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Kitchen Manager Interview Questions

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  1. What type of organizational system do you intend to implement for the kitchen’s storage needs? See answer
  2. How would you go about enforcing sanitation standards as the manager of the kitchen? See answer
  3. What sort of qualifications do you want to see in a prospective chef you wish to hire? See answer
  4. What is your strategy for maintaining morale in the kitchen during long services? See answer
  5. Can you tell us something you would change about our restaurant? See answer
  6. Getting kitchen staff to stay is a continuous struggle in some restaurants. What strategies will you put in place to ensure our kitchen is always adequately staffed? See answer
  7. Are you familiar with kitchen health and safety regulations? How will you enforce these rules to ensure our kitchen and guests are safe?
  8. Do you have experience working with vendors? How do you qualify suppliers of food ingredients?
  9. What are the criteria for employing a chef, line chef and a kitchen assistant?
  10. Do you have any certifications in the hospitality industry?
  11. Imagine you are a customer, what type of dining experience would you expect from our facility?
  12. Do you have any experience with inventory management? What software tools do you use for managing inventory?
  13. What are your plans for accommodating special guests, such as vegans and people who are sensitive to gluten?
  14. How do you manage troublesome guests?
  15. What are your plans for our kitchen if we employ you?
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6 Kitchen Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What type of organizational system do you intend to implement for the kitchen’s storage needs?

A:

How a kitchen manager organizes their kitchen can affect the flow of operations both in and out of the establishment. Understanding the basic outline of a potential manager’s plans is a fairly fundamental aspect of assessing their validity as a candidate. Good answers should include specific ideas as to how an applicant plans to use the kitchen space and the ways in which it will improve productivity and cooking ability. What the look for:

  • Specific ideas for how to use space and organizational techniques
  • Good design sense
  • Knowledge of kitchen management needs and activities
Example:

“My main goal would be to utilize as much space as possible to give the chefs more room to move and work. One strategy that I employed in my previous job was to use magnetic strips along the walls to hold knives and other utensils to free up drawer space.”

Q:

How would you go about enforcing sanitation standards as the manager of the kitchen?

A:

Cleanliness is one of the most important aspects of running a kitchen, so the manager should be in charge of ensuring that there are high standards in place. The answer to this question will demonstrate a candidate’s commitment to good hygiene, their kitchen management strategies and the kind of leadership qualities they bring to the table through their examples. What to look for in an answer:

  • Leadership skills and the ability to enforce rules
  • High standard of cleanliness
  • Knowledge of basic sanitation standards as prescribed by law
Example:

“The basics such as washing your hands after using the bathroom and not cross contaminating foods via knives is a given. Monthly deep cleanings of the entire kitchen are also something I implement as well as daily wipe downs of equipment and surfaces. I also like to ensure that a ready supply of disposable rubber gloves are available for safe and sanitary handling of raw ingredients.”

Q:

What sort of qualifications do you want to see in a prospective chef you wish to hire?

A:

This position is generally in charge of bringing on other kitchen staff such as a new chef, so it’s a good idea to get a sense of a potential candidate’s hiring standards prior to inviting them on board. In particular, you’ll want someone who appears to have good judgment and knows what kind of qualities to prioritize for different positions in a kitchen. What to look for in an answer:

  • Critical thinking ability and good decision-making skills
  • High standards for new employees
  • Honesty and integrity in the hiring process
Example:

“When looking for a new chef, I typically want to know where they’ve studied and where they’ve worked. I would want to ensure that the style of food they’re most used to cooking aligns with the type of food we serve. I would also want to test them by having them cook something.”

Q:

What is your strategy for maintaining morale in the kitchen during long services?

A:

Kitchen services can often be long and grueling, especially during extremely busy rush hours during holidays or over the summer. A kitchen manager’s job, in addition to their other responsibilities, will be to keep the staff motivated as they take care of the tickets. The kitchen manager should be able to inspire others to do their best. What to look for in an answer:

  • Optimistic attitude
  • Leadership capabilities
  • Good decision-making skills
Example:

“Long services, especially during the lunch rush, can be rough on the staff. That means it’s important to keep the staff motivated so that they can do their jobs well. A good manager should be willing to step in to help when things get overwhelming rather than simply stand on the sidelines and give orders.”

Q:

Can you tell us something you would change about our restaurant?

A:

A prospective kitchen manager should ideally already have some ideas about what to change about the place they wish to work. Not only does this demonstrate dedication to the job and a motivation to improve things but it also shows they’ve done their homework and have come ready with knowledge about their future place of employment. What to look for in an answer:

  • Dedication to kitchen management
  • Ideas for improving the workplace
  • Knowledge of the restaurant industry and the location where they’ll be working
Example:

“One thing I’d like to change about the restaurant is how limited the current breakfast menu is. I know a lot of people come here early in the morning, but they have few options outside of the standard bacon and eggs. Having a more robust selection would likely lead to more people returning on other days.”

Q:

Getting kitchen staff to stay is a continuous struggle in some restaurants. What strategies will you put in place to ensure our kitchen is always adequately staffed?

A:

Kitchens and related businesses have some of the highest turnover rates in the hospitality industry, so a kitchen manager must know how to recruit and retain staff. This question can help interviewers identify candidates who understand the industry, have extensive contacts, know how to motivate and retain staff and can solve staffing problems creatively. A skilled kitchen manager candidate's response will demonstrate a good grasp of the staffing problem and innovative ways of solving it. A candidate's problem should emphasize:

  • Excellent management and leadership skills
  • In-depth understanding of the industry
  • Problem-solving skills
Example:

“Kitchens are almost always looking for new hands because of the low entry requirements and relatively large number of openings. As a responsible kitchen manager, I understand it is easier and often more cost-effective to keep my staff for longer. What I do is create an enabling environment that will encourage them to stay for as long as possible. We can achieve this by providing unique job benefits and crafting our job ads in a way that positions our facility as an ideal place of work.”

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