20 Restaurant Manager Interview Questions (2023)

20 Restaurant Manager Interview Questions (2023)

The hiring process for a restaurant manager position can be stressful for everyone involved. The restaurant has a priority to find the right person who will, embody their mission statement, have a positive impact and ensure a high level of excellent customer service is delivered every day. On the other side, the prospective candidates are looking for a restaurant that can support their career goals, help them develop and give them job satisfaction.

A restaurant manager interview is an opportunity for both parties to present their skills and the benefits of working together. The restaurant hiring manager can understand some of a candidate's abilities from their resume and an applicant can research a restaurant extensively. However, it is in the interview that both can learn about attitude, approaches to work and how their dynamic would be working together.

A successful restaurant often depends on effective internal management. Therefore, it is crucial to ask engaging interview questions to find a good restaurant manager fit for your establishment and goals. In this article, we will cover:

  1. Restaurant manager responsibilities you should have in mind during the interview process
  2. Interview tips so you can get the most out of the process
  3. 20 restaurant manager interview questions and the answers you should look for

Restaurant Manager Responsibilities

Before the interview, you should establish the restaurant manager duties and how they are unique to your venue's mission and values. Being clear on this will guide you to the type of employee you need and what answers to look out for. 

Some duties to think about include:

  1. Training new employees - Beyond systems and processes, what principles do you uphold and how will this new manager inspire your team?
  2. Managing a customer complaint - How do you value your customers and does this candidate have the same outlook?
  3. Collaborating with your head chef - Does your head chef require support for new ideas and innovative menus? How do you want your restaurant manager to lead?
  4. Overseeing marketing of the restaurant - Are you confident this candidate will promote the values and vision of your restaurant?

Give Your Restaurant Managers More Time

A restaurant manager should spend most of their time perfecting the dining experience, improving internal and external customer service and implementing new ideas. The best way to support your Restaurant Manager in the role is to integrate restaurant management and reservation software like ResDiary.

The tool will enhance your manager’s ability to attract more diners, manage payments, track inventory and analyse reports. Free up their today today and book a demo with ResDiary:

Interview Tips

A successful interview requires you to connect with the candidate to get the most useful answers from them. 

Here are our top interview tips:

  1. Make them feel at ease - Create a comfortable environment, make eye contact and build a rapport at the beginning of the interview.
  2. Be prepared - Get clear on the candidate you want and the questions you will ask. You can be flexible in the interview, but being prepared will keep you on track.
  3. Sell your restaurant - The candidate is also interviewing you and deciding if your job and venue is right for them. Make a good impression so the right candidate will say yes to the job.
  4. Listen more than you talk - Try not to over-explain your questions, allow them to fully answer and listen intently.
  5. Make the most of your time - Interviews always go quickly so don't waste too long on the initial rapport building. You will want to ask all of your questions to learn as much as you can.

20 Restaurant Manager Interview Questions to Ask

1. Tell us why you applied to work at this restaurant in particular?

This answer will instantly allow you to establish how much a candidate knows about your restaurant, your values and your mission. A rich answer will touch on specifics unique to your venue and give insight into their personal interests and professional goals.

2. Have you ever eaten at our restaurant? What did you like and what would you change?

A confident restaurant manager will be able to give you feedback and always recognise areas for improvement. The aim of this question would not be to judge the changes they would make, as their answer will most likely change once they have experience in the role. Rather, the goal is to learn if they have dined with you and their approach to raising ideas or issues.

If the candidate has not dined with you before, it indicates they do not truly know your restaurant's experience from a customer's point of view.

3. What qualities do you have to make you an excellent manager?

An in-depth answer will cover both expertise required for the role and the soft skills they have. Some will include:

  • Interpersonal skills - Ability to connect with many different team members and customers and adapt to get the best results.
  • Empathy - To effectively lead, you may want your restaurant manager to care about your employees beyond their performance.
  • Analytical - Ability to analyse data reports and make effective decisions on budgets, processes and inventory to increase revenue.
  • Positive Attitude - The ability to stay calm under pressure and lead employees with an inspiring and encouraging approach

4. What is your management style?

You should be looking for a number of management styles that fit in with your business values and what you consider to be successful. A great candidate will be able to name more than one management style and acknowledge the importance of adapting to different team members and business needs. A suitable candidate for your restaurant may take on a democratic leadership style and create an inclusive environment for everyone to be heard.

5. What, in your opinion, is the most important aspect of running a successful restaurant?

The candidate's answer should resonate with your restaurant's objectives. If your most important value is the quality of food, then you will be looking for an answer that shows this as a key indicator of success. If your top value is customer satisfaction, then a manager should show how their internal customer service (with your team) directly impacts the external customer experience.

6. As a restaurant manager, what would be your priority if you were tasked with reducing operating costs?

This answer will give you an insight into how much the candidate understands their role will have an impact on business decisions. A detailed answer should give an example of how they would analyse revenue reports and handle tough decision making inline with your restaurant goals.

7. How would you approach collaboration with the head chef on menu items?

The most important thing to look for in a candidate's answer here would be a demonstration of their soft skills, communication, active listening and interpersonal style. A strong answer would explain their understanding of the importance of collaboration and the impact a head chef will have in their role.

