Are you interested in becoming a waiter or waitress?
Becoming a server is an excellent job opportunity that allows for customer interaction and the flexibility of earning additional income with flexible shifts. Whether you are looking for a full-time server position or a part-time gig to supplement your income, being a waiter or waitress can be an enjoyable and satisfying experience.
Server positions have the potential to be highly lucrative, with some servers earning $350 or more in tips in a single day. However, securing a job at a restaurant with high earning potential can be competitive. As a result, it’s essential to prepare for the server interview process by learning how to answer the most common waiter and waitress interview questions, which can give you an edge over other candidates.
It’s important not to underestimate the server interview process. Hiring managers want to ensure that you are the right fit for the job, which is why they ask specific questions to evaluate candidates. By studying the most common waiter and waitress interview questions, you can answer confidently and professionally, giving you an advantage over the competition.
To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of the most common waiter and waitress interview questions and provided tips on how to answer them.
What experience do you have in the food and beverage industry?
Answer: I have worked in the food and beverage industry for X years, and have experience in both casual and fine dining establishments.
How would you handle a difficult customer?
Answer: I would listen carefully to their concerns, offer a sincere apology, and do my best to find a solution that satisfies the customer.
How do you prioritise tasks when you have multiple tables to attend to?
Answer: I prioritise tasks by attending to urgent requests first, then focusing on each table in order of their arrival.
Can you tell me about a time when you went above and beyond for a customer?
Answer: One time, a customer was celebrating their birthday, so I arranged for a special dessert and sang happy birthday to them.
How do you handle a situation where you made a mistake on an order?
Answer: I would apologise to the customer and inform the kitchen of the mistake immediately, and then work with the customer and the kitchen to find a solution.
How do you handle a situation where a customer complains about their food being undercooked?
Answer: I would apologise to the customer and offer to have the dish cooked to their liking, or suggest an alternative dish if they prefer.
How do you deal with a customer who is unhappy with the service they received?
Answer: I would listen to their concerns and offer a sincere apology, and do my best to find a solution that satisfies the customer.
What is your approach to upselling menu items?
Answer: I would suggest menu items that I genuinely believe the customer would enjoy based on their preferences, and highlight any specials or promotions.
How do you ensure that each customer’s order is accurate?
Answer: I double-check each order before submitting it to the kitchen, and communicate any special requests or dietary restrictions to the kitchen.
Can you tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult situation with a coworker?
Answer: One time, a coworker was consistently late to their shift, so I approached them in a respectful manner to discuss the issue and find a solution.
What is your availability to work?
Answer: I am available to work flexible hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.
How do you handle a situation where a customer asks for something that is not on the menu?
Answer: I would inform the customer that the item is not on the menu, but would be happy to suggest a similar alternative.
What is your approach to teamwork in a restaurant setting?
Answer: I believe that communication and collaboration are essential for effective teamwork in a restaurant setting, and I strive to contribute positively to the team.
Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult or stressful situation during a shift?
Answer: One time, the restaurant was unexpectedly busy and we were short-staffed, so I prioritised tasks and worked efficiently to ensure that each customer received prompt service.
How do you handle a situation where a customer has a food allergy or dietary restriction?
Answer: I take food allergies and dietary restrictions very seriously, and communicate any special requests to the kitchen to ensure that each dish is prepared safely.
How do you handle a situation where a customer complains about the cleanliness of the restaurant or their table?
Answer: I would apologise to the customer and inform a manager, and then work to clean the area immediately.
Can you tell me about a time when you had to work under pressure?
Answer: , there was a busy weekend night where the restaurant was completely packed, and I was the only server on duty. The kitchen was backed up, and orders were taking longer than usual to come out. I had to keep track of multiple tables, take orders, deliver food and drinks, all while keeping a calm demeanour and providing excellent customer service.
Despite the pressure, I managed to prioritise tasks effectively, communicate clearly with the kitchen, and ensure that each table received their orders in a timely and accurate manner. At the end of the night, I received positive feedback from several customers and my manager, which made me feel proud of my ability to work under pressure.
What is your approach to multitasking during a busy shift?
Answer: I prioritise tasks and focus on one thing at a time, while also keeping an eye on other tables and tasks that need attention.
How do you handle a situation where a customer is being disruptive or disrespectful to other customers?
Answer: I would approach the customer in a calm and respectful manner, and ask them to refrain from the behaviour. If necessary, I would involve a manager.
What is your approach to handling cash and credit card transactions?
Answer: I handle cash and credit card transactions with accuracy and honesty, and follow all necessary procedures to ensure that each transaction is processed correctly.
Can you tell me about a time when you had to handle a customer complaint that couldn’t be easily resolved?
Answer: One time, a customer was unhappy with the entire experience, so I offered a sincere apology and worked with a manager to offer a solution such as a discount or complimentary meal.
How do you handle a situation where a customer wants to split a bill in a complicated way?
Answer: I would ask the customer for clarification on their preferences and work with them to ensure that each person is charged appropriately.
Can you tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult or demanding customer?
Answer: One time, a customer was unhappy with their food and demanded a refund, so I listened to their concerns and worked with a manager to offer a solution that satisfied the customer.
How do you handle a situation where a customer asks for modifications to a dish that are not listed on the menu?
Answer: I would inform the customer that the modification is not listed on the menu, but would be happy to ask the kitchen if it is possible.
What is your approach to building rapport with customers?
Answer: I approach each table with a friendly and positive attitude, and strive to engage with the customers in a genuine and authentic manner, such as asking about their day or offering recommendations on menu items.
This blog post presents 25 common interview questions for servers in the food service industry. The questions cover a variety of topics such as customer service, handling difficult situations, cash and credit card transactions, multitasking, and building rapport with customers. For each question, a possible answer is provided to give candidates an idea of what the interviewer may be looking for. By familiarising themselves with these common questions and practising their answers, servers can feel more confident and prepared for their interviews.