27 Applebee’s Interview Questions (Practice These Answers)
Your heart pounds as you walk into the interview room at Applebee’s. This job means everything to you—a way to gain valuable experience, earn an income to support yourself, and start building a career. But as the interviewer fires off question after question, you freeze up, unsure of how to respond.
Don’t let a lack of preparation lead to lost opportunities. This blog post contains the most commonly asked interview questions at Applebee’s along with example answers to help you feel ready and confident. Read on and feel the relief of walking into your interview knowing you have the knowledge and skills to succeed. Master these questions and you’ll move one step closer to the future you desire.
With the job market more competitive than ever, preparation is key to standing out. Use this resource to your advantage and feel the confidence that comes from knowing you gave it your all. The career you’ve always wanted is within reach—you just need to take that first step.
Applebee’s Company Information
As you prepare for your interview with Applebee’s, you must understand the company inside and out. Familiarizing yourself with key facts about Applebee’s history, values, mission, products, and operations will allow you to speak knowledgeably about why you’re a great fit for the role.
While the list of interview questions ahead may seem intimidating, going in armed with this contextual knowledge will boost your confidence and ability to deliver persuasive responses. This is your opportunity to demonstrate real passion and preparation—now is the time to dive in and absorb the most important details about Applebee’s.
|Trade Name||Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar|
|Type||Casual dining restaurant chain|
|Date Founded||Nov 19, 1980|
|Founders||Bill Palmer and T.J. Palmer|
|Headquarters||Glendale, California, United States|
|Signature Items||Boneless Wings, Double-Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Oriental Chicken Salad, Bahama Mama, Perfect Margarita|
|Number of Locations||1,670|
|Core Values||Integrity, Excellence, Innovation, Accountability, Inclusion, Trust, Community|
|Competitors||Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Red Robin, TGI Fridays, Outback Steakhouse, Ruby Tuesday|
|Charitable Activities||Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation|
- Applebee’s was founded in the 1980s by a couple in Decatur, Georgia, who took out a $50,000 loan to start the restaurant.
- The concept was sold to WR Grace and Company, and under the leadership of Bill Palmer, it became a successful chain of franchises.
- Some Applebee’s locations in Florida turn into “Club Bees” after 10 p.m., with loud music, a DJ, and drinks flowing until 2 a.m. Club Bees is not officially sanctioned by the corporate offices, but it is left up to individual franchise owners to do or not do as they see fit.
- Applebee’s is secretive about its recipes and won’t share them publicly. In 1997, a manager at an Applebee’s in Washington gave away the salad recipe but wouldn’t tell anyone how to make the dressing. Any webistes that claim to provide the actual Applebee’s recipe for one of their menu items are lying at best.
- Applebee’s allows franchise owners to add local dishes to the menu and customize the decor within certain limits.
- Applebee’s is owned by Dine Brands Global Inc., which is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world.
- Applebee’s has an interactive chatting app called “What’s Applebee’s,” which allows customers inside the restaurant to chat with each other.
- The chain has been committed to sourcing only humane eggs and pork since 2013.
- In 2004, Applebee’s launched a drive-in-style service called Carside To Go, where you can order ahead, and an employee will bring your order to your car. While not widely advertised, Carside To Go is available at all Applebee’s locations, and you can also order for pickup via the restaurant’s app.
Applebee’s Mission Statement
To make sure you’re eatin’ good whenever you step into an Applebee’s.
Applebee’s Interview Questions
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how your personality and background would make you a good fit for the Applebee’s team?
This common interview question has a two-fold purpose:
- The interviewer wants to get a sense of your personality and see if it would mesh well with the company culture. Applebee’s values teamwork, customer service, and an upbeat attitude, so highlighting relevant personality traits and a genuine passion for hospitality is key.
- The interviewer wants to understand your background and experiences to assess if you have the right skills and qualifications for the role. Mention relevant experience in the food service industry, leadership experience if applying for a manager role, and skills that would be valuable for the specific position.
To answer this question successfully:
- Keep your answer brief, around 2 minutes when speaking. Focus on 2-3 key relevant personality traits and experiences.
- Express genuine passion for the work and company. Let your enthusiasm shine through.
- Explain how your background will benefit the team and company goals. Make concrete connections.
- Use an enthusiastic and engaging tone to match the company culture.
