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There are over 14 million restaurant employees in the United States. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the best FOH staff out of those 14 million folks.

Easy, right?

The “Cost” Of Hiring FOH Restaurant Staff

Consider this: On average, the cost of hiring a FOH employee in your restaurant can be as much as $6,000, according to Modern Restaurant Management. That’s an investment that, in the restaurant industry, walks out the door nearly 50% of the time.

Between tracking your food costs, attempting to bring in more guests, and learning the ins and outs of EMV compliant restaurant POS technology, it’s no wonder restaurant owners like yourself find it harder every day to get a good hiring process in place. Time constraints can make it hard to feel like you have the ability to maintain consistency in this process. But you can!

restaurant manager conducting interview

Interview Questions for Front of House Staff

If you only follow one process for interviewing, it should be this: use the same questions. This allows you to easily compare potential employees to one another and get a sense of what kind of answers the best of those 14 million will give you.

To get you started, here is our list of the top questions to ask when interviewing FOH employees.

  1. Have you dined at our restaurant before?
  2. What made you apply here rather than another restaurant?
  3. What made you want to work in the restaurant industry?
  4. Why would you make a good addition to our team?
  5. What do you like about working in a restaurant?
  6. How do you garnish a Manhattan?
  7. What is your most memorable dining experience?
  8. Do you consider yourself a patient person?
  9. What are 3 adjectives your closest friends would use to describe you?
  10. Would you say you have a good memory?
  11. Can you provide an example of something you did without being asked?
  12. How would you deal with a demanding customer?
  13. What is your most memorable dining experience?
  14. Why would you make a good addition to our team?
  15. You are working a double, how do you pace yourself through the day?
  16. What’s the toughest job you’ve ever had?
  17. Why did you leave your last job?

If you only follow one process for interviewing, it should be this: use the same questions.

The Top 3 Questions For FOH Staff Interviews

There are lots of questions you can ask, but we have 3 that we think are the cream of the crop:

1- Can you provide me an example of how you provide assistance to someone in need?

Why is turnover is so high, what is the actual cost, and how do you fix it? Find the answers in our Staff Management ebook.

Download The Guide

Someone who is applying for a job in the restaurant industry likely has some experience on how to be a good server or restaurant employee. This person will know how to handle customers; but asking them how they handle providing assistance, in general, is a good view into their demeanor.

2- What is your strategy for bringing back loyal guests?

Building relationships, being approachable, and providing loads of attention is one way to bring back loyal guests. What’s better is knowing these server tips and tricks: understand which menu items to recommend based on client preferences, understand special events, and know how to up-sell items that will bring high satisfaction.

3- When you approach the table and learn a customer is a first-time guest, what do you suggest?

An employee that might suggest a low-cost item or an item that is not a hit with everyone (simply because they enjoy it), is not going to have an easy time with building customer loyalty or driving sales.

Time Is On Your Side

Remember: Rushing through the process is one of the most common mistakes restaurant owners make. Take the time to think about what you want to ask. Good hiring practices often require at least two interviews, reference checks, and background checks.

Keep in mind that time is on your side. Expect the process to take a few days… but it will pay off! If you’re looking for a comprehensive restaurant staff hiring guide, check this out.

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In a perfect world, Theresa would spend her days reading good books and writing all the time... and she'd own all the shoes her heart desired. When she's not on the hunt for shoes, you can find this Rhode Island transplant on the hunt for food that comes close to "Long Island". Her favorite? Caffe Dolce Vita in Providence's historic Federal Hill.
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