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29+ Hostess Interview Questions (With Answer Examples)

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Hiring the right hostess is critical to the overall guest experience in a restaurant. The hostess is often the first person customers encounter, setting the tone for their dining experience. Over the years, we’ve assisted hundreds of restaurants in refining their interview process. We’ve categorized hostess interview questions into five groups to help you identify the ideal candidate for your establishment.

General Hostess Interview Questions

  • Why do you want to be a hostess at our restaurant? 

Example answer: “I have always admired the ambiance and reviews of your establishment. I want to contribute to this excellent reputation by creating a warm welcome for all diners.”

  • What do you know about our restaurant?

Example answer: “Your restaurant is known for its authentic cuisine and has been awarded multiple times for excellence in service. Regulars often mention the cozy atmosphere and friendly staff.”

  • How would you handle a situation where customers are complaining about waiting too long? 

Example answer: “I’d apologize for the inconvenience and ensure them that we’re doing our best to accommodate them. Offering a comfortable waiting spot or suggesting they browse the menu in the meantime might ease their wait.”

  • How would you manage multiple reservations, especially during peak hours? 

Example answer: “I’d prioritize reservations based on their scheduled time, ensuring we have a system in place to keep track. Clear communication with the waiting staff is crucial to ensure smooth operations.”

  • How do you handle stressful situations, especially when the restaurant is packed? 

Example answer: “Staying calm and organized is essential. I believe in prioritizing tasks, effectively communicating with the team, and always keeping the customer’s comfort in mind.”

Questions About Experience and Background

  • Have you worked as a hostess before? If so, where and for how long? 

Example answer: “Yes, I worked as a hostess at [Restaurant Name] for two years, managing both weekday and weekend shifts.”

  • Describe a challenging situation you encountered in your previous role and how you handled it. 

Example answer: “Once, our reservation system crashed on a busy night. I relied on manual logs, communicated the situation to guests, and coordinated closely with the management to ensure smooth operations.”

  • How familiar are you with reservation management software?
  • Have you ever worked in a fast-paced restaurant environment?
  • How would your previous employer describe you?
  • What made you leave your last hostess job?
  • Do you have any experience in other restaurant roles?
  • How do you handle conflicts with colleagues?
  • What part of the hostess role do you find most fulfilling?
  • What do you consider the most challenging aspect of being a hostess?

Interview Questions Focused on Soft Skills

  • How would you handle a rude or unruly customer?

Example answer: “I’d remain calm and courteous, trying to understand their concerns and seeking a middle-ground solution, always keeping the restaurant’s reputation in mind.”

  • How do you prioritize tasks when things get hectic? 

Example answer: “I usually list down tasks, tackle the most urgent ones first, and always keep communication lines open with other staff members to ensure we’re all on the same page.”

  • Describe a time you went above and beyond for a customer.
  • How do you handle feedback or criticism from management or peers?
  • How do you ensure you are always on time and ready for your shift?
  • Do you consider yourself a team player? Provide an example.
  • How do you handle situations when you are not familiar with a guest’s language or dialect?
  • How would you calm down an agitated customer?
  • Can you describe a time when you made a mistake and how you rectified it?
  • How do you ensure that every customer feels valued?

Interview Questions Focused on Hard Skills

  • How familiar are you with the restaurant’s seating layout and accommodating large groups? 

Example answer: “I always make it a point to familiarize myself with the seating layout and the capacity of each section. For large groups, I would coordinate with the floor manager to ensure we have a comfortable space ready.”

  • Do you have experience using [specific reservation software]?
  • How do you manage the waiting list during peak hours?
  • How do you handle reservation mix-ups or overbookings?
  • How would you deal with a situation where a reserved table isn’t ready on time?
  • Are you familiar with handling emergency situations, like a fire drill?
  • What methods do you use to keep track of guest preferences or special requests?
  • How would you handle situations where guests want to change tables frequently?
  • How do you ensure guests are seated in a way that optimizes the workflow of the waiting staff?
  • Describe how you’d manage a situation where two parties arrive at the same time but only one table is available.

Scenario-Based Hostess Interview Questions (That Show Problem-Solving Skills)

  • A regular customer is displeased because they feel they’ve been waiting too long, even with a reservation. How do you handle it? 

Example answer: “I’d approach the customer, apologize for the delay, and explain the situation. Offering them a complimentary beverage or appetizer while they wait can also help ease their frustration.”

  • During a busy shift, a group arrives without a reservation, expecting a table due to their loyalty to the restaurant. How do you manage?
  • On a fully booked night, a VIP or celebrity walks into the restaurant without a reservation. How do you handle the situation?

Hostess Interview Tips

  • Always prioritize customer comfort and satisfaction.
  • Stay organized and calm, even during the busiest shifts.
  • Continuously communicate with other staff members for smooth operations.
  • Familiarize yourself with the restaurant’s seating layout and reservation system.
  • Understand the importance of first impressions; the hostess sets the tone for the guest’s experience.
  • Prepare for interviews by understanding the restaurant’s culture and values.
  • Always focus on creating a welcoming atmosphere for every guest.

Key Takeaways

  • A hostess plays a crucial role in shaping a diner’s experience.
  • Soft skills, such as communication and patience, are as important as hard skills.
  • Prioritizing customer satisfaction is of utmost importance.
  • Staying organized during peak hours can ensure smooth operations.
  • Scenario-based questions help identify a candidate’s problem-solving skills.
  • The hostess is often the first and last point of contact for diners, making their role pivotal.
  • Continuous learning and adaptation are essential in the ever-evolving restaurant industry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Why do you want to be a hostess here?
  • How do you handle a situation where customers complain about waiting?
  • How do you manage multiple reservations during peak hours?
  • How do you handle stressful situations?
  • Describe a challenging situation from a previous role.
  • How familiar are you with reservation management software?
  • How would you handle a rude or unruly customer?
  • How do you prioritize tasks when things get hectic?
  • How do you manage the waiting list during busy times?
  • Describe how you’d manage a situation with two parties arriving at the same time with only one table available.

The hostess is often the first and last point of contact for diners. Their demeanor, efficiency, and approach can set the tone for the entire dining experience. A warm, welcoming hostess can enhance the restaurant’s reputation and ensure repeat business.

  • A lack of punctuality or professionalism.
  • Inability to handle stressful situations calmly.
  • Poor communication skills.
  • An indifferent or dismissive attitude towards customer concerns.
  • Unwillingness to work in a team or adapt to changes.
  • Inconsistencies in their answers or a lack of genuine interest in the role.

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