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Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

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  1. As a manager, what methods do you use to reduce the cost of operating a restaurant? See answer
  2. Tell me about a time you had to fire or discipline a server who violated the restaurant’s policies. See answer
  3. What is your experience with restaurant automation tools as a manager? See answer
  4. As a restaurant manager, how would you talk to your chef about an item that is not selling well on the menu? See answer
  5. Tell me about your experience accommodating special diets, such as vegan and gluten-free ones. See answer
  6. How do you keep your team motivated during both busy, stressful shifts and slow, boring shifts? See answer
  7. What would you do if a shipment of fresh ingredients didn’t arrive and you needed the additional inventory to serve customers?
  8. How would you handle implementing a price increase on some of the popular menu items and communicating the change to customers?
  9. What would you do if you hired a new server but after a week they displayed a bad attitude and a poor work ethic?
  10. The restaurant manager is in charge of deciding how we process customer orders. Do you have experience transitioning a restaurant from a paper ticket system to POS software?
  11. Are you comfortable negotiating prices and securing contracts with suppliers and vendors?
  12. What would you do if a guest had a complaint about their meal but you suspected they were lying to get a free meal or a discount?
  13. How do you uphold food and safety standards in the kitchen?
  14. What marketing strategies would you use to attract more customers to our restaurant?
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6 Restaurant Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

As a manager, what methods do you use to reduce the cost of operating a restaurant?

A:

Restaurant managers are required to stay up to date on the operations aspect of the establishment. By having experience lowering expenses at previous eateries, the candidate will likely be able to determine how to cut costs for your restaurant, which may ultimately increase revenue over time. The ideal applicant will be detail-oriented and understand how to communicate with vendors to get the lowest prices possible on supplies.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Critical thinking skills

Example:

“I decrease the expenses of running a restaurant by re-evaluating our vendors’ charges every three months to find the most competitive prices. I also create menus each quarter using seasonal produce to lower costs.”

Q:

Tell me about a time you had to fire or discipline a server who violated the restaurant’s policies.

A:

Restaurant managers are the backbone of the workplace and ensure that staff is following protocol. The ideal candidate will have experience disciplining or terminating employees as a result of negative actions that go against company policy. Focus on the applicant’s confidence when explaining how they handle behaviors that are not tolerated at the restaurant.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Confidence in oneself
  • Awareness of team performance
  • Experience handling disciplinary action, including termination

Example:

“When I was a restaurant manager, I gave an employee two warnings that ultimately led to termination. The waiter showed up to his shift late multiple times and took unauthorized breaks, which were against company policy.”

Q:

What is your experience with restaurant automation tools as a manager?

A:

Managers are in charge of all financial documents; however, there are applications available designed to help make the process smoother and the figures more accurate. The ideal candidate will have experience using systems for employee scheduling, payroll and inventory. They should have exceptional computer skills and time-management skills. Sales reports are a great way for a restaurant manager to not only determine how well a certain item on the menu is doing but also to see how often discounts are being applied to customers’ meals.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Intermediate to advanced computer skills
  • Experience with different systems and analyzing restaurant reports
  • Time-management skills

Example:

“I have six years of experience using automation tools such as ADP for payroll. I’ve also used Toast POS for end-of-day revenue reports as well as for updating our online menus.”

Q:

As a restaurant manager, how would you talk to your chef about an item that is not selling well on the menu?

A:

Restaurant managers have to be able to communicate with staff in a polite yet firm manner. The ideal candidate will understand the importance of having meetings with cooks about items that are not doing well. There are times where a chef might not agree with the manager about a meal; however, the applicant must be able to persuade their chef to make a change or ditch a dish.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Influential personality
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Demonstration of persuasiveness

Example:

“I would have a meeting with the chef to come up with new ideas for our menu or to find a meal to swap in the item’s place. Cooks usually enjoy this process and often agree that the dish not selling well needs to go.”

Q:

Tell me about your experience accommodating special diets, such as vegan and gluten-free ones.

A:

People have allergens and personal beliefs that impact what they can eat. The ideal candidate will have experience accommodating patrons and offering dishes that cater to a wide variety of customers. The applicant should be aware of special diets and the symbols for such lifestyles. The manager should also know about appropriate substitutions to make items like vegetarian options vegan.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Proactive stance to learning about dietary trends and fads
  • Adaptability and willingness to change in accordance with times
  • Ability to cater to a wide variety of customers with different lifestyles

Example:

“In my last restaurant manager position, I offered substitutions to make all of our meals meatless, dairy-free and soy-free. While I could not eliminate gluten in all dishes, I made notes of what foods did not include this allergen so that I could offer them as recommended options for those guests looking for non-gluten selections.”

Q:

How do you keep your team motivated during both busy, stressful shifts and slow, boring shifts?

A:

Restaurant managers are responsible for hiring, training and managing both kitchen staff such as line cooks and front-of-house staff like servers and hosts. A restaurant's business is usually built around meal rushes, so restaurant managers must be prepared to support and motivate their team regardless of how busy they are at any given time. Interviewers can ask about how restaurant managers motivate their team to find candidates who are personally invested in the success of their staff.

A good answer might display:

  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Dedication

This sample answer shows one good strategy for motivating employees:

Example:

"One of the main strategies I use to motivate my team is to work alongside them. I can do a better job of motivating servers to do side work during a lull if they see that I'm working hard to get ahead too. I show that I'm here to help them, which encourages them to take more personal initiative regardless of how busy it is. During slow periods where I have to assign responsibilities, I give my staff options to choose from to remind them to keep being productive while giving them input on how to spend their shift."

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