Here is an example answer:
“I’m an outgoing and hardworking person who thrives in fast-paced environments. I have over 5 years of experience in the restaurant industry, including serving and hosting, so I’m already very familiar with the day-to-day operations and demands of the work. I have a real passion for delivering an unforgettable guest experience, which has been reinforced through my background in hospitality. My leadership experience also allows me to step up and train new team members, if needed. I would appreciate the opportunity to bring my industry experience and passion for hospitality to the Applebee’s team.”
Why do you want to work for Applebee’s?
The interviewer is trying to assess your genuine interest and fit for the company and role. They want to know you have done your research about Applebee’s and are excited for the prospect of contributing to their team.
To answer this effectively, do your homework on Applebee’s values, culture, and vision. Then, connect your relevant experience and goals to what they are trying to achieve. Show a passion for food/customer service and highlight transferable skills that would benefit the company.
A strong answer might be:
“I’m drawn to Applebee’s focus on delivering an enjoyable dining experience through quality food and excellent service. My 3 years of serving experience and ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment will allow me to jump right in and contribute to that vision. I pride myself on my ability to connect with customers, address problems or requests, and work collaboratively with a team. The opportunity to bring my experience to an established brand like Applebee’s and help continue growing their business is very appealing. Overall, I believe my passion for the industry and track record of success would make me a great fit for your team.”
How would you ensure a warm welcome and outstanding first impression for guests?
The purpose of this question is to gauge if you understand the importance of a positive first impression and have concrete ideas for delivering an exceptional guest experience right from the start of a visit. The interviewer wants to see that you would proactively take ownership to welcome guests promptly, enthusiastically, and hospitably. They are trying to assess if you have the customer-service oriented mindset and hospitality skills required for the role.
To answer this question, first acknowledge the significance of a friendly welcome and highlight your passion for service. Then, provide a few specific tactics you would implement:
- Greet guests with a warm smile within seconds of entering. A prompt, genuine greeting sets the right tone for the experience.
- Thank guests for coming in and ask how you can assist them. Showing gratitude and offering help right away demonstrates your desire to serve.
- Highlight any specials or recommendations to convey your knowledge and help guests discover something new or address any needs. Making personalized suggestions shows you are tuned into the guest’s preferences and interests.
- Ensure a smooth handoff to the server to maintain the positive momentum. Properly coordinating with colleagues leaves a lasting positive impression of the team and restaurant as a whole.
Here’s an example that incorporates these tips:
“A warm welcome and outstanding first impression are crucial to the overall guest experience. As a host, I would greet each guest with a friendly smile within seconds of them entering. I would thank them for coming into Applebee’s and ask how I can assist them. I would then provide recommendations tailored to their needs and highlight any specials. When seating them, I would communicate any important details with their server to ensure there is no drop-off in service. Taking this kind of proactive, personalized approach shows guests they are valued and helps set the positive tone for their visit.”
Being prepared to speak to specific tactics for promptly and enthusiastically welcoming guests will demonstrate your strong customer service orientation and fit for the role. Giving a thorough, compelling example, as shown, will leave a lasting positive impression on the interviewer.
How would you effectively communicate with and listen to guests and coworkers?
The purpose of this interview question is for the hiring manager to assess your communication skills and ability to collaborate with others. Effective communication and active listening are essential for success as a server or in any role at Applebee’s.
The interviewer wants to know that you can understand guests’ needs, take orders accurately, work with coworkers as a team to provide great service, and resolve any issues or problems that may arise.
As you answer this question, emphasize the following:
- Your ability to actively listen to guests and coworkers. For example, mention that you fully focus on the speaker, ask questions to clarify, and avoid interrupting.
- Your communication skills. Highlight that you are concise and clear in order to minimize confusion or errors. Explain that you tailor your style based on the situation and individual.
- Your team-oriented approach. Note that you collaborate well with others, welcome feedback, and work together towards a common goal of excellence.
You can say:
“Effective communication and active listening are essential to delivering an excellent experience for guests. When interacting with guests, I fully focus on understanding their needs, taking orders accurately, and immediately addressing any concerns. With coworkers, I listen to understand various perspectives, collaborate to resolve issues, and communicate clearly to minimize confusion or errors. I tailor my style to individuals and situations. For example, with an upset guest, I remain calm and actively listen to understand the root cause so I can promptly resolve the situation. With a busy coworker, I get to the point quickly and offer help if needed. I have a team-oriented mentality and welcome feedback to continuously improve.”
