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Food Service Interview

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    Job Interviews Careers Food Service

50 Food Service
Interview Questions

    Food Service

  1. How do you get along with others at work?

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      In the foodservice industry, you may work closely with a wide range of personalities, in a close-knit or high-stress environment. The interviewer wants to gauge if you can maintain healthy relationships in the workplace. They want to know more about the dynamics with your coworkers. Think about what you enjoyed about some of your relationships with past coworkers. Excellent communication, sense of humor, and support are all great qualities that make co-worker relationships healthy and harmonious.

  2. What decisions did you routinely make in your last position?

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      The interviewer would like to know more about the types of decisions you are accustomed to making in the workplace. The way you answer this questions will give them a good idea of your level of experience, seniority, and ability to handle the decision-making requirements in this position with Company ABC. If the job you are interviewing for requires you to be decisive and quick on your feet, you will need to be able to provide examples of how you have done these things in the past. If you worked in food prep, you faced problems that you needed to find solutions for on a regular basis. If you worked as a sales rep, you might have required knowing how to negotiate and make decisions on customer pricing. You may have faced decisions that became so routine you didn't think twice! Refer to these types of decisions and be sure to highlight how these types of decisions have prepared you for a role like this one.

  3. Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for customer service.

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      The foodservice industry is competitive, and it's essential that you can help Company ABC deliver the best in customer service so that they can remain a top choice for discerning customers. The interviewer is looking for a specific answer that showcases your ability to deliver excellent customer service. You need to go beyond 'service with a smile' when answering this question. Make your reply memorable! This question offers you an excellent opportunity to be a stand-out candidate.

  4. When were you able to resolve a problem within work?

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      Problem-solving and dispute resolution are fundamental skills to possess, especially in the food service industry where you serve customers every day and are often customer facing in your tasks. Show the interviewer that you are capable of problem-solving within the workplace, and making good judgement calls under pressure. Show that you can be a team player, even in the face of conflict.

  5. Why should we hire you?

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      Interviewers want to hear about that one unique skill that sets you apart from the other candidates applying for this job. Think of your answer as your 'elevator pitch' or your qualifying statement. If you can't think of ways that you are unique, ask a few friends or family members what they feel sets you apart from other people. Their observations may help you understand how you are perceived. Perhaps you already know what sets you apart! This skill could include any industry accolades, exceptional achievements, additional industry related training, a second language, or how involved you are in the community. Don't be afraid to brag about yourself a bit. In an interview, you are your most influential advocate.

  6. Do you agree with the phrase 'The customer is always right'?

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      'The customer is always right' has been a long-standing mantra for service-based organizations. Do you agree with this mantra? Why, or why not? The interviewer would like to see you respond positively. If possible, take a look at the company website to see what their mantra or customer service statement is.

  7. Tell me your involvement with budgets and food planning.

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      Food planning and budgeting are essential skills to have when looking to grow in your foodservice career. You can take courses on these topics such as Food & Beverage cost controls, often available through local colleges and culinary schools. You likely know that costs have to be recovered through sales, so it's easy to remember this calculation: sales = labor + overhead + food costs. If you do not have formal education or on the job training related to budgets and food costs, you can find essential formulas and calculators online. Show the interviewer that you understand the importance of being aware of expenses and the advantages of food planning.

  8. How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

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      The interviewer would like to know if you are satisfied with your interview performance. If your interview were a flop, you would know, and it's much better to address outright your performance than try to sweep it under the rug. If you feel that your performance in the interview is going well: 'I believe that this interview has been quite informative and I am happy with my performance. Is there anything that I can clarify for you from this conversation?' If you feel that your performance in the interview is not going well: "I am not sure if I have been able to portray myself 100% accurately in this interview; although, I am trying my best. If there is anything more I can clarify for you, I would be happy to do so."

  9. What would you do if you caught a co-worker violating food safety standards?

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      Violations of food safety standards can include: - Foregoing gloves when they have cuts, scrapes, or rashes - Failing to wash hands before handling food, utensils, or kitchen equipment - Food storage at improper temperatures - Serving expired food knowingly, even if it 'looks good' - Buying food from unapproved or unlicensed vendors - Preparing food without hot water or other required resources Talk to the interviewer about how you would react if you witnessed a violation in the workplace. Be sure to mention that you would follow any procedures put in place by Company ABC. If you have come across this situation before, you can refer to the scenario and how you dealt with it.

