Hire for Success: Top Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

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Marlaina Lanese
July 5, 2023
A potential restaurant manager is being interviewed.

A restaurant manager plays a vital role in ensuring the success of a dining establishment. They are responsible for overseeing daily operations, managing staff, and ensuring customer satisfaction. The process of selecting the right candidate for this role is critical, as the manager's decisions can make or break a restaurant. Therefore, it is essential to ask the right questions during the interview process to determine if a candidate possesses the required skills, traits, and experience to be an effective manager. 

This article outlines the top interview questions to ask a restaurant manager to help you make an informed decision. We break it down by the six types of questions you should ask when hiring a restaurant manager: 

  1. Interview questions related to their experience
  2. Interview questions that test their problem-solving capabilities
  3. Questions about their leadership style
  4. Questions about their interpersonal skills
  5. Interview questions about their approach to customer service
  6. Questions to evaluate their growth and success potential

By asking questions from all six categories, you will have a thorough understanding of who you are hiring. These questions cover every aspect of the restaurant manager’s role, ensuring that you are setting up your team and your business for success. 

What Qualifications are Required for a Restaurant Manager?

The ideal candidate for a restaurant manager position should have a strong background in the food service industry, coupled with excellent leadership and interpersonal skills. They should be able to inspire and motivate their team, keeping spirits high even during the busiest times. An effective manager is able to retain employees and customers. A proven track record in maintaining high-quality standards, effective problem-solving, and exceptional customer service should be evident. They should also demonstrate a thorough understanding of the financial and operational aspects of running a successful restaurant.

Now that we have covered the required qualifications of a restaurant manager, let’s dive into the questions you should ask during the interview. 

A restaurant manager is chatting with a customer.

Top Interview Questions to Ask a Potential Restaurant Manager

Questions Related to Their Restaurant Management Experience:

1. Can you provide a brief overview of your career in the restaurant and hospitality industry?

2. What types of restaurants have you managed previously? How did you contribute to their success?

3. Describe a significant challenge you faced in a previous management role and how you overcame it?
4. Why do you love working in the restaurant industry?

Questions to Test Their Problem-Solving Capabilities:

1. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to address an issue with an underperforming employee? What steps did you take to resolve the situation?

2. Imagine a situation in which an essential kitchen appliance broke down during peak hours. How would you handle it?

3. How would you handle a dispute between two staff members?

4. Describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision that was unpopular with your team. How did you handle the backlash, and what was the outcome?

5. How would you handle multiple employees calling in sick during a busy shift? What steps would you take to prevent being short-staffed?

Questions to Understand a Restaurant Manager’s Leadership Style:

1. How would you describe your leadership style?

2. Can you provide an example of a time when your leadership skills positively impacted the performance of your team?

3. What strategies do you implement to motivate and maintain high morale among your staff?

4. How do you approach delegating tasks and responsibilities among your team members?
5. What trait or qualification do you think is most important when hiring front-of-house staff?

6. Describe your onboarding process for new employees.

Questions to Test a Manager’s Interpersonal Skills:

1. How do you establish rapport and build trust with your team?

2. Describe a situation where you had to work with someone challenging, and how did you handle it?

3. How do you handle difficult conversations with employees or customers?

4. How do you promote open communication and teamwork within your staff?

5. Describe your approach to conflict resolution.

Questions to Understand Their Approach to Customer Service:

1. How do you ensure that your restaurant consistently delivers exceptional customer service?

2. Can you describe a time when you turned an unhappy customer into a loyal one? What was your approach?

3. How do you handle customer complaints or negative feedback?

4. What steps do you take to ensure the front-of-house team is well-prepared to meet and exceed customer expectations?

Questions to Evaluate a Manager's Growth and Success Potential:

1. Why do you want to work for our company and why do you think you are the right fit? 
2. Where do you see yourself in five years?
3. If you had to change one thing about how we operate, what would it be and why?
4. How do you plan to attract new customers? Which marketing channel do you think would work best?
5. If you could open your own location, where would it be and how would you select the location?

Final Thoughts on Interviewing a Restaurant Manager

Asking these crucial restaurant manager interview questions during the hiring process will help you assess a candidate's experience, problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and commitment to providing excellent customer service. By selecting a well-qualified candidate who demonstrates a thorough understanding of the restaurant industry's challenges, you can create a strong foundation for your dining establishment's success. Remember to listen carefully to their responses and trust your instincts in determining if they are the right fit for your restaurant.

Need help hiring an exceptional manager for your restaurant? Push can help! With a built-in ATS system, you can streamline every step of the recruitment process. Ask customizable screening questions, so that you are only presented with candidates who meet your needs, easily track who you are interviewing and their submitted documents, and seamlessly share a prepared offer letter with your selected candidate. To learn more about how Push can help you hire your new restaurant manager, book a free demo today

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July 2023


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