How would you effectively manage guest flow and seating to ensure a great experience?
The interviewer is asking this question to assess your customer service skills and ability to effectively manage operations to provide a great guest experience. They want to see that you understand the importance of guest flow, are attentive to guests’ needs, and can make decisions to avoid negative impacts on the guest experience.
Some tips for answering:
- Highlight your customer service orientation and passion for delivering a great guest experience. Mention “guest-first” mentality.
- Discuss monitoring cues like wait times, full tables, guest feedback/complaints to gauge flow and make adjustments. Note using metrics and data to inform decisions.
- Explain appropriately delegating to staff and collaborating as a team to execute changes. Emphasize clear communication and leading by example.
Here is an example answer:
“I would closely monitor the key indicators of guest flow and experience, such as wait times, table turnovers, and guest feedback. If wait times started increasing or tables were not turning over efficiently, I would make sure to delegate additional table clearing/setting duties to service staff and hosting staff to get tables turned faster. I would also consider temporarily expanding the seating area or adjusting table layouts to increase capacity during busy periods. It is critical to be highly attentive to guests’ needs and address any issues or complaints promptly to avoid negative impacts. By leveraging metrics, anticipating pressure points, delegating responsibilities, and maintaining a ‘guest-first’ team mentality, I would work to sustain a smooth flow and outstanding experience for all Applebee’s guests.”
Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced, flexible environment with frequently changing requirements?
This interview question is assessing if you would be a good fit for the fast-paced, high-demand nature of a restaurant environment. The interviewer wants to know that you can handle pressure well, think and react quickly on your feet, and are able to adapt to changing requirements.
For your answer, highlight these traits and give examples of your past experience thriving in busy, fluid work situations. Mention things like:
- Your ability to prioritize and reorganize as needed to meet targets.
- Your calm demeanor and clear-thinking under pressure.
- Your proactive problem-solving skills in anticipating and addressing issues.
A strong example answer could be:
“Yes, I am very comfortable working in a fast-paced environment with changing requirements. In my current role, we frequently have rush periods where I have to quickly pivot between different tasks and priorities to ensure strong customer service. I’ve learned to react calmly and logically in these busy situations, reorganizing my responsibilities as needed to achieve goals. For example, when we were unexpectedly short-staffed one night due to illnesses, I took initiative to shift into more intensive duties to prevent any decline in service or sales. My ability to think and act quickly on my feet would allow me to thrive in your restaurant environment and deliver a great experience for your customers.”
The interviewer is asking this question to assess your ability to adapt to changes and unexpected situations. In the fast-paced restaurant industry, things are always changing—new menu items, scheduling shifts, updated safety protocols, etc. The interviewer wants to know that you will be able to roll with these changes and adjustments with a positive attitude.
To answer this question, highlight your flexibility, proactiveness to learn, and calm composure under change. Explain that you understand the need to be able to pivot quickly in this industry to meet business needs and serve guests.
Some tips for your answer:
- Discuss a specific example of a change you navigated at a previous job. For example, “At my last serving job, the restaurant updated their safety protocols to include a new sanitation checklist and food handling certification renewal process for all staff. I took the initiative to study the new materials right away and earned my certification on the first day it was offered. I was then able to help train my colleagues on the new steps, ensuring a smooth rollout of the updated procedures.”
- Frame challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. For example, “Having a consistent schedule is important, but I understand sometimes shifts need to be reassigned or extended/reduced to meet the needs of the business. I always maintain a willing and team-first attitude, seeing scheduling changes as a chance to gain new skills and experiences.”
- Express your ability to receive feedback and directions positively. For example, “I take feedback and instruction well, viewing them as ways to improve and better meet expectations. If I’m struggling with an updated process, I ask clarifying questions. My goal is to implement changes accurately and with a positive attitude.”
- Highlight relevant experience and your customer service orientation. For example, “With five years of serving experience, I’ve navigated various changes, and my top priority is always maintaining great food and service for guests. No matter what adjustments are made, I work hard to deliver an excellent experience, even if that means extra effort or a longer shift from me.”
How would you handle unhappy or frustrated guests while remaining courteous and attentive?
The interviewer is asking this to assess your customer service skills and ability to defuse tense situations. The key is to demonstrate a calm, compassionate approach.
