25 Best Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

Highly qualified and competent restaurant managers are frequently the linchpins for an eatery’s success. A strong food service manager will ensure that your restaurant stands out from the competition, with a laser focus on creating a superb dining experience for customers.

Whether you’re looking for your first or next restaurant manager, it helps to go into the hiring process with some fresh ideas about the interview process and the questions you should ask.

Let’s explore this important topic to make sure you’re ready to ask the best restaurant manager interview questions that yield clear answers to ease your decision-making process.

RELATED: Hiring a Restaurant Manager: Job Description, Pay, & More

What Skills and Experience Do the Best Restaurant Managers Possess?

There’s no question that restaurant management is demanding. Therefore, it’s crucial to find and hire a great restaurant manager with a deep understanding of the business and the right professional mindset to withstand and overcome the challenges.

Here are some top skills and experience to look for in a restaurant leader:

  • The physical stamina to work on their feet for long stretches.
  • The patience to manage and interact with various people, including cooks, servers, vendors, and customers.
  • Self-assurance and an uplifting demeanor that keeps everyone on track to deliver successful results for customers and the restaurant.
  • The problem-solving skills and creativity necessary to deal with frequent issues like employee call-ins or no-shows, ingredient shortages, and power outages. The list of potential problems in restaurants is endless, so find someone aware of them and with the confidence to take charge and handle them.
  • Proactive and forward-thinking to anticipate problems before they arise. Related to having problem-solving skills, this trait means that top restaurant managers tend to have backup plans and aces up their sleeves.
  • The customer service skills, including a cool head and demeanor, to handle the best and worst scenarios. Restaurant leaders who can understand and sympathize with both parties in disagreements excel in conflict management in nearly all situations.
  • Specific knowledge about the industry from hands-on experience—as a cook or a server, for example—including matters regarding cuisines and food preparation, presentation, and hygiene standards.

Top Restaurant Manager Interview Questions

Hopefully, now that you have a better idea of exactly who you are looking for to become your restaurant manager, you can drum up some interview questions to narrow down your list to make the best decision.

We want to offer 25 questions that will offer you some key insights into each restaurant management candidate you talk to.

Restaurant Manager Interview Questions about the Restaurant Industry

  1. How did you get started in the restaurant industry? Have you worked in kitchens or on restaurant floors before?
  2. Do you understand how the kitchen and floor staff work together?
  3. Have you worked as a restaurant manager before? If so, could you tell me more about that, like the size of the restaurant and the average daily business it did?
  4. Do you have a food and beverage management degree?
  5. Can you describe a time when you helped improve the operations for a struggling restaurant?
  6. How do you prioritize the many tasks you face as a restaurant manager, such as employee scheduling, vendor relations and orders, and complying with health code regulations?

Restaurant Manager Interview Questions about Leadership and Team Management

  1. What qualities do you believe make someone a good leader? Do you feel like you have those qualities, and are there some you think you need to work on?
  2. How do you communicate your expectations of your restaurant staff?
  3. Can you tell me about a time when you had to let go of an employee? Can you describe the situation and how you handled it?
  4. How do you handle conflicts between your employees?
  5. How do you motivate a team to stay positive and productive when things become extremely busy or amid unreasonable or unwarranted customer complaints?
  6. How do you manage conflicts in scheduling to ensure adequate—or ideal—coverage for all shifts, especially at peak hours?
  7. How do you handle new employee training? Have previous restaurants provided you with onboarding programs, or have you found your own style of bringing new restaurant hires up to speed?
  8. Can you describe a time that a restaurant owner asked you to implement some core business changes, and how you helped get your employees on board and up to speed quickly?

Restaurant Manager Interview Questions about Finance and Budgeting

  1. Have you previously managed budgeting and financial forecasting for a restaurant? If so, what was your approach?
  2. Did you seek, find, or create new cost-saving measures for your previous restaurant employers? Were you able to accomplish this task without sacrificing food and beverage quality and customer satisfaction?
  3. Do you form relationships with vendors to find ways to reduce costs? Are you good at negotiations with suppliers? For instance, do you ask for bulk rates on certain items you know your restaurant is likely to need? In such cases, were you able to order smaller, specialty items at reduced rates?
  4. How do you and your employees handle cash management, especially on busy days or at peak hours?
  5. Are you able to spot new financial opportunities and revenue streams as a restaurant manager?
  6. What key performance indicators (KPIs) do you use to measure your restaurant’s health? Do you look at factors like daily sales figures, spend per head, employee turnover rates, or average table occupancy? Essentially, how do they know—and how can they show—things are going well?
  7. How do you manage finances to fund marketing and promotions? How do you measure the ROI on these projects to let the owners know how well they are doing?
  8. Have you worked with restaurant owners, executives, and stakeholders to determine budgets and spending? Can you describe those working relationships and how you all managed the allocation of funds?

Restaurant Manager Interview Questions Training and Technology

  1. Are you familiar with technological tools used to support restaurant management? If not, are you willing to learn?
  2. Would you be willing to take on additional training and professional development courses in the future to improve operations and streamline your efforts?
  3. Are you willing to train promising employees to work as an assistant manager for additional support?

Ask These Targeted Interview Questions to Restaurant Management Candidates

We know how important it is for you to hire a dynamic restaurant manager for your business. These questions will help you get to know each talented candidate better. If you need help finding top restaurant management talent, spend some time exploring our Staffing Agency Services to discover some amazing talent.

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