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Hostess Interview Questions

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  1. What would you do if the phone started ringing just as you greeted a guest entering the restaurant? See answer
  2. What would you do if a party of 10 came in claiming to have a reservation, but it was not on the books? See answer
  3. What does the word “hospitality” mean to you, and how does it apply to being a hostess? See answer
  4. What steps would you take in the event of an emergency? See answer
  5. What would you say to a group of guests leaving the restaurant who had a bad experience? See answer
  6. Hostesses are in charge of coordinating which guests should sit at which table. They need to keep track of how many tables each server gets and the party size of each table, giving servers an equal opportunity to earn tips. If a hostess doesn’t fairly distribute tables, it can cause tension among the wait staff and lead to slower service. This question addresses the hostess’s strategy for seating guests and allows candidates to demonstrate their foresight and planning skills.
  7. Do you have your food handlers license and alcoholic beverage commission license?
  8. What would you do if a customer requested to be seated with a particular waiter, but their section was already full?
  9. What is your strategy for coming up with an estimated wait time when guests ask how long it will be before they get a table?
  10. What do you do during down time when there are no new customers waiting?
  11. How do you stay calm and professional when interacting with a rude customer?
  12. What circumstances would cause you to escalate a situation by getting a manager involved?
  13. What would you do if a large family waiting for a table was allowing their kids to run around the restaurant?
  14. Are you willing to help servers deliver food to tables and bus empty dishes once patrons leave?
  15. How would you resolve the situation if you accidentally double-sat one server and left the other with an empty section?
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6 Hostess Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What would you do if the phone started ringing just as you greeted a guest entering the restaurant?

A:

By asking this question, you can see how the potential employee handles multiple pressing issues at the same time. You will also be able to see if the candidate values face-to-face interactions over conversations over the phone. Making sure a hostess has priorities that line up with those of the restaurant is an important element of this position. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to delegate tasks
  • Prioritization of duties
  • Ability to tend to multiple people at one time
Example:

“I would greet the guest entering the restaurant before excusing myself to answer the phone. I would then ask if the caller could hold for a moment and tend to the first guest.”

Q:

What would you do if a party of 10 came in claiming to have a reservation, but it was not on the books?

A:

This question requires the candidate to quickly and effectively come up with a solution to a pressing problem while still providing a high level of service. Ideally, the candidate would ask for help from management to either create room in the restaurant for the party or to apologize to the patrons for the mistake and offer an alternative that best meets the needs of the guest. What to look for in an answer:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Ability to admit a mistake
  • Methods of problem solving
Example:

“I would explain that a 10-top was not available but assure them that I could combine two tables. I’d invite them to grab a drink at the bar while I organized the tables.”

Q:

What does the word “hospitality” mean to you, and how does it apply to being a hostess?

A:

This question allows you to determine whether the candidate is willing to take the extra steps to anticipate a customer’s needs and exceed expectations. Hostesses should not only offer a friendly face as customers enter the restaurant, but they should also go the extra mile to pay attention to the little things that customers may need. They must also know what resources to use to solve problems if necessary. What to look for in an answer:

  • Empathy for customers
  • Ability to make things happen by any means necessary
  • Willingness to take extra steps to create a positive experience
Example:

“Hospitality is the ability to create a “wow” customer service experience and the exceptional quality of treating guests in a warm, friendly and generous way.”

Q:

What steps would you take in the event of an emergency?

A:

In answering this question, the candidate should demonstrate an ability to think quickly on their feet while remaining calm. You will want someone who already has a plan in place for dealing with general emergencies. This will likely include stopping to assess the situation in order to determine the nature of the emergency, removing the immediate threat if necessary and calling emergency services while keeping their full attention on the present situation. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to take action while remaining calm
  • Willingness to step in and help
  • Preparation for the unexpected
Example:

“I would assess the issue and remove any immediate threats to the customers. I would then call emergency services and my supervisor for assistance.”

Q:

What would you say to a group of guests leaving the restaurant who had a bad experience?

A:

This question will highlight the candidate’s ability to face adversity for the betterment of the establishment versus shying away from it. You want your potential hostess to be proactive about apologizing to the patrons and asking them for another chance to try out the restaurant. Depending on the situation, the hostess may want to offer to have a manager get in contact with the group the next day. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to interact with dissatisfied customers
  • Problem solving abilities
  • Follow-up and communication skills with the manager
Example:

“I would apologize to the guests and ask them if they would be willing to come back for dinner after speaking with a manager.”

Q:

Hostesses are in charge of coordinating which guests should sit at which table. They need to keep track of how many tables each server gets and the party size of each table, giving servers an equal opportunity to earn tips. If a hostess doesn't fairly distribute tables, it can cause tension among the wait staff and lead to slower service. This question addresses the hostess's strategy for seating guests and allows candidates to demonstrate their foresight and planning skills.

A:

A good answer should display these skills:

  • Problem-solving
  • Foresight
  • Communication with their team
Here is one example of a successful response explaining a candidate's strategy for managing the logistics of hostessing:
Example:

"Before each shift, I write a chart with each server's name so that I can tally how many tables they get and how many guests were at each table. Starting with the server who clocked in first, I give the tables in a consistent rotation until the number of guest becomes unbalanced. For example, if Allison got a six-top, Miguel got a two-top and Sandra got a four-top, I would give the next table to Miguel because he had a smaller party, even though Allison was next in the rotation."

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