You’ve got it! The invitation to a waitress interview is in your email. It’s time for the last push to get a job — make a good impression on your employer during the conversation. Check our collection of popular interview questions for a waitress position to understand what information you should prepare before the interview and build impressive answers to win the job. Besides smart answers, we’re uncovering a few more success recipes for waiters every employer dreams about.
Do your homework
No matter how many times you’ve already passed (or maybe failed to pass) interviews, preparation is essential. Each new workplace has its own culture, values, atmosphere, and operating conditions. These simple yet useful waitress interview tips will help to settle your nerves and get the meaningful insights needed to excite your interviewers:
- Research your future place of work. Knowing their operating hours, menu, community, and other things may help impress interviewers and better understand what kind of waiters they expect.
- Remember important facts. Interviewers like to ask whether a candidate knows something about the restaurant. If you’ve researched beforehand, you will be able to sparkle with your knowledge of the restaurant’s history and special offers.
- Practice. If you get nervous during interviews, practice with a friend or a family member, answering various questions until you feel comfortable.
- Prepare documents. If there are a few interviewers, make sure everyone has a copy of your resume and cover letter. This way, everyone will get a better view of your professional profile and won’t need to ask standard questions about experience, education, and skills. Make sure to customize your documents specifically for the waitress position. They need to demonstrate to employers why you are a perfect candidate for the waitress role.
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TOP18 interview questions for a waitress: tips and answers
These questions will mostly be related to your skills and experience (competency-based questions), various on-the-job situations (situational questions), your reaction to them (behavioral questions), and personal qualities. This list of questions will help you get the general idea of what employers usually ask future waiters during the interview. We strongly recommend communicating your own thoughts while answering. These sample answers and tips are just to steer you on the right course and prepare you.
1. Why did you choose to work as a waitress?
Tip: People loving their job perform better than those who have to work coincidentally. Employers would like to hear that being a server is your conscious choice.
Answer: “When I began working as a waitress, I realized that serving other people, making them feel pleased and happy, is my calling. I enjoy human communication, the restaurant atmosphere, and the ability to learn something new from every client. I have an active lifestyle, and a waitressing job is just the right activity for my rhythm.”
2. Is there something you hate about working as a waitress?
Tip: It is normal to have something you don’t like in your job. Interviewers ask such questions to see how you manage the downsides of the profession. The best possible answer here is to name the problem and show how you solve it.
Answer: “I wouldn’t say I like it when customers get angry and start arguing just because of having a bad day. I do my best to impress such visitors with excellent service, tasty food, and drinks. The client is a king, no matter what mood they have.”
3. Remember one challenging situation related to waitressing and the way you resolved it?
Tip: Waitressing is a rather stressful occupation. The interviewers would like to see if you can think and act proactively when facing difficulties.
Answer: “Once, I had the experience of servicing a wedding banquet outdoors. The problem was the stiff wind that made it very hard to serve drinks in tall glasses. I just took a lovely round-shape basket for bread, and it saved my glasses from falling during the party.”
4. Can you mix cocktails and do other things at the bar?
Tip: Most likely, this question means that bartenders need help during busy hours. If you have no cocktail mixing experience, mention that you are willing to learn and master new duties fast.
Answer: “Mixing cocktails wasn’t my regular practice before. I just did it a couple of times when the barman was too busy, and I didn’t want my customers to wait for too long. I know the basic cocktail recipes and would like to learn more.”
5. How do you organize yourself when taking orders?
Tip: It is one of the most popular server interview questions. No one wants the orders to be lost or messed up. Tell about your life hacks that help you take and fulfill orders flawlessly.
Answer: “I make sure to know all the table numbers, bar areas, and sections perfectly to coordinate orders without mistakes. Also, I know the menu well to recognize each ordered item fast and give recommendations when guests ask for advice. Taking an order from a guest table, I assign each guest a number (clockwise, starting from where I stand) and write down their orders. It also helps me to bring drinks and dishes right to a person who ordered them. And it is a life-saver when guests from one table wish to pay separately.”
6. Remember your last angry client. What was the situation, and how did you resolve it?
Tip: Professional waiters never let emotions affect their job. Whatever customers do, waiters have to stay calm and focused on service. It is what an interviewer wants to see in your answer.
Answer: “A client wanted some fish, as he didn’t eat meat. Unfortunately, that day we’d run out of fish. He became angry and a little rude. I suggested that he order the same dish with cheese fingers instead of fried fish. I asked what his favorite cheese was, and our chef cooked it. Finally, the client got satisfied and told it would become his regular order in that restaurant.”
7. Are you able to work extra hours? Are you able to work on holidays?
Tip: A perfect answer to such questions is, “Yes, yes, and yes.” However, if there are some higher priorities like studying or family, let the interviewers know about it.
Answer: “I can work extra hours and work additional shifts all the time except when I have to pass my college exams. I understand that sometimes there is a lack of hands, and I’ll get you covered, even during holidays.”
8. How many tables and people have you served at the same time? What was your record?
Tip: Tell about your record, pointing out what helped you to cope with the job. If you are a newbie, and it’s your first potential job, tell how you see the process of servicing lots of tables at once.
Answer: “Currently, I have no such experience. I think there are three key points to handle the rush. First, the waiter needs to know the menu perfectly. Second, keeping a clear and concise record of all orders. And third, attention to each table and guest, making sure that everyone is served.”
9. What do you like most about working as a waitress?
Tip: A perfect candidate is the one motivated by something else except money. Explain to your interviewer why you love being a waitress.
Answer: “I like that each day is different, as I am serving different people. I continuously learn new things in communication, psychology, and self-management. My favorite part of this work is people whom I learn from and whom I serve.”
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10. Are you a team-oriented worker?
Tip: Waitressing is a link in the chain of restaurant services. The success of every chain highly depends on each other. Waiters have to be team-oriented and able to assist others when needed.
Answer: “From my experience, teamwork helps with managing high loads and increases overall customer service quality. I am always ready to help my colleagues if they ask or if I see they are overloaded.”
11. How do you see your contribution to the restaurant’s success?
Tip: Express how, in your own opinion, your duties influence the overall organization. Avoid any criticism towards the employer or going out of your future responsibilities.
Answer: “My role is taking care of customers to make them feel happy with the restaurant. If they have a good experience, they will come back again and recommend this place to others. So my input into the overall success is providing excellent customer service to each guest.”
12. How do you react to negative feedback?
Tip: This type of waitress interview question shows if your nerves are strong enough to serve people. Show how you transform negative reactions into a useful experience.
Answer: “I will do my best to keep all customers satisfied and not leave any negative comments. However, if that happens, I will accept it, analyze it, and make proper adjustments to avoid the same situation in the future.”
13. How would you describe your upselling skills?
Tip: Upselling is excellent for any business. However, it should not be a priority in customer service.
Answer: “I prefer upselling without being too pushy, offering additional menu items, just if they fit the main order. I am a good adviser for a guest who cannot choose the right drink for a dish. Of course, I will suggest adding more wine if I see the glass is getting empty.”
14. Are you well versed in wines? What is your favorite choice?
Tip: if you name the sort of wine without any emotions, the interviewer may think you’re not good at wines and not passionate about that. Often a waiter is expected to be a pro in drinks.
Answer: “I understand what wine fits certain dishes and can recommend guests which one to choose depending on their taste and food order. It would be interesting to check your wine cart. I prefer blush wines with aged cheese appetizers or seafood. Oysters and dry white wine is another perfect combo for me.”
15. How do you maintain safety at your workplace?
Tip: Servers need to move quickly and carefully between guests and tables while carrying dishes and drinks. Show how you protect yourself and your colleagues.
Answer: “I wear comfortable shoes and clothes, always watch my way to make sure I won’t push anyone. When I carry plates near another waiter, I always explain where I’m going. Another important safety rule for me is keeping everything properly organized and avoiding messiness.”
16. Are you OK with POS systems and taking payments?
Tip: Interviewers want to know if you can process payments without any assistance. Explain your experience.
Answer: “I’ve dealt with cash, credit card payments, and gift cards. I am well versed with various POS systems and software. I am a fast learner and quickly get used to any new technology.”
17. What would you like to improve in your waitressing skills?
Tip: Mention your growth area. There is always something you’d like to improve in your profession to perform better. Be honest with your answer.
Answer: “As I want every guest to be happy, I hate making them wait for a long time. For instance, while their order is being cooked. Very often, a customer doesn’t show any discomfort. It is only in my head. I think I should not take it so seriously and keep a good mood, as it affects my service quality.”
18. What are your additional skills that can be used in waitressing?
Tip: Remember the additional work you did on your previous jobs related to a server’s role, and describe it in your answer.
Answer: “I can set the tables, clean, and prepare a dining hall. At my last place of work, I cooked various sorts of coffee drinks using a coffee machine and mixed standard cocktails at the bar. I am comfortable with these activities and can perform them in your restaurant.”
19. What have you learned from your last job?
Tip: Remember a useful lesson you’ve learned from your past experience. It should be something that you can apply to your new workplace.
Answer: "At my last job, I had no supervisor. I had to learn fast and be highly self-disciplined. This experience showed how important it is to have advice and help in tough moments. I always assist my colleagues, especially new ones, and those who are overloaded with work. I like this ‘give-and-take’ approach when we can rely on each other in a team."
While every job interview is high stress for almost any human, you can make your life much easier by mastering these typical waitress job interview questions and answers. They give an understanding of what the employer expects to hear. They also reveal your skills and help to see how well you fit the team. However, another interview goal is to make sure the employer fits you. Ask your questions to uncover any uncertain terms of your future employment and find out more about your scope of duties.
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