To ace this question, emphasize active listening, empathy, and problem-solving:
“First, I would listen actively to the guest to fully understand the root cause of their unhappiness and frustration. Then, I would express empathy for their experience while remaining courteous and professional. Something like: “I apologize for the poor service. I can understand why you feel frustrated, and I want to make this right.”
From there, I would take ownership and offer specific solutions, for example: “Please let me get you a fresh meal/drink on us. Is there anything else I can help with?” I aim to remedy the situation, recover the guest’s trust, and send them off with a positive experience.”
By conveying a people-focused mindset and recovery-oriented approach, you show the interviewer you have the soft skills and composure necessary to navigate difficult customer interactions.
Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond to provide outstanding service to a guest?
The purpose of asking this question is to assess your commitment to customer service and how you would handle difficult or demanding situations to leave guests with a positive impression. The interviewer wants to know that you are willing to go the extra mile to satisfy customers and ensure their dining experience is memorable for the right reasons.
To answer this question effectively, prepare an example of a time you went above your required duties to make a customer’s experience exceptional. Share specific actions you took and the positive results or feedback you received.
For a restaurant role, your example could relate to addressing a complaint promptly and resolving it to the customer’s satisfaction, recovering a poor first impression, or assisting a customer with a specific need to make their visit hassle-free. Demonstrate how you paid close attention to the customer’s concerns or circumstances, took initiative to make things right, and maintained a positive attitude.
For instance, you could say:
“There was a time when a regular guest’s meal was delayed due to a kitchen issue. I apologized for the wait and comped their appetizer. When their entrées were ready but they were nearly finished with appetizers, I asked if they would like me to wrap up their meals to go so they could enjoy them as leftovers. They were very grateful for how I handled the situation and for the offer of taking their meals to go. My manager also commended me for the initiative I showed in resolving their delayed dining experience and encouraged me to provide the same level of service to all guests.”
To ace this interview question, convey your passion for service, think of a relevant example that shows how you went above expectations, and express the outcome and any recognition you received. With preparation, you can leave your interviewer confident in your ability to deliver an outstanding experience to every Applebee’s guest.
How would you effectively communicate with guests and coworkers in a busy restaurant environment?
The interviewer is trying to assess your communication skills and see how you would handle the fast-paced, team-oriented nature of the work.
To answer this, first emphasize your ability to remain positive and composed under pressure. Highlight relevant experience working on a team in a busy environment. Explain how you effectively communicate to prevent misunderstandings and resolve issues quickly. Discuss briefly how you would apply active listening, be concise yet friendly with guests, and collaborate with coworkers.
As an example, you could say:
“Having worked as a server at a busy restaurant, I’m used to communicating efficiently in a fast-paced environment while maintaining a positive attitude. I understand how important it is to listen actively to coworkers and guests to fully understand needs or issues, address them promptly, and avoid misunderstandings. Whether interacting with guests or collaborating with coworkers, I communicate in a concise yet friendly manner to keep the flow moving. I enjoy the teamwork of a restaurant and work well with others to get the job done, even when under pressure or facing challenges.”
With preparation and highlighting the right experience and skills, you can go into your Applebee’s interview ready to communicate why you would be a great fit for the role.
How would you juggle multiple tasks and priorities to deliver an excellent guest experience?
As a restaurant server, you will frequently be tasked with juggling multiple demands and priorities at once to deliver an excellent dining experience to your guests. This interview question is seeking to assess your ability to effectively prioritize, organize, and manage competing responsibilities.
To answer this question successfully, first acknowledge the multi-tasking nature of the server role and express your comfort with fast-paced, high-demand environments. Then, discuss your strong organizational and time-management skills that would allow you to keep track of various tasks and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Highlight how you would assess priorities, not get overwhelmed, and maintain a positive attitude. Mention specific strategies, such as to-do lists, monitoring tables, and leveraging support from colleagues or managers when needed.
As an example, you could say:
“Delivering an excellent guest experience is my top priority. I am able to effectively juggle competing demands by being highly organized and using effective time-management strategies. To start, I would assess the urgency and importance of each task, like taking orders, serving meals, and clearing tables, and tackle them in order of priority. I would create a mental to-do list and check-in with each table regularly so nothing is forgotten. If I felt overwhelmed at any point, I would ask a colleague or manager for help. With a positive attitude and the ability to adapt to a fast-paced environment, I can keep the guests’ needs met and the tasks running smoothly, even when faced with multiple demands.”
