Begin by telling the interviewer that thankfully the majority of customers are pleasant to work with, and these situations are typically few and far between. Next, tell the interviewer that you understand customer service means always having a smile on your face, cheerful attitude, and pleasant demeanor. Tell the interviewer that you would continue interacting with the customer in a positive manner even when they provided you with a seemingly insufficient tip.
Waiter and Waitress Interview Questions
If a customer gives you a 25 cent tip, what do you do?
Are you used to serving meals in a heavy volume environment?
This question is designed to gauge your experience level, and it allows the interviewer to understand what type of training you should be provided if you are hired. Openly share if you have experience serving meals in a very busy setting. If you have experience, be sure to mention that you have been successful in the busy setting and that you enjoy the work. If you do not have experience in a busy environment, be sure to mention that you look forward to the challenge!
What was your worst experience with a customer at your last serving job?
Giggle, and share that one awful experience by starting with a high-level overview of what happened. The interviewer is most interested in how you respond to the situation, so be sure to mention that you did not allow the situation to get the best of you and maintained a positive attitude. If you needed to apologize to a customer for the situation, be sure to mention how you sincerely apologized and how thankful the customer was for the apology.
If a customer asks you to pick a meal, what will you suggest?
We recommend that you review the menu online prior to arriving for the interview. Take note of any restaurant specialities as these make great answers to this question! When asked, tell the interviewer which restaurant speciality you would recommend, and share that you suggest it because it is what the restaurant is known for. Be sure to mention if you would add a salad, appetizer, or dessert to complete the meal as well.
How long will it take you to memorize our menu?
Memorizing the menu is part of the job, and the interviewer wants to hear that you are not daunted by the task! Start off by telling the interviewer that you look forward to learning the menu and will work diligently to learn the menu as quickly as possible. Next, mention a reasonable timeframe to learn the menu taking into consideration how many pages the menu entails. You might share that it will take you 1-2 weeks to learn the menu in its entirety. Finally, share your gameplan for learning the menu. You might mention that you will look at the big picture first recognizing categories. You might mention that you will make flashcards for yourself. Or, you might mention that your roommate has already volunteered to help you study.
Are you currently in school?
Be open and honest with the interviewer about if you are currently in school or plan to attend school in the near future. If you are currently in school, come prepared with your class schedule and availability printed on a separate document.
What are your go to wines, that you recommend when asked?
We recommend reviewing the restaurant website before arriving at your interview to review their wine menu options. Popular responses to this question might include the house wine or any specials that are currently being offered. The interviewer wants to hear that you have some knowledge of wine and is not seeking one specific response, so feel free to share your wine of choice along with what menu item you would pair it with.
Do you have any restaurant server experience?
Be candid with the interviewer and share your experience. It will allow the interviewer to understand how much training and what type of training you should be provided when you start the job. Simply share the names of any restaurants where you have been a server as well as how long you worked there.
Are you in this to make money or do you enjoy socializing?
You definitely enjoy socializing, and you understand that the more social you are the more money you will earn because great customer service leads to great tips! It's a win-win!
We require you to come in an hour before busy time, and stay an hour after we close to clean, is that okay?
If you are available during these hours, tell the interviewer that you will happily come in an hour before busy time and stay an hour after close to help clean. It shows the interviewer that you are a team player and will do what it takes to ensure the team is successful.
If you are unable to work these extra hours, you will need to candidly share this with the interviewer understanding that you will likely not be considered for the job any longer.
What techniques do you use to upsell?
Interviewers in restaurants need to hear that you are comfortable upselling. Tell the interviewer that you might offer each table the opportunity to buy dessert or an after dinner drink. Mention that you might ask if appetizers are of interest. And, if the restaurant offers the same plate in two portion sizes, state that you would ask the customer if they would like to order the next size up for a small increase in price.
Have you eaten at our restaurant before?
If you have eaten at the restaurant before, that's great! Tell the interviewer that you have eaten at the restaurant, enjoyed your experience, and look forward to dining in again. Add an overview of your favorite part of the restaurant such as your favorite menu item, favorite part of the environment, or favorite staff members.
If you have not eaten at the restaurant before, that's okay too! Be candid with the interviewer, and share that you have not eaten at the restaurant. Share the wonderful things you have heard about the establishment, and mention that you look forward to dining with them some day.
What previous jobs have you held?
Provide the interviewer with a high-level overview of the previous jobs you have held by stating the name of the company, job you held, and how long you were a part of the team. Positivity is key, so be sure to mention something that you really liked about each job as well!
Your car breaks down on the way to work, what would you do?
This is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you are wise and do not allow these unplanned situations to get the best of you. Start off by telling the interviewer that you would assess how much time you have until your shift starts. Taking into account this amount of time, you would call/text a couple of friends or family members to see if they could get you to work on time. If they are unavailable, you would call for a cab, take city transportation, or walk depending on how far away you are. Finally, be sure to mention that you would call the restaurant to let them know what happened if you will be arriving a few minutes late due to the setback.
How can I trust you?
This one should be easy! Share with the interviewer that you hold yourself personally accountable for doing an excellent job every day you are at work. Mention that you understand you are being paid to do a job, and you feel it is only right to work in an ethical way all the time to remain as a trusted member of the team.
Why did you leave your last serving job?
Why do you want to work as a waiter/waitress?
How often do you miss shifts?
Would you say you are a people person?
Tell me about yourself.
What is your favorite item on our menu?
How is your personality towards customers during slow times? Do you consider yourself pretty friendly?
If I called your previous restaurant, what would they say about you?
Have you ever skipped work at your previous employment?
Have you ever had difficulty with a kitchen member? How did you work out the problem?