8. What are your approaches to both internal and external customer service?

A strong candidate will understand how their internal customer service with stakeholders, departments and staff members will impact the quality of external customer service. A rich explanation will cover how they will create a positive work environment, set expectations for customer service and make people feel valued.

9. What restaurant automation tools or software do you have experience with?

Their resume should list the tools and software they have used. The purpose of this question is to understand what skill level they have and their understanding of software in the business. From their answer, you will be able to assess if they can adapt to your restaurant’s needs.

10. How would you motivate your team during busy or overwhelming shifts?

The answer you are looking for will depend on your restaurant’s values and the environment you want to create. 

Potential compelling answers include:

  • Leading by example
  • Clear communication
  • Delegating
  • Empowering staff and expressing gratitude
  • Providing feedback
  • Stepping in to help

11. What do you feel is the key to maintaining a positive and productive work environment?

The ideal answer should emphasise effective communication, mutual respect, teamwork, and fostering a culture of support and recognition. The candidate should demonstrate an understanding of the value of open dialogue, promoting work-life balance, and addressing conflicts promptly and constructively.

12. If one of your team members is regularly starting work late, how would you approach and manage the situation?

A hiring manager should look for a candidate who demonstrates effective leadership and problem-solving skills in their answer. The ideal response should include addressing the issue directly and privately with the team member, seeking to understand the underlying reasons, and providing support if needed.

They should display a balance of firmness and empathy, focusing on coaching, communication, and accountability to help the team member improve their punctuality and contribute positively to the overall team dynamic.

13. Tell us about a time you dealt with a difficult customer

A strong response should highlight their ability to remain calm, listen actively, empathise with the customer's concerns, and provide a satisfactory resolution. The candidate should showcase effective communication and conflict resolution techniques, such as offering options, finding common ground, and maintaining a level of professionalism throughout the interaction.

They should also emphasise the importance of customer satisfaction and building positive relationships while highlighting any lessons learned from the experience.

14. What steps do you take to ensure that food safety and hygiene standards are met in a restaurant?

The purpose of this question is to gain insight into the candidate's level of understanding of the food safety and hygiene regulations and their impact on the business. Their answer should include working with kitchen and front-of-house staff to adhere to cleaning rota's, temperature control procedures, food storage processes and their approach to regular training.

15. How do you approach hiring and recruiting new employees?

In the candidate's answer, you should listen for a demonstration of their high standards and assess if this aligns with your business values. The restaurant industry tends to have a high turnover of staff so it is important to ensure your restaurant manager understands the value of hiring quality over quantity and maintaining staff retention.

16. What new restaurant industry trends are you excited about?

The aim of this query is to establish the candidate's interests in the restaurant industry, whether it be digital progression, food trends or customer experience. Their enthusiasm for a particular trend may not be relevant to your restaurant. However, it will give you insight into their potential for new ideas, their ability to adapt to change and their passion to keep your restaurant competitive in the market.

17. How did you positively impact the last restaurant you worked at?

In the prospective candidate's answer, you should aim to evaluate their level of care in their role beyond their standard duties. A quality employee will want to leave a lasting impact in their role and see their purpose as more than clocking in the hours. The example they give may be small, but it will show their ability to have a meaningful influence in your restaurant.

18. From your resume we can see your longest employment was X years, what made you stay that long?

The interviewee's response will allow you to assess their level of commitment and what they value most in a work culture. You will be able to evaluate if their particular passion and needs are a right fit for your restaurant’s goals, values and environment.

19. What motivates you in your career?

This is an interview question that will help you understand what the employee is looking for in their career and whether you will be able to support their development. A strong answer will show ambition, personal values and how they gain job satisfaction. It will give you insight into whether the candidate will be happy in a restaurant manager role in your business.

20. Do you have any questions for us?

One of the most important restaurant manager interview questions is what they have to ask you. Allowing a candidate to ask questions helps you assess if they fully comprehend the role, your restaurant and if they are passionate about it. 

Some great questions include:

  • What is the internal culture of your restaurant?
  • How do you support innovative ideas?
  • How do you measure success in this role?
  • Can you share any future plans or initiatives the restaurant is currently working on?

Overall Considerations for Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

You may not have time for all 20 questions in your interview, but being prepared ahead of time, and analysing the most important aspects of your business goals, will help you fit the most in. 

Additionally, you should ask the transactional questions, such as:

  • What are your salary requirements?
  • When are you able to start?
  • Do you have any scheduling issues we should be aware of?
  • Do you have any planned holidays?

If you know what to listen out for, take notes and make the candidate feel at ease, you should be able to conduct successful interviews and find a quality restaurant manager for your business.

How can you support your new Restaurant Manager in the role?

As we know, managing a restaurant can be stressful and time-consuming. The best way to help streamline a restaurant manager's duties is to integrate technology. 

With ResDiary’s restaurant reservation management software, your restaurant manager will be able to:

  • Keep accurate inventory reports
  • Update menu changes instantly
  • Maximise bookings
  • Reduce cancellations and no-shows
  • Analyse revenue data
  • Market your restaurant and attract more diners

Let us help boost your restaurant manager's success with technology designed to help you deliver compelling customer experiences. Book a demo today: