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By: Brian Bruce

Restaurant Manager Interview Questions: What To Ask Your Interviewer, and When

Always remember that an interview is a two-way street. If the employer expects you to ask questions, they will provide an opportunity for you to ask questions in return, at or near the end of the interview. As the interview comes to a close, one of the final questions you may be asked is, "What can I answer for you?". You should have interview questions of your own ready to ask. You aren't simply trying to get this job - you are also interviewing the employer to assess whether this restaurant and the position are a good fit for you. Always prepare questions to ask. Having no questions prepared sends the message that you have no independent thought process. The questions that you ask are just as critical as the responses that you gave. Asking thoughtful questions demonstrates your intelligence, common sense and your interest in the position to the employer. By posing good questions to the hiring manager, you will gain additional useful information about the opportunity.

Some of your questions may be answered during the course of the interview before you are offered the opportunity to ask. If so, simply state something to the effect that you were interested in knowing about ..., but that was addressed during the interview. You could ask for additional clarification on the subject if applicable. Below are some sample questions from which you can develop your own. However, don't ask a question if you are not truly interested in the answer; it will be obvious to the employer.

  • What are the company's strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
  • How important does upper management consider the function of this department/position?
  • What is the concept's growth plan for the next five years, and how does this location/region fit in?
  • Could you explain your organizational structure?
  • How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
  • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
  • Could you describe your company's management style and the type of manager who fits well with it?
  • What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
  • What is the company's policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training so employees can keep up their skills or acquire new ones?
  • What particular POS equipment and software do you use?
  • What kind of work can I expect to be doing the first year?
  • Could you describe the training program to me?
  • Who will review my performance? How often? Using what criteria?
  • How much guidance or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals?
  • Can you describe an ideal employee?
  • What is your organization's policy on transfers to other cities?

Following are questions to NEVER ask in an interview! Heed well this advice. Failure to do so will most certainly doom your chances of continuing in the process.

  • What kind of food does your restaurant serve? (Do your research ahead of time!)
  • What is the employee discount? (Is it really that important?)
  • If I get the job when can I take time off for vacation? (Wait until you get the offer to mention prior commitments)
  • Can I change my schedule if I get the job? (If you need to figure out the logistics of getting to work don't mention it now...)
  • Did I get the job? (Don't be impatient. They'll let you know.)

Do not ask questions that are clearly answered on the employer's web site and/or in any literature provided by the employer to you in advance. (This would simply reveal that you did not prepare for the interview, and you are wasting the employer's time by asking these questions.) Never ask about salary and benefits issues until those subjects are raised by the employer.

In closing, be sure to incorporate the following types of questions to gauge the employer's interest level and to express your own desire for the job.

  • Do you see me as a fit for this position?
  • Do you have any concerns?
  • How do my qualifications compare with other candidates that you have interviewed?
  • What is the next step in the process?

Always state "I want this job!"

About the author:  Brian Bruce is an Executive Restaurant Recruiter and Blogger with 23 years of operations experience. His vast knowledge of the industry comes from managing in national concepts such as Chili's and Joe's Crab Shack. Brian understands the day-to-day challenges from both sides of the equation - as a client trying to find quality operations candidates, and as a management candidate trying to find a quality employer. He can be contacted at

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