By conveying your relevant experience and skills with managing priorities, the interviewer can feel confident in your ability to handle the multitasking requirements of the role.
How would you resolve a conflict with your coworker at Applebee’s? Give an example of how you’ve done this in the past.
By asking how you would handle conflict resolution with a coworker the Applebee’s interviewer trying to assess several key things:
- Your emotional intelligence and ability to handle tense interpersonal situations with maturity and professionalism.
- Your communication skills to effectively address issues and find a resolution.
- Your team-orientation and willingness to work collaboratively to resolve problems.
To answer this question successfully, here are some tips:
- Focus on a pragmatic step-by-step process for addressing the conflict.
- Discuss how you would remain professional, poised, and solution-focused rather than getting emotional, aggressive, or antagonistic. Highlight your strong communication skills.
- Share an example of a time you navigated a conflict with a coworker. Explain how you leveraged your skills to resolve the issue, the outcome, and what you learned.
“First, I would privately address the issue with my coworker to understand their perspective. Then, I would work together to find common ground and a mutually agreeable solution. In a past serving role, a coworker and I disagreed on how to handle seating guests to balance our sections. I suggested a trial of a new rotation system and checked in regularly to get their feedback. This collaborative process built understanding and led to an improved system that worked well for the whole team.”
By emphasizing a structured approach, your conflict management skills, and giving a relevant example, you can demonstrate your potential as a strong team member at Applebee’s.
How would you work with your team to deliver smooth operations and amazing service?
As you prepare for your Applebee’s interview, you may be wondering how best to answer questions about working with a team to deliver strong operations and service.
The purpose of this question is for the interviewer to assess your teamwork skills and approach to delivering an excellent customer experience. They want to see that you understand the importance of collaboration, communication, and accountability when operating as a team.
Some tips for answering:
- Highlight your ability to communicate effectively and listen to others. Explain how you would work with colleagues to ensure all are on the same page about priorities and responsibilities.
- Emphasize a positive, ‘we’ mindset instead of ‘me’. Discuss being willing to help others when needed and cross-train to understand different roles and responsibilities.
- Share examples of how you have solved problems or conflicts as a team. Discuss resolving issues proactively through open dialogue to avoid impacts to operations or service.
- Express a passion for great service and exceeding guest expectations. Explain how you would work with your team to uphold high standards and go the extra mile to create a fantastic dining experience for every customer.
Here is an example response:
“Delivering an amazing guest experience requires close teamwork and communication. I would collaborate with my colleagues to understand each person’s responsibilities and work together to achieve our shared goals. This could include regular check-ins to provide support, cross-training so we can fluidly cover for one another, and openly addressing any challenges. I strive to foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and feedback. By listening, being willing to help, and maintaining a positive attitude, I believe a team can work through any issues and continue providing great food and service. Ultimately, the customer experience is a team effort, so smooth operations and happy guests would be my top priorities.”
The interviewer is asking you to share an example of handling a challenging work situation to assess your problem-solving skills, resilience, and ability to learn from experience. They want to see that you can stay composed under pressure, think on your feet to resolve issues, and apply lessons learned to prevent or mitigate problems in the future.
To answer this question, first think of a specific challenging situation you faced in a previous job. For example, you had to take over serving a large party’s food orders when a co-worker was unable to continue their shift due to illness. Explain how you prioritized tasks, communicated with managers and guests, and ensured all orders were correct and delivered promptly despite the disruption. Share what you learned, e.g. the importance of cross-training to be versatile and prepare for unexpected circumstances.
“When a co-worker fell ill mid-shift, I stepped in to take over serving a party of 50 guests to ensure excellent customer service was uninterrupted. I prioritized tasks by focusing on getting accurate orders first before delivering, coordinating with the kitchen to fire orders promptly. I kept managers and guests updated on any delays, emphasizing our commitment to correct and timely delivery. Cross-training team members and myself in multiple roles paid off, allowing me to capably fill in during an unexpected situation. This experience reinforced how important versatility and preparation are to navigating unpredictable challenges.”
Using a relevant example and highlighting transferable skills shows how you would be capable of handling unpredictable situations at Applebee’s. With a can-do attitude and calm composure, you can assure the interviewer that you would be able to respond effectively to the challenges of a fast-paced restaurant environment.
How do you manage stress and pressure while delivering a great guest experience?
The interviewer is asking this question to assess your ability to handle pressure and multitask while maintaining a positive attitude and high level of service. