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Restaurant Manager Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 21st, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
How do you handle customer disputes?
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How to Answer
The interviewer would like to know how you handle stressful situations involving unhappy customers. As a restaurant manager, your ability handle customer complaints can make or break your candidacy. Be ready with an example when you went above and beyond when handling a customer complaint. Be sure to tell the interviewer what solution you offered the customer. Perhaps you did not charge them for the meal. Maybe you offered a new dish for them to try. Close with how happy the customer was when they left!
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1.
How do you handle customer disputes?
The interviewer would like to know how you handle stressful situations involving unhappy customers. As a restaurant manager, your ability handle customer complaints can make or break your candidacy. Be ready with an example when you went above and beyond when handling a customer complaint. Be sure to tell the interviewer what solution you offered the customer. Perhaps you did not charge them for the meal. Maybe you offered a new dish for them to try. Close with how happy the customer was when they left!

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have specific training in customer dispute resolution and a happy to train your employees on the techniques I have learned, over the years. In my experience, allowing the customer to talk, and express their feelings, is the most important step to creating a resolution. Also, my tone is fundamental. I am empathetic, nod a lot, and use the correct body posture to show that I care."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some key factors to successful interaction with upset customers:

- Allow the customer to be heard. Show that you care about their feelings of frustration
- Be prepared with empathetic statements such as "I understand" and "That must have felt terrible."
- Never be passive, roll your eyes, cross your arms, or disagree with the customer
- Focus on the important factors. Many upset customers will bring up small issues that are not related to the primary concern. Always bring the conversation back to the issue at hand
- Avoid saying "never" but say "likely" or "possibly."
- Keep the conversations out of the public eye. Anger will be fed by an audience"
2.
What do you believe is the role of the restaurant manager?
The interviewer wants to know that you fully understand the importance of your role as a restaurant manager. As a manager, you need to ensure that the business is profitable, gaining momentum, strong reviews, retaining employees, and delivering a great product. Express your understanding and confidence in your ability to provide all of these things.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"The primary function of a restaurant manager is to ensure that the business is a well-oiled machine. When a restaurant is profitable, morale is higher, and this trickles down to the customer service experience. Could you tell me more about the areas you would like for me to focus on in the first 90 days?"
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I believe the role of a restaurant manager is to create an unforgettable customer service experience while helping retain staff and reduce costs. As a manager, I am prepared to follow the instructions of the business owner and help them to achieve their short and long-term vision."
3.
Do you have experience with terminations?
Terminating someone's employment is never easy, and your goal is to ensure that most of these situations are seamless transitions for everyone involved. You also need to ensure that you are conducting terminations in a manner that abides by your region's laws. Discuss how you might coach an employee to perform better, or talk about a time that you put a performance plan into action to save an employee from termination. If you do not have experience in employee terminations, focus on discussing what you feel would be the most moral way to let an employee go.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"I have worked with employees on performance plans when they are under-performing but have not directly terminated anyone. This task is left to our regional manager who ensures that all of our human resource policies are followed to a tee. I am confident that I can successfully follow through on terminations while keeping HR policies top of mind."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I have only once needed to terminate an employee. I had a server who was never on time and was not getting along well with the other staff. I met with him on three occasions to discuss our attendance policy and coached him a bit on his communication issues. Ultimately, I had to let him go, and it was better for the team. Terminations are never pleasant. However, I don't mind following through on these tasks to benefit the team and profitability of the business."
4.
What will you do if a particular dish on the menu is not selling?
Clear communication between a restaurant manager and a chef is a crucial component to the profitability of a restaurant. Feedback can be tough to give at times but remember that your role as a leader is to encourage open conversation.

Discuss how you would ask the chef if they have heard any feedback from the servers about why the dish is not being requested. It may be a situation where the plate is merely not being promoted enough, and you may put together a game plan for how to 'push' the dish in the dining room.

Perhaps you decide with the chef that you need to spruce up the dish and release it with new wording on the menu. Or, maybe yourself and the chef determine that you are going to pull the recipe and replace it. Sometimes, 'out with the old and in with the new' is the best decision to make.
Rachelle's Answer #1
"If a particular dish is not selling, I prefer to come into the situation not demanding change but, rather, asking the chef for suggestions. They are the experts after all. I believe that strong collaboration is best and I will create a collaborative environment as much as possible."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"I am comfortable communicating directly with the chef on menu needs. I would approach them and share what we see in the dining room. If there is customer feedback that I can share, I will start with that. Otherwise, I would see if there is an opportunity for us to improve the dish or encourage our servers to romanticize the dish and increase sales."
5.
What actions will you take to ensure our food costs stay below 30%?
Profits are always top of mind for restaurant owners. A restaurant owner needs to know that the manager they are hiring is just as invested as they are when it comes to cost savings and profitability. Some options for reducing food costs may include cutting portion sizes, streamlining the menu, simplifying dishes, or creating more cross-ingredient dishes.

Rachelle's Answer #1
"Keeping food costs low is crucial to the success of any restaurant. If food costs are creeping up, I will first look into waste and how we can avoid occurrences. Secondly, I will work with the chef on creating more cross-ingredient dishes, so that food ordering becomes simpler."
Rachelle's Answer #2
"Here are some ways that you can reduce food costs in a restaurant kitchen:

- Reevaluate the menu plan. What is the cost to serve your customer versus their final bill?
- Create menu loss leaders to attract customers to spend more on appetizers, desserts, or drinks
- Only buy food in bulk that will not spoil. Buying in bulk can save money but only if you use the product in full
- Work with the chef on their menu plan and work on creating dishes that use the same ingredients"
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