Restaurant manager interview

When diners visit your restaurant, what memories do they take away with them? The food? Most certainly. The service? Definitely. The decor, perhaps? Absolutely. But what about any interactions with the manager? Were they introduced to one of your most senior members of staff?

The manager of a restaurant is tasked with overseeing every constituent element that makes up a great meal out. If they do that job well, they should absolutely have the chance to introduce themselves to paying customers and be the public face of your business.

Thankfully, great managers will make themselves known to diners without hesitation and with zero prompting from the restaurant owner. But how do you find the best manager?

Below, we’ve got 4 tips for sniffing out a restaurant manager who will transform your business.

1. Define what you want from your manager

Many people define managers as ‘spinal cords’ of businesses in that they connect all of the individual branches of the restaurant and make them work in harmony. If an argument flares up in the kitchen, they need to be capable of mediating. If a guest is particularly unhappy with their starter, they should be able to defuse the situation and present a solution.

Restaurant managers also wear many hats – they’re motivators, front of house staff, bartenders, customer service operatives and trainers. Most of all, they’re leaders who must be approachable, fair yet able to assert authority when required.

In any interview situation, you should be able to suss out the personality traits behind the above qualities relatively quickly. They’ll appear confident, unafraid to challenge you and, above all, be eminently likeable.

2. Look within

Your ideal restaurant manager may already be on the payroll. Look amongst your existing staff – who shines brightest? Who appears to be punching above their weight? Which waiting staff are particularly popular with both colleagues and customers?

There’s nothing better than being able to promote from within. It saves recruitment costs and demonstrates to everyone who works for the restaurant that there are genuine opportunities to grow beyond their current roles.

The rough diamond you appointed as chief pot washer three years ago may well be harbouring a desire to run the joint. Go talk to them and let that ambition out!

3. Seek someone who is happy to get their hands dirty

As we’ve already established, restaurant managers are expected to undertake all manner of tasks. Some may not be particularly palatable while others will be well below their pay grade. If you get a sense that the person you’re interviewing wouldn’t be seen dead cleaning pans or mopping the toilet floor, they’re not the manager you’re looking for.

A great manager will always be ready to get their hands dirty.

4. Don’t be afraid to trial

Recruitment can be a long, arduous process, which is why so many mistakes are made when trying to find the right people. Few of us want to go through the pain of advertising and interviewing countless candidates over and over, which often leads to snap decisions. Equally, many candidates will display acting qualities destined for hollywood that simply don’t reflect their real personality or capabilities.

You’ll never be sure someone is fit to be your restaurant manager until they take up the job, so don’t be afraid to trial people. Be up front from the start and go for a period of one month to assess their abilities. You’ll soon know if you made the right choice.


The right restaurant manager is out there, but it will be amongst the most difficult hires you make. Remember – look for someone who strikes that tricky balance between confidence and an ability to drop rank whenever required.

Hiring a manager shouldn’t be easy. If you find it is, you’re doing something wrong – don’t make snap decisions. We hope the tips above help you in your recruitment quest.

Image credit