Relaxing music, friendly chatter, and a smell of delicious food in the air. Beautiful girls sitting at one table, and a cheerful family at the next one, both enjoying great vibe of the restaurant. Everyone seems chilled and relaxed, unaware of another story that takes places in the kitchen simultaneously, and in the back office. Story of rush, adrenaline, and a constant pursuit of meeting or even exceeding the expectations of demanding customers. Food runners play an important role in this story…
You will literally run back and forth from the kitchen to the tables, bringing full plates and carrying away empty ones, ensuring that each guest gets the correct order, as quickly as possible. This job is popular in many fast food restaurants, but also in places that prefer this model of running a dining facility, where each worker responds for one or two tasks only. Someone stays behind the checkout, someone takes orders, some people prepare the food, and food runners bring plates to the guests of the restaurant.
Let’s have a look at twelve questions you may face while applying for this job.
Why do you want to work as a food runner?
Let’s face it–nobody dreams of working as a food runner. It makes no sense to try and tell some fairy tales to the interviewers. Be honest, but at the same time try to find something positive about the job.
You can say that you are just starting your career in the hospitality, looking for any sort of experience. Hoping to get better jobs in the future, you have to start somewhere, to have something to put on your resume. What’s more, you like to move and work on your feet, so you do not see this is a bad job.
Another alternative is simply saying that you are in a difficult situation right now financially, and do not have many options, or choices. The job is available, you decided to apply, see no reason why you would not handle it. And since you really need any job at the moment, they can be sure you’ll try your best, in order to retain for longer time.
Do you have any relevant experience?
If you worked in a restaurant before, tell them for how long, what you did exactly, and be ready to explain why you aren’t working there anymore. But you shouldn’t complain about a heavy workload or a difficult job–the same things await you in your job of a food runner…
If you have no experience, just ensure them that you read the job description carefully, know what makes a good food runner, understand your duties, and have confidence in your ability to handle them, day in day out. You can even say that lack of experience is the reason why you apply for this position–it’s an entry level one after all.
What is your availability? When can you work?
Many jobs for food runners are part time, or you can have strange working hours (for example coming for 2 hours during lunch, and then for 4 hours in the evening, or working just on weekends).
First and foremost, you should be honest about your availability, and you should be able to tell them clearly when you can work, and when you have other commitments, such as going to school, or other jobs. Try to prepare a schedule for the entire week, clearly specifying when you can work and when they cannot count on you.
At the same time, however, you should show some flexibility. Most restaurants are open 7 days in a week. To say that you cannot work on Saturdays for religious reasons won’t make a good impression on your interviewers. Other colleague may have the same religion, or also prefer to stay home on some Saturdays…
The workload is heavy here. You may have to stand on your feet for ten hours in a day, or even longer. Do you think you can handle that?
Simple “yes, I can handle that” will rarely do the trick. You should elaborate on your answer, for example with an experience from the past. Maybe you had to stand at a cash desk, or in front of a club promoting it, or you had some job in the streets, such as distributing leaflets, or working for the postal service.
Or perhaps you enjoy long walks in the nature, scaling mountains and crossing valleys, and are generally in a great shape. You see no reason why you should struggle with walking (jogging) to and from the kitchen.
How would you define an excellent customer service, provided by a food runner?
You have two options here. The longer one is describing the process, step by step. Always approaching the customer with smile on your face, keeping an eye contact, listening to any questions or request they may have. And of course running fast, ensuring that they do not want wait longer than necessary for their food…
Bear in mind though that food runners have various responsibilities in different places, and you should check the job description carefully before describing a great customer service you plan to deliver.
Another option consists in explaining HOW you want to deal with the customers. Regardless of what you do, you will always try to be courteous, attentive to their needs and wishes, precise and quick.
This is a difficult and repetitive job. What will motivate you to try hard day after day, month after month?
Again, you have a few options for a good answer to the question. One us being brutally honest. Sure, the job will be difficult, and perhaps also boring, or tiring at least. Your feet will ache and you may think about quitting when the workload is super heavy…
But you need money to pay bills and to enjoy some decent living outside of work. And you cannot afford going from one interview to another, changing jobs like socks. That’s a way to hell, and too much of a risk for someone like you, someone without savings who has bills to pay every month.
Hence you will try your best, simply because you want to retain the job. You cannot afford losing it. Most people do not enjoy going to work–and you don’t expect it to be different in your case. But you know why you get up each morning, and the goals you have outside of work, or a sheer motivation to have a decent life with a roof above your head, will motivate you to try super hard.
Another option is referring to satisfied customers, and responsibility you feel towards your colleagues. You known that you belong to the fragile ecosystem of a restaurant, together with cashiers, cooks, dishwashers and other employees.
Each of you plays a role, and you have to complement each other to eventually deliver an excellent experience to the dining guests. You do not want to let them down, to spoil it for everyone else. Hence you will try hard, regardless of whether you feel great, or experience a difficult day in the job. Because you care for the colleagues and the guests.
Other questions you may face in your food runner interview
- How do you ensure you make no mistakes in your work, for example bringing a wrong order to the table?
- What do you expect from cooks, waitresses, restaurant manager, and other staff members?
- You probably know something about our place by now. In your opinion, what can we improve here?
- How do you feel about helping with dishes, or sweeping the floor, when there aren’t many guests in the restaurant, and you have no plates to run with?
- What do you consider your greatest strength, and your biggest weakness?
- What are your salary expectations?
Conclusion and next steps
Interview for a job of a Food Runner belongs to easy job interviews. Almost all restaurants struggle with high job hopping rates, and they are always looking for new staff members.
What’s more, since there are so many offers out there, you typically won’t compete with many other people for the job. You may actually often end up the only candidate. All these things make your situation much easier in the interviews.
In my experience, if you do not remain silent when they ask you their questions, and show at least some motivation and enthusiasm for the work, they will give you a chance to try the job. How long you will have it is another story..
May also help you succeed:
- 15 most common interview questions & answers – Tell us about yourself, What are your weaknesses?, or Why should we hire you? Learn how to answer the most common interview questions–you may face some of them in any restaurant.
- Salary negotiation tips – They will typically pay you then minimum wage, but they may also struggle to find anyone, and that’s when you can use your negotiating skills to earn $1 or $2 more for each hour at work. Learn how to do so.
- Fast food worker interview questions – Applying for a job with one of the famous fast food chains? Learn what to expect in your interview.