough. You need to give examples of specific incidents to show you can handle yourself with dignity. Think about 2 to 3 examples of difficult customers. Show how you avoided conflict escalation by being proactive, solved an issue before it became a bigger issue by offering a small complimentary gesture, used your communication skills to keep the customers informed about their orders or any delays etc. Always highlight the positive outcome.
Show you care about Minimising Waste and Reducing Costs
Restaurant lose a lot of money every year in product waste. If you are able to show you are serious about waste management and cost reduction you will set yourself apart from other potential employees. Even if waste reduction does not come up as a question in your restaurant job interview make sure you find a way to mention your waste reduction strategies. Something along the lines of…I think about waste reduction constantly in everything I do. I always make sure I put paper, cardboard and plastic in their correct recycled containers instead of the high cost of them going to landfill. Simply by py putting these materials in the correct bins I can help the business save money through a reduced waste collection charge, plus I help the environment. I am also committed to keeping all work areas clean. If things are well organised and labelled clearly, we all know where everything is and use products more efficiently. We use only the resources we really need and there is little waste.