Hiring waiters and waitresses are always a challenge.


Not only are they responsible for serving customers, but they can also be the reason that keeps people from coming back for more.

It is always a good practice to hire people who fit your company’s culture. 

Check out these tips on how to hire good wait staff for your restaurant.


Hire for personality


A typical reaction to resumes or applications is to focus on the applicant’s working experience. After all, you have to know how much training you need to give and if the applicant can carry out the job’s roles. However, the lack of working experience as a waitstaff should not be a deterrent when hiring for one. If the applicant has experience in other industries and displays customer service skills, they can be valuable to your business. 

For a position that also serves as the frontline of your business, you need someone with a great personality. Look for someone outgoing, polite, friendly, and converses with humour. The gift of gab can help diffuse the tension of a long wait, whether for a seat or the guests’ order. See if they can keep consistent eye contact. 

After hiring, you can later teach techniques and specific tasks that fall into the waitstaff responsibilities. Train them to follow the tone of your business, whether casual or upscale. 

Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the applicants present themselves well in terms of their appearance, but don’t let physical attributes be a significant factor. It would be best to have someone who is a genuine person and has the right temperament for the job. 


RELATED READ: 3 Strategies to Help You Retain Newly Hired People


Probe gently with the right personal questions


Interviews are a way to know applicants better but there are specific interview questions that can be considered illegal. 

A good way to coax them to provide some personal insight is to ask them about hobbies, favourites and what they do for fun . The goal is to get them to talk about something they are passionate about, giving you a peek at their genuine personality. 


Decision Making


A waitstaff typically gets requests and inquiries, which is why they must demonstrate decision-making skills. When the floor is busy, it is often up to them to figure out how to best serve customers. They know just how much they can manage and when to call the supervisor to assist in handling matters. Ask questions about situations that have them decide on the fly or when they showed leadership/initiative to resolve problems. If they have no story to tell, ask hypothetical serving scenarios and ask them how they would handle them. 

But don’t limit your conversation with your prepared questions. When nearing the end of the interview, ask applicants if they have any questions. 

Later on, you can train them on situations they can manage and refer to supervisors. 


Role Play


Whether with working experience in the hospitality industry or not, ask them to demonstrate how they would greet customers or show their serving skills. As for someone pretending to be a customer, you will get an idea if the applicant can create a remarkable first impression. If actual role-playing is not your style, assess the applicant with how your conversation is carrying on. Do you feel at ease talking to them? Would you feel comfortable or threatened if this person is serving your meal?


First Impressions


Ironically, I put the first impression at the bottom of this list. It seems evident that first impressions should place at a higher rank for a frontline job considering the effect of a waitstaff’s likeability on your dining guests. However, first impressions are subjective. I may not necessarily see the traits that my hiring manager see as a turn-off. The applicant may be temporarily nervous. Simultaneously, as the conversation progresses, you may discover that the positive impressions the person made on you do not have much substance or bearing on the position you are hiring. 

This is why it makes more sense to consider first impressions last. Once the interview is over, weigh the result of the interview, make an objective look if your first impression is a detractor  or an asset to the job.


In Summary:

When hiring waitstaff, hire people who fit your business. After that, you can then teach them the specific processes you want them to adhere to daily.

If you are based in Perth or Western Australia, Anytime Chefs can also help you with your waitstaff needs. If you need assistance in your upcoming events, give us a call and let us remove the stress of finding the proper help so you can focus on your more important work – making your event successful!!!


That’s it for this week.
As always, Professional Chefs on Call at Anytime!

Ciao for now,

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