Managing a busy restaurant (and sometimes even a quiet one) is a challenging role. It requires strong management, leadership, organizational and communication skills, as well as understanding for the catering business. The interviewer (often the restaurant owner), will try to understand if you have the skills, and if you are truly motivated to work for them.

Your goal is to convince the interviewers that you can make decisions, understand the ins and outs of restaurant business (in a particular area or field), and will not struggle with managing the team of employees, as well as handling the administrative part of work. Let’s have a look at the most common questions.


What do you know about our restaurant?

Read their website, check the social media profiles, read the guest reviews on Google. You should know, at least approximately,  how many employees work in the restaurant, what their vision is, and what cuisine they specialize in, what atmosphere they try to create in the place, and what their strengths and weaknesses are, from the point of view of the people who come to dine to the restaurant.

Show them that you did your homework, that you care, that you did not apply with dozens of other restaurants, but chose them on purpose–even if not true. They should get an impression that they are your first choice.


Why do you want to become a manager of our restaurant?

Try to praise the interviewers, saying that you like their restaurant, and believe it has a potential to attract more guests. You can also say that you see some areas for improvement, and believe that you can make the place even better, for both employees and guests.

Your answer to this question is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. If you actually manage to convince them that you honestly care about their well-being and success, your chances to get hired will improve immediately.

What is more, you can also refer to things you want to bring onboard. Perhaps you’ve managed another small business before, or lead a small team in your previous job, or basically you’ve worked in a restaurant business for years, and hence you see the job a good match for your strengths and personality.


What would you improve about our restaurant?

Your  research should help you with a good answer to this one. But even if you struggle to identify any area for improvement, you can always say that you would try to improve the efficiency of work, the level of customer satisfaction, or the online presence of the restaurant, trying to attracts more customers.

Alternatively, if it goes about a perfect restaurant (which is rarely the case, but I was lucky enough to dine in a few places of that sort), you can simply say that you would do your best to maintain the highest level of customer satisfaction, and the quality they deliver to their guests.

You can also emphasize the collective in the place–the importance of having the right team of waitresses, cooks, and kitchen helpers, and how you hope to maintain (or improve) a good atmosphere and sense of responsibility in the workplace, because without these things no restaurant can thrive.

Special Tip: Download the list of questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

interview questions for restaurant managers, PDF

How would you motivate other workers in a restaurant?

You can say that you would try to keep good atmosphere in the restaurant, so people would enjoy the company of each other, and hence they will try to work as a team.

Showing the employees the connection of their own goals (better salary, higher tips, eventual promotion) with the goals of the restaurant (more customers, better reviews, more returning guests etc), so they understand how their good work would translate into their personal lives and benefits they will receive, is another good answer to this difficult question.

Last but not least, you can say that you want to go by an example–working hard yourself, arriving early to work, building good relationships with your colleagues, and so on.

Interview takes place in a cafeteria. We can see both appliant and HR manager drinking coffee

Behavioral interview questions for restaurant managers

The interviewers will almost always ask you at least five behavioral questions, trying to understand your attitude to various problems and situations that happen in a restaurant. You can count with the following questions:

  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for the customer.
  • Describe a conflict you had with a colleague in work.
  • Tell us about an obstacle you overcame.
  • Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (your colleague, the waitress, etc).
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with an angry or upset guest.
  • Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
  • Give an example of a time you showed initiative at work.
  • Describe a difficult decision you had to make in your professional career. How did making this decision affect you?
  • Describe the situation when you did not know how to solve a problem. What did you do?

In my experience, many job seekers struggle with answers to behavioral questions, and eventually fail in the interviews because of that. Because these questions are not easy, and unless you prepare for them in advance, you can easily remain silent when getting one. And remaining silent won’t take you anywhere in your restaurant manager interview…

If you are also not sure how to answer these questions, or feel anxious before your interview, have a look at our interview success package. Up to 7 excellent answers to 31 behavioral interview questions–basically any such question you may get in your restaurant manager interview (+ more), will help you get ready for this challenging part of the hiring process.

Restaurant manager is a popular job title, and each such vacancy attracts many job applications. With the package you will gain a competitive edge, and know something your competitors won’t know. That’s the easiest way how to outclass them, and walk away with a great job contract.

Thank you for checking out the package, and I wish you good luck in your restaurant manager interview!


Matthew Chulaw
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