Applebee’s is no specialty restaurant. They focus on a mainstream customer, someone who isn’t in a mood to experiment, and simply wants to enjoy a typical American dish, such as a chicken, pasta, burger, and a bottle of coke with it, in a friendly and casual setting. The numbers prove the concept successful, with over 1,800 locations and more than 25,000 employees in US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and in the Middle East. If you also want to work in one of their locations as a waiter/server, you’ll typically have to pass one face to face interview, directly in one of the Applebee’s restaurants. What will happen?

You can expect a casual interview. No need to overdress for this one really. Restaurant manager will ask you a couple of questions about your motivation, experience, hobbies, and attitude to various situations that can happen in the restaurant.

Applebee’s does not have a standard interview template, which means that the questions can differ slightly from one location to another, but the interview won’t be difficult. Managers at Applebee’s know that they have an excellent system of work in place. That’s their know-how, and anyone with enthusiasm and motivation will quickly learn how to handle the job–including you. Let’s have a look at the questions you may face.


Why do you want to work for Applebee’s?

Applebee’s will pay you the same wage as any other restaurant chain would–a small one. You will work hard, and the job will be in a way repetitive–just like it would be in any other restaurant. And you will meet interesting new people and definitely learn something–just like you would do working for Olive Garden, McDonald’s, or any other big player in the field. So logically they wonder why Applebee’s?

You have two options for a good answer. First one is praising their place. You can say them that you frequent their place often, dining with family or friends. And you just love the vibe of the place, the menu, the level of customer service. Simply the entire experience. You can say that you consider it much better than Olive Garden (or any other competitor) and that’s why you want to work for Applebee’s.

Second option is talking about logistical reasons, such as a fitting location of the restaurant–if you happen to live nearby, or a good work schedule–fitting for your other duties, and so on. You can also talk about a recommendation from a friend. You know someone who works in one of the Applebee’s locations. They praised the atmosphere in the workplace, the management, the job. And hence they motivated you to also give it a shot… One way or another, the managers at Applebee’s should get an impression that they are your first choice.


Can you tell us more about your previous working experience?

You do not need previous experience to get hired at Applebee’s. But if you happen to compete with a couple of other people for the job, it can move the needle in the right direction.

When talking about your past jobs (or volunteering experience, because that’s better than nothing), you should focus on two things. First is mentioning relevant duties, that means things that should help you excel in your new job with Applebee’s. Second one is to stay positive, and avoid complaining about your former colleagues, or a heavy workload. Because the workload will be heavy at times at Applebee’s as well, and you won’t necessarily like each of your new colleagues…

And if you have no previous experience, show confidence in your abilities to handle the job. Say them that you are a quick learner, and have no doubt that with your motivation and enthusiasm you’ll learn how to take care of your duties in no time.


Can you work weekends? What’s your availability?

It probably won’t surprise you that Applebee’s gets most busy on weekends. And that’s when they need the part time staff, and simply everyone, to make sure customers don’t wait for fifteen minutes just to talk to the waiter.

Easy as it seems, you can often find right interview answers directly in the questions of the interviewers. If they ask about working in the evenings, or on weekends, it means that they need you exactly then… Now it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to work each weekend. You have life outside of work as well (at least I hope so), and cannot work every Sunday. But it is important to show your willingness to work at least on some weekends, let’s say two in a month. Show them that you are ready to sacrifice something for your new job.

What’s your favorite item on our menu?

This is just a quick check of whether you actually care, whether you know something about Applebee’s, and whether you really dined there before. Even if you didn’t, however, you can check their menu online, and pick one or two dishes to mention in an interview.

Be sure to explain your choice. For example you can say that you really enjoy the freshness and crispiness of their boneless wings, or the smell of the mozzarella sticks… One way or another, you should show some positive associations to their brand, and to the food they serve to customers.


How would you describe a great customer service?

You have a plenty of choices here, but you should focus on the position of a waiter (server), and how they can impact the experience of the customer. Tell them that customer should feel welcome and attended to from the moment they sit down in the restaurant.

They should never wait more than a couple of minutes for someone to approach them. Everything should be quick and smooth, and they should always see a smile on your face. What’s more, waitresses should patiently listen to their feedback and eventual complaints, and try to address them promptly. You can add that you understand the importance of delivering an outstanding customer service, and will try to do so each and every time.


What do you enjoy to do in your spare time?

As I’ve said at the beginning, the interview is quite casual, and to help you feel at ease, they will often ask about your leisure time activities. Now this isn’t a difficult question, as you can guess.

The only thing I suggest you to avoid mentioning are activities that could have a negative impact on your performance at work. Perhaps you enjoy getting wasted each Friday, or partying late to the night. And while that’s not the best thing for your health, or for your emotional well-being, it is nothing extraordinary and many young people do the same thing each weekend. But you should avoid mentioning this “hobby”, because the managers can easily get an impression that you might show up at work drunk, or not show up at all…

On the contrary, try to talk about healthy hobbies, such as sports, walks in the nature, yoga, reading, and so on.


Other questions you may face in your interview with Applebee’s

  • Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.
  • What’s your best and worst customer service experience?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • This job is quite repetitive, and the workload can be heavy during the peak hours. How do you plan to stay motivated and try your very best for the customers each day?
  • How long do you want to have this job?
  • After everything we’ve talked about, do you want to add something, or do you have any questions?


Conclusion, next steps

Interviews for a common restaurant jobs with Applebee’s belong to easy interviews. You can expect a relatively casual meeting with one of the managers, and basic interview questions that should not catch you by surprise, at least as long as you’ve read our article (and perhaps checked also some other resources online).

Do not forget to do some research about the place, their menu, opening hours, and so on. In an ideal case you should dine there with someone couple of days before your interview, just to see the vibe, level of customer service, and everything. It will help you to find answers to some of their questions.

Last but not least, you should show some positive body language, and enthusiasm for the job. They should get an impression that you are at least somehow looking forward to working in the restaurant, and do not apply for the job only because you need money, and cannot get anything better at the moment. I hope you will do well, and wish you best of luck!


May also interest you:

  • 15 most common interview questions – Learn how to answer questions about your strengths, weaknesses, goals, hobbies, and other common questions you may face virtually in any interview, in any restaurant.
  • How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling nervous before the start of your interview? Learn how to get your nerves under control when it matters, and make sure you won’t stutter in your interviews.
Matthew Chulaw
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