  10. Are you available to work evenings and weekends, and attend special events?

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      In the foodservice industry, you may often be required to work late nights, holidays, special events, and weekends. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of offering flexibility to Company ABC and their needs. If you have any restrictions in your schedule such as an evening course, another job, a family requirement, or volunteer commitment, it's crucial that you bring this up at this time in your interview. Show that you have enthusiasm for the role, and express your willingness to be as flexible as possible to meet their needs.

  11. What is the largest amount of people you have prepared food service for?

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      The interviewer will be able to gauge better the amount of volume and responsibility they can pass onto you when they have an idea of your past and current responsibility level. Share with the interviewer some of the more significant responsibilities you have had. Perhaps you were the team lead for a 500 person catered wedding, or maybe you helped to run a restaurant that was a hot-spot but only 60 seats. Each position you have will come with its unique challenges. Share those with the interviewer and assure them that you can handle the complexity of this role with Company ABC.

  12. How do you test the quality of your ingredients?

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      Guests, customers, and consumers are extra discerning these days, and it's essential to Company ABC that they are known for delivering quality in everything they do. Testing the quality of your ingredients can happen a few ways. For fruits and vegetables, for instance, it can mean being seasonally aware of what is best used different months of the year. When it comes to meat and poultry, sourcing from local rangers could eliminate the need for flash freezing and transportation, making a world of difference in your dish. Discuss with the interviewer the ways that you ensure quality is always top of mind.

  13. How would you handle a rude customer?

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      The service industry can present significantly challenging customers. Seeing as it's unavoidable, the interviewer wants to know that you can handle such a situation with professionalism. Give an example of a time that you had to deal with a challenging customer situation. Be sure to include the positive outcome. Some ways that you can efficiently handle a rude customer: - Remain kind, polite, and pleasant - Actively listen to their grievances - Apologize for the situation - Maintain a neutral tone of voice - Avoid taking anything they say, personally

  14. Kitchen Helper

  15. What kitchen experiences do you have?

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      List the variety of roles you have been in or perhaps the types of cuisine that you have been exposed to.

  16. What do you like the most about working in a kitchen?

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      Letting the hiring manager know what aspects of your job you enjoy most will help them when placing you and training you. They want to know where you fit best, and where you are happiest.

  17. In what areas of the kitchen, could you learn more or something new at?

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      If hired, the manager will need to know what areas to focus on when they are training you. Letting them know where you could use additional training will help them when placing you.

  18. Have you ever made improvements to the kitchen flow before? What were they and how did this benefit the kitchen?

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      Having the confidence to suggest or implement change in the workplace is a great quality to have. Show the hiring manager that you are capable of bringing this attitude with you, should you be hired.

  19. What high pressure, stressful situations have you been working in the kitchen in? How did you handle this?

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      Give a brief example of a time that you found yourself in a difficult situation at work. Be sure to not speak poorly of anyone involved and keep the response positive.

  20. Where did you get most of your kitchen working experience at?

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      Provide the interviewer with an overview of your experience by taking a few minutes to talk about your resume.

  21. How important is cleanliness to you?

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      This can be a brief and concise answer. Be sure to let the hiring manager know that you are concerned with the topic of cleanliness.

  22. What Chef or Kitchen Leader taught you the most?

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      Do you have a mentor or chef that you look up to? Perhaps it is someone that you have worked directly with, or maybe even a celebrity chef. Who has taught you the most about your profession as a kitchen helper?

    READ: View All Kitchen Helper Interview Questions

  23. Chef

  24. Who, or what, inspired you to become a Chef?

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      The interviewer is interested in knowing a bit more about you! This question is designed for them to understand what motivated you to start a career as a Chef. Understanding your motivation and sources of inspiration will help your employer to keep you engaged, even on the toughest days.

  25. What is your favorite dish to make?

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      The interviewer would like to know the types of cuisine that you enjoy making the most. Perhaps your favorite dish changes from time to time. Maybe it's a timeless family recipe. Be sure to bring passion to your reply!

