MockQuestions

Food Service Interview Questions

30 interview questions and answers to help you prepare for an interview in the food service industry.

Get More Information About Our Food Service Interview Questions

Question 1 of 30

When were you able to resolve a problem within work?

How to Answer

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.

Next Question

30 Food Service Interview Questions & Answers

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "My current employer recently catered a large wedding where we underestimated the amount of glassware that we needed. We were close to being short, so I called a fellow caterer from our network and asked if we could lean on them to provide the additional glassware. They charged us a rental fee and urgent order surcharge; however, that was a much better option than disappointing a client. My boss appreciated my quick thinking and willingness to reach out to our network."

      2nd Answer Example

      "We recently had a concern surrounding employee theft. As the wholesale food manager, I needed to get to the bottom of the situation before the issue escalated. I called the corporate head office to collaborate on a plan that followed the HR guidelines. I implemented the plan, which included additional security cameras, and we caught the employee on camera shortly after."

  • 2. What would you do in the event of a grease fire, or other kitchen emergency?

      How to Answer

      How you react in an emergency situation can make a world of difference when it comes to the safety of those in your kitchen, or the event which you are catering. Walk the interviewer through how you would react when it comes to a kitchen related emergency. Be sure to show that you know how to remain calm, make smart decisions under pressure, and keep your team's safety front of mind.

      In the foodservice industry, your new employee orientation should include locating the emergency exits, first aid supplies, and fire extinguishers. You should be trained on evacuation procedures and muster points as well as receive orientation on any potential on-site hazards.

      1st Answer Example

      "In the event of a grease fire, I would pull the alarm, locate the nearest fire extinguisher and, recalling my training, deploy the extinguisher. I would order my team to evacuate the kitchen as well. One can never be too careful in a situation such as that, and it's important to act fast, yet with control."

      2nd Answer Example

      "I have been trained, if a grease fire occurs, to turn off the heat source and cover the flame with a metal lid if possible, preventing the flame from growing. Then, I would pour salt or baking soda on the flame, to extinguish it. Although it is instinct, the last thing that should be done is dousing the flame with water. I react well in emergency situations, and am sure to remain calm and in control."

  • 3. How do you get along with others at work?

      How to Answer

      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.

      1st Answer Example

      "I have never had an issue when it comes to getting along with others at work. I am a conscious communicator and am sure always to express myself in a kind and professional manner. A positive attitude is a must when working in such a fast paced role."

      2nd Answer Example

      "I enjoy the people I work with and can get along with anyone. I have made some of my closest friends from different workplaces, and I know how important relationships in the office are for not only camaraderie but also for accomplishing tasks within your team."

  • 4. How do you show your co-workers the importance of communication in the workplace?

      How to Answer

      Clear communication is vital, at all times, in the foodservice industry. Breakdown of communication in a foodservice setting can have dire effects on the profitability of an organization and its reputation. This effect is why it is essential to understand that 'telling,' and 'showing' are two very different things when it comes to proper communication. The interviewer would like to know that you lead by example when it comes to communication in the workplace. Give examples of how you put dialogue into action in the workplace.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 7. How would you handle a rude customer?

      How to Answer

      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

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 8. Would your former boss describe you as a worker who gladly goes the extra mile to complete their tasks?

      How to Answer

      You can say that you will go the extra mile, but it's best to give a real-life example to the interviewer about a time when you did just that. Offer up your references as well and discuss with the interviewer what you feel your most recent employer would say about you. Give examples of how you go the extra mile in the workplace.

      Here are some ways that employees will go the extra mile:

      - Starting on an upcoming project ahead of time, without being asked.
      - Taking action on any feedback, they receive from their manager. Taking action means attending a class to improve a required skill or reading a self-development book to help with communication skills at work.
      - Coming to meetings ready to brainstorm or, better yet, with ideas already jotted down
      - Creating new ways for themselves or their team to maximize efficiency
      - Going out of their way to make their customers happy

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 10. What is your first reaction when you do something wrong at work?

      How to Answer

      How you react to an error made will tell the interviewer a great deal about you and your honesty level. Perhaps the mistake is one that could land you in a lot of trouble. Would you try to hide the incident, or would you tell a supervisor right away, and have the situation rectified?

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 11. How can we motivate you on the job?

      How to Answer

      Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job.

      Here are some ways that an employer may try to motivate you.
      Which ones resonate most with you?

      - Incentive programs where points are earned
      - Showing complete trust in your work and performance
      - Setting smaller, more achievable goals
      - Helping you to find your higher career purpose
      - Being a positive example to you
      - Maintaining an open and transparent workplace
      - Personalized incentives vs. Team driven incentives
      - Getting to know you on a personal level
      - Positive feedback based rewards system
      - Offering a stable work/life balance by encouraging time off
      - Letting you know your voice matters
      - Allowing you to take the lead on projects that excite you
      - Handing out big-picture projects, so you feel that you are contributing to the company's future
      - Public recognition

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

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

      How to Answer

      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."

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 13. Is compensation the most important factor for you when taking a new job?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know how much emphasis you put on pay when considering a new position. In addition to compensation, there are many other factors to a fulfilling career. These other factors may include:

      - work/life balance
      - amount of travel involved in the role
      - overall medical and health benefits
      - additional perks such as car allowance, cell allowance, spending account
      - the industry you will be working in
      - amount of vacation time
      - the type of clients you would be working with
      - the location of the company
      - career growth opportunity
      - the size of your new team
      - the company's reputation
      - overall workplace culture.

      Talk to the interviewer about other factors that are important to you when considering a new job. If you are not sure on details for this role, you can ask!

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 14. Why should we hire you?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 15. What is your favorite cooking technique?

      How to Answer

      There are many cooking techniques, and depending on the current menu at Company ABC, you may be asked to use a variety of them on any given day. Some of the most popular cooking techniques include searing, braising, deglazing, blanching, infusing, and emulsifying. There is no right or wrong answer to this question; however, the interviewer would like to see that you have a passion for your craft and the ability to apply a variety of methodologies in the kitchen.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 16. There are many options for you in the foodservice industry. Why do you specifically want to work with Company ABC?

      How to Answer

      With many options in the foodservice industry for employment, why do you want to work for Company ABC? Talk to the interviewer about your preference for their company. Dig deep when it comes to your response, bringing up specifics related to their products and services, clientele, awards they have won, or their company mission.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

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

      How to Answer

      '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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 18. Name for me the three most, and three least common food allergies.

      How to Answer

      Food allergies will be a top concern when working in the foodservice industry, where you may be preparing, packaging, or serving food. Show the interviewer you are aware of food allergies beyond the typical culprits such as peanuts. You can keep your answer brief, and to the point. If you have taken courses on food safety, this is a great time to mention that.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 19. Tell me about your food safety training or related certifications.

      How to Answer

      Health and safety is the main priority for all food service organization. Walk the interviewer through any related training. If you have any physical cards or certifications to show, be sure to bring those into the interview. If some of your certifications are close to expiration, be sure to disclose that.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 20. How do you prevent cross-contamination?

      How to Answer

      Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria is unintentionally transferred from one food to another, often causing an ill effect such as food poisoning. The biggest culprits for cross-contamination include:

      - Employees failing to wash their hands often enough
      - Using the same cutting board for meat and poultry, as you do fruits and veggies
      - Storing food at an incorrect temperature
      - Failing to sanitize equipment fully

      Show the interviewer that you understand how vital it is to adhere to strict food handling and safety procedures. Discuss what you do to play your part when it comes to food safety.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 22. Tell me about your culinary education. What was your primary educational focus?

      How to Answer

      Walk the interviewer through your education, being sure to highlight any special recognition or accolades you received along the way. Focus also on your best courses, what your favorite methods were, and what your certification major is.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 23. What other back of house or kitchen roles have you held in the past?

      How to Answer

      Most foodservice professionals have worked their way up through the ranks, advancing their career as opportunities come up, and training opportunities occur. The interviewer would like to see that you have a sense of what it takes to succeed in a variety of roles. Generally, in a kitchen setting, the hierarchy works from the dishwasher, kitchen porter, line cook, sous chef, head chef, and executive chef. There are many other roles also which include fry chef, grill chef, pastry chef, and more. These will depend on the complexity of the kitchen where you are working.

      Briefly take the interviewer through the roles that you have held, expressing that you can mentor and guide those junior to you, while also showing a willingness to learn from those senior to you.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 24. Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?

      How to Answer

      There are many amazing trailblazers in the culinary world, both past, and present. This question is more of a special interest inquiry which means there is no right or wrong reply. Show the interviewer that you have a genuine passion for the foodservice industry by giving a well thought out and researched response.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 25. In your opinion, what is the biggest food trend right now? Which is your favorite?

      How to Answer

      The culinary and food service world is always evolving, with the hottest trends changing on a regular basis. The interviewer would like to see that you have a genuine interest in keeping up with these changes. Discuss the resources that you use for keeping up-to-date in the culinary world. You can also ask the interviewer what their favorite trend is, at the moment. By doing so, you are creating an opportunity for a memorable conversation.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 26. Give an example of a fall-time menu that you would prepare.

      How to Answer

      Menu's change with the season, primarily if you work for an organization interested in working with the best seasonal ingredients, and sourcing local products. The interviewer would like to know that you have a keen interest in menu planning with a creative and exciting flair. Before your interview, you should visit the Company ABC website to see if you can gain any clues related to the type of flavors they enjoy. Lean on that as a basis for your creativity.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 27. Tell me your involvement with budgets and food planning.

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 28. If you were asked to lower your food costs, where would you start?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for common sense knowledge when it comes to your ability to see where you can save money, lower waste, and increase profits. Some of the ways that you can lower food costs include:

      - Eliminating menu items that do not sell well
      - Create a menu where some ingredients can be used multiple ways
      - Enforce a strict anti-theft policy to reduce food theft
      - Work with your suppliers to buy in bulk and receive discounts
      - Improve the quality of your staff, so less food is wasted from poor culinary performance

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

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

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view

  • 30. How do you test the quality of your ingredients?

      How to Answer

      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.

      Answer Examples Have Been Hidden

      Please upgrade to view