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Waiter Interview Questions

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  1. How well do you work in a restaurant environment where everyone needs to support each other? See answer
  2. What are some of the techniques that you use to upsell your customers food and drinks? See answer
  3. What can you do to help the restaurant be successful? See answer
  4. How would you handle a dissatisfied and potentially angry customer? See answer
  5. Would you be able to pick up shifts with little notice when the restaurant is short-staffed? See answer
  6. Are you available to work long shifts? See answer
  7. What food making or bar instruments can you operate?
  8. Do you know anything about food handling and the safety regulations of our industry?
  9. Do you have any experience with wines and other alcoholic beverages?
  10. Do you have any experience preparing tables?
  11. Are you good at math?
  12. Do you have any customer service experience?
  13. What is your perspective on taking and sharing tips?
  14. Tell me about the latest food trends you are following.
  15. Imagine you are a diner here. How would you improve the dining experience?
  16. During busy nights, it can be difficult to keep track of customer orders. How will you ensure that you take orders correctly and deliver them promptly?
  17. Can you operate cash registers and POS systems?
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6 Waiter Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How well do you work in a restaurant environment where everyone needs to support each other?

A:

Waiters often need to help each other, especially during busy times at the restaurant. You want to hire someone who is willing to provide their co-workers with support whenever needed, just as they would hope to get help from other team members if they needed it. Look for a candidate who has the restaurant’s best interests at heart rather than one who is solely working for their own agenda. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience working as part of a successful team
  • Willingness to help others
  • Ability to see the bigger picture beyond their own needs
Example:

“I aim to contribute to a strong team environment by communicating clearly with my co-workers and creating a sense of equality in work load.”

Q:

What are some of the techniques that you use to upsell your customers food and drinks?

A:

The answer to this question will reveal if the candidate will strive to increase sales rather than be complacent with every customer’s order. A waiter needs to be comfortable upselling and therefore must be aware of everything the restaurant offers so they can present their tables with options. You want your waitstaff to be friendly and social but also effective salespeople to help drive up your bottom line. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to promote additional menu options
  • Knowledge of upselling techniques
  • Ability to educate customers on higher-priced menu items
Example:

“We only have four of the nightly special left. Can I put an order of that in for you after grabbing you an appetizer?”

Q:

What can you do to help the restaurant be successful?

A:

You want your applicant to look beyond individual goals and consider organizational growth. A candidate should mention they give their diners great respect along with outstanding service. Waiters should aim to spread a positive reputation for the restaurant, leading their patrons to encourage others to dine there as well as keep their customers returning in the future. This will help drive business and help in the success of the establishment. What to look for in an answer:

  • Acknowledge the importance of friendly service in addition to great food
  • Ability to build good rapport
  • Knowledge of business practices
Example:

“I offer fast and friendly service and speak highly of all of the restaurant’s offerings. I ask customers to return.”

Q:

How would you handle a dissatisfied and potentially angry customer?

A:

A waiter should be able to maintain their calm composure while facing adversity with a potentially angry customer regardless of whether they made a mistake or not. You want your candidate to display that they are willing to help all people, even if they are unfriendly. This requires a waiter to be able to not take things personally and put their emotions aside when they are serving their customers. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to interact with angry customers
  • Calmness while handling adversity
  • Capacity to not take things personally when faced with conflict
Example:

“I maintain my calm composure while attempting to solve a problem for the customer. I remain professional and uphold the restaurant’s policies and procedures.”

Q:

Would you be able to pick up shifts with little notice when the restaurant is short-staffed?

A:

You are looking for a candidate who can be flexible with their hours in order to help the restaurant during times of need. When the establishment is full but there is a limited staff, you want to have a waiter who can step in to contribute to the success of the place. This question will help you see if the candidate is willing to take on extra responsibilities to help others. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to be flexible
  • Inclination to assume additional responsibilities
  • Availability to be called in at the last minute
Example:

“I am often free to work with a short notice and am willing to stay after my shift ends in case the restaurant needs extra help.”

Q:

Are you available to work long shifts?

A:

Waiting often requires working long hours while standing and a good waiter must be able to deliver quality service without feeling fatigued. You can use this question to identify candidates who understand the job requirements and have the stamina and temperament for the role. A skilled waiter candidate should demonstrate an understanding of the role and flexibility with their time and schedule. A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • An understanding of the work hours of waiters
  • Superior physical stamina
  • Ability to work long shifts
Example:

“While I have not waited tables before, I understand this role requires serving customers for four hours in the evening. I have exceptional physical stamina thanks to my experience as a cashier at an eatery in my community and a very strict exercise regimen, so waiting tables for long periods while standing won't be a problem for me at all.”

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