Red Robin in an American chain of casual dining restaurants. They serve their gourmet burgers and other dishes in more than 560 locations across US and Canada, and employ over 25,000 people. The company has had their fair share of ups and downs over the years, but it still a popular hangout for many Americans. Good alternative to Burger King or McDonald’s, Red Robin focuses on middle class clientele and American families, and offers a nice variety of burgers including two plant-based choices (foe vegetarians and vegans). If you want to work in one of their restaurants, you will have to succeed in an interview with a general manager (store manager) and typically one of their assistant managers.

The interviews aren’t difficult, but you also cannot expect to get the job on the spot without making at least a decent impression on the interviewers. They may inquire about your motivation, experience, ability to work in a team and in a fast-paced environment, and also how you’d deal with a difficult customer, and handle some other tricky situations that can happen in the job. Let’s have a look at the questions, one by one.

 

Why do you want to work for Red Robin?

What they are really asking for is: Why not McDonald’s, KFC, or one of the other most famous restaurant chains in the world? Why our brand? And you should come up with a good reason, or at least some reason.

One of the options is referring to the overall vibe of the place, the dining experience. McDonald’s or KFC are outright fast food places. Red Robin, however, is more of a restaurant. Many people come here to enjoy a quality gourmet burger, and not just to fill their stomach quickly with some grease and sugar. You can say that you feel much better in places like Red Robin, that the working environment fits your personality.

Another options include following a recommendation from a friend (who praised the management, working environment, reasonable workload, etc), good location of the restaurant (close to your place, great traffic connection), or fitting work schedule. One way or another, they should get an impression that you did not submit your job applications to ten other places in the area.

 

Do you have any prior serving experience?

Experience is a plus, mostly because during peak hours you will have to work fast, and it is much easier for someone who is accustomed to waiting customers, cleaning tables, carrying plates and trays, and so on. If you have experience, ensure them that you have worked in a fast paced environment before, and learned how to work quickly and multitask, while making sure to deliver a quality service to each customer.

If you do not have any relevant experience, ensure them that you are eager to learn and ready to work hard. You know that Red Robin can get extremely crowded at times, and the job will be no walk in a park. You will have to be quick on your feet, and you definitely feel up for the challenge. Lacking experience, it is crucial to show confidence in your ability to handle the job, and everything that belongs to it.

What would you do if a customer complained about waiting too long for your attention?

Great customer service is one of the top priorities at Red Robin. Ensure the manager that first and foremost, you will try your best to ensure it won’t happen, working quickly, keeping your eye on all tables you are responsible for, trying your best. But of course it can happen, for example when the place is crowded and you overlook someone.

Say that first and foremost you would apologize to the customer, but would not look for excuses. Then you would simply focus on your job, taking their order, and making sure they get their beloved burger as soon as possible. What’s more, you would try to understand the reason for your mistake. Maybe you overlooked a certain table or lost your focus for a few minutes or whatever happened. You would try to learn from the situation in order to avoid making the same mistake again, with another customer.

 

Why did you leave your previous job?

Let’s face the truth. Employee turnover is extremely high in the entire hospitality industry, and restaurants probably lead the pack. It is nothing unusual to see people go, and that’s why companies like Red Robin are almost always hiring. They know that even if they are over-staffed for a while (getting you onboard), someone will leave soon and then they will have the right number of employees again. Still, they wonder why you left your last place, trying to make sure you will stay at least for a few months with them, before moving on. You should avoid talking about one of the following  reasons:

  • The workload was too heavy (it will be heavy at Red Robin as well).
  • Working environment was fast paced, and you didn’t manage the pace (you can expect the same pace of work at Red Robin, if not faster).
  • The wage was very little (do not expect much better here, almost all restaurant and fast food chains pay the same wage to servers, cashiers, and other employees).

What you can focus on, however, are bad relationships with your former colleagues, struggling to get along with the managers, unfitting shift schedule, or saying that it was a seasonal job and it simply ended.

 

What do you enjoy to do in your spare time?

They will typically ask you at least one casual question, trying to understand you better as a person. The most important thing is to show genuine and friendly personality at this point. Speak freely about your hobbies, be it anything from TV series to arts and sports.

The only thing you should avoid mentioning are hobbies like getting wasted each Friday with your friends, or being addicted to some video game. You can even elaborate on your answer, ensuring them that though you have your hobbies, you definitely want to prioritize your job with Red Robin, and may even sacrifice some of your leisure time activities for the sake of work, for example on Sundays.

 

How would you handle serving multiple tables at once?

The key is to show them that you like to have a system in your work. You can say, for example, that you will always serve tables in a particular order (from left to right, clockwise, following the numbering, etc), starting with the customers who arrived before the others. Or you can refer to another system, one you followed in your previous job in a restaurant.

You can also ensure the hiring managers that you have good observation skills, and a decent memory, and it should not happen that you skip some tables or let someone waiting for too long. Another alternative is giving them some praise. Just like any other franchise, Red Robin has a training program for new hires, and you are sure that it is excellent, and you will earn how to handle serving multiple tables at once.

 

Other questions you may face in your job interview at Red Robin

  • Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
  • Can you work in a fast-paced environment? Tell us more about your experience in such a working environment.
  • Tell us about an obstacle you overcame in your life.
  • What is your availability? What days and hours can you work and when can you start?
  • Can you work under pressure?
  • Tell us about a time when you faced adversity at work.
  • What is your favorite thing about Red Robin?

 

Final thoughts, next steps

You do not need years of experience, or outstanding interviewing skills to succeed in your meeting with the hiring managers at Red Robin. The company is almost always hiring, and as long as you do not answer their questions with silence, show some enthusiasm for the job and the brand of Red Robin, and your willingness to learn and work hard, they will give you a chance to prove your skills in the job.

Go through the questions once again, and think about your answers. You can even print the list of questions and mock the interview with one of your friends. It is not a difficult interview, but you shouldn’t underestimate your preparation regardless. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!

Matthew

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Matthew Chulaw
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