The Most Unexpected Questions You’ll Face in a Restaurant Interview

You've been looking for a job in a restaurant, you finally landed an interview, and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. Pump the brakes.

You may have your answers all lined up for the easiest and most obvious questions, but before you get ahead of yourself, think about all the curveball questions that might come your way. Interviewers tend to ask tough questions like these for two reasons:

1. They help demonstrate a candidate's ability to think on her feet, and 
2. They also help employers determine if an applicant is likely to thrive within a specific workplace culture.

If you face unexpected questions like these, don't get flustered — just think carefully and answer as honestly as you can.

Unexpected Restaurant Interview Questions

1. "Do you know the difference between puttanesca and carbonera sauces? How about the difference between braising and broiling?"

Simple culinary questions like these aren't just for chefs. They're also for servers, line cooks and support staff. When customers want information, they won't always be asking the chef — they'll be asking whoever is standing in front of them. Whether you know the correct answer or not, your ability to handle these kinds of questions with grace may impact your success on the job.

2. "Would you rather miss a detail in order to reach a deadline, or miss a deadline in order to attend to a detail and execute a job perfectly?"

This may sound like a trick question…and it is. Sort of. But restaurants depend on speed as well as accuracy and focus. Of course managers want their employees to have all of the above, but sometimes this isn't possible, and a candidate's answer to this question can provide insight into her personality and priorities.

Handling criticism is a vital skill in any industry, and in food service, the success of the business may depend on your ability to face unhappy customers calmly, put your ego aside and do what needs to be done to solve the problem.

4. "Are you willing to stay late, come in early, work occasional extra shifts or go the extra mile to help out when customer traffic is especially high?"

This is actually a simple question. Either you're willing to extend your commitment beyond your scheduled hours now and then, or you aren't. But don't just say "yes" and then live to regret your answer later when your employer asks for sacrifices you aren't willing to make.

Build the Confidence You Need To Land the Job You Want

If you're ready for tough questions like the ones above, you're probably ready for anything. But just to be on the safe side, visit LiveCareer before your interview. Explore the job search resources on the site and get the tips, guidance and practice questions you need to land the restaurant position you're looking for.

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