  26. If you could make changes to our menu, what would you do first?

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      The interviewer wants to see that you are able to give suggestions; however, they are not asking you to pick apart their existing menu. Show that you have researched their menu and offer a couple of ideas that would be enticing to them. The suggestions could be through current trends in cuisine, or perhaps some cost savings. Be sure to compliment the restaurant on what they are doing right!

  27. How would you describe your personality?

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      Personality and character are two very different things. The interviewer is looking for more information on your personal traits vs. your integrity. This would include buzz words such as introverted, energetic, and confident.

  28. How many days were you absent from work last year?

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      A part of being a diligent employee is to ensure that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.

  29. The culinary industry is fast changing. How do you keep up with new food trends?

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      The interviewer would like to know what resources you use for keeping up with new industry trends. The culinary world moves fast and they need to know that you understand the importance of offering trendy menu items in such a competitive business landscape. It's always a great idea to ask the interviewer if they have preferred resources as well. This is an opportunity to strike up a meaningful conversation.

  30. Tell me one valuable kitchen related skill that you are currently working on.

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      We all have room for improvement! The interviewer wants to see that you are the type of chef who is dedicated to professional growth. Give an example of a skill that you are working on. Be sure to talk about how your new and improved skills will benefit your potential new employer.

  31. Do you feel performance should be rewarded over experience?

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      Do you feel that you should be paid based on tenure, or results? Discuss this with the interviewer and back your answer with an example, if possible.

    READ: View All Chef Interview Questions

  32. Sous Chef

  33. What was your greatest accomplishment as a sous chef?

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      What are you most proud of in your career so far? Tell the hiring manager about your greatest accomplishment, how you got there, and why it made you so proud.

  34. Have you ever been overloaded with work?

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      Talk to the hiring manager about a time when you have felt overloaded with work. Help them to understand where your limit may be when it comes to stress and pressure.

  35. Give me a time when you had to set an important goal in the past and tell me about your success reaching it.

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      Talk to the hiring manager about your ability to set goals and what you are willing to do to achieve them. Show the interviewer that you have interest in success.

  36. Tell me about your education. How has it prepared you for a Sous Chef position?

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      Do you feel that attending post-secondary training assisted and prepared you for a career as a chef? Talk to the hiring manager about your experience.

  37. Can you offer flexibility in your schedule for overtime, weekends and some holidays?

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      As a sous chef, your schedule may be sporadic and unpredictable. Let the hiring manager know that you are able to make yourself available when needed.

  38. What do you know about flattop, grill, and saute stations?

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      Talk to the hiring manager about your understanding of flattop, grill, and saute stations. You can be brief when answering this question.

    READ: View All Sous Chef Interview Questions

  39. Shift Leader

  40. Do you have any management experience? Tell me about the largest team that you have managed.

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      A straightforward answer will suffice. If you feel that your previous experience had less responsibility than this position, give an example of a time when you influenced others to achieve a positive outcome. If this isn't possible, then explain a technique you use to lead people.

  41. Do you enjoy the challenge of more responsibilities?

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      Give your interviewer confidence in you by expressing your enthusiasm for challenges and explaining your process for overcoming challenges. This is a good chance to show off a solid work ethic. Leaders are expected to be well-aligned with the company's needs.

  42. What will you offer us, as a shift leader, that others may not?

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      If possible, give some context about an uncommon experience that you may have had or highlight a special achievement that utilized a particular skill that you developed from outside this industry. Otherwise, choose 1-3 character traits and connect them to actions that would benefit the company.

  43. It is important to be able to multitask on the job as a shift leader. Tell me about your multitasking abilities.

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      The interviewer is indicating to you that multitasking is important to the company. Support their values and explain your multitasking techniques. Typically, multitasking involves good time management and organization ability.

  44. In your opinion, what are the 3 most important skills to have as a shift leader?

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      Do you research about the company's values and check sites like Glassdoor for interviews from people who accepted a position. This will give you a clue as to what is important. In general, a leader needs to provide direction and motivation to his or her direct reports. A leader also needs to be dependable. At the supervisor level (as opposed to managerial level) you will be expected to have direct knowledge of how to perform the tasks your direct reports are responsible for.

  45. Have you ever taken any courses or workshops related to customer service or sales?

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      People who take courses or workshops on their profession demonstrate a commitment to the profession. This indicates to the interviewer that you are less of a flight risk. If you haven't taken any courses or workshops, mention books, magazines, or websites that you've read and explain that you would cherish the opportunity for paid professional development. If you have taken such courses, mention them in brief and explain what you learned from them and how you applied it in your work.

    READ: View All Shift Leader Interview Questions

  46. Kitchen Manager

  47. What do you think are the top 3 qualities required to be a successful kitchen manager?

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      The interviewer wants to know the attributes that you value most in a successful kitchen manager. List a few attributes that you feel are most valuable for a kitchen manager to possess and be sure to comment on how those relate to your personal strengths . Good examples might include: - Trustworthy - Accountable - Committed - Results-oriented - Detailed - Driven - Reliable All of these attributes are valuable in a team setting, and any of them will make sound examples for you.

  48. What appeals to you about the role of kitchen manager?

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      The interviewer would like to know some of the reasons that you have chosen a career path of Kitchen Manager. By understanding your interests, and what drives you, the hiring manager will better know if you are a fit for their organization. Be sure to include some important facts about the company itself. This is a time to discuss your career interests and how this company will keep you excited for years to come.

  49. Part of being a Kitchen Manager is keeping an eye on food costs. What was the greatest cost-cutting effort you made at your previous employer?

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      As a Kitchen Manager, you will often be asked to keep your eyes open for cost-saving opportunities. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of understanding the importance of this practice and give a strong example of a time when you have done so. Give an answer that is quantifiable, for the most impact.

  50. How do you see your career progressing within the hospitality industry over the next 3 years?

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      Interviewing and on-boarding is a costly and time consuming process for any company and hiring manager. Assure the interviewer that you are seeking a long term fit with your next employer. Take a look at the career growth options with the company. If any of these stand out to you, it's a great idea to specifically mention them to the interviewer. Your expressed interest in those particular internal opportunities will solidify the fact that you are, indeed, seeking a long term fit with them.

  51. Tell me about yourself.

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      Take a few minutes to tell the interviewer a few things about yourself. You can begin with your recent education, family life, volunteer work, or talk about your travels. Bring up anything that is interesting and highlights your ability to be a responsible, reliable, and bright individual.

  52. Have you dined with us before? What would you change or improve?

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      Before you apply at any restaurant you must be able to confidently say that you are familiar with their dining experience. Be prepared to offer positive comments on the menu, atmosphere, service, and overall brand. The interviewer is looking for suggestions on where they could improve; however, this is not an invitation to completely pick things apart. You should remain positive and give a small suggestion that cannot be seen as negative or overly critical. They are not asking you to reinvent the wheel!

    READ: View All Kitchen Manager Interview Questions

  53. Customer Service

  54. Tell me about your customer service experience.

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      The interviewer would like a brief overview of your customer service experience. Avoid beginning at the VERY the start of your entire career. Your resume should touch on just the last ten years of your career, at most. Begin your reply with the oldest listed customer service job on your resume. Move up in time from there.

  55. Give me an example of how you delivered excellent customer service at your last position.

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      The interviewer wants to know that your definition of excellent customer service exceeds minimal expectations. You could talk about a time when you calmed an upset customer or went above the expectations of your role to make a customer want to return. Perhaps you had a customer dispute and were able to smooth over the issue using your great instinct and friendly disposition. Be sure to close with how happy the customer was when they left. Include any feedback that you received from your supervisor or co-workers afterward. Here are some ways that you can deliver exceptional customer service: - Exercise endless patience with challenging customers. - Use positive verbiage at all times. For instance, instead of saying 'I don't know,' say 'I am happy to find out for you.' - Actively listen to your customers' needs and be able to repeat them back. - Have the ability to explain product pricing, so the customer knows what to expect on their bill or invoice. - Display exceptional product knowledge. - Ask the customer if you have met their expectations before they leave. - Smile and maintain positive body language. - Support your coworkers and encourage a positive workplace culture.

  56. When have you received exceptional customer service? What made the experience stand out?

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      The interviewer wants to hear your excitement when it comes to being the recipient of excellent customer service. The way you answer this will show the interviewer that you are well aware of the difference between average and exceptional! Keep your answer brief, explain the situation, and what you did to express your thankfulness for the stand-out service.

    READ: View All Customer Service Interview Questions

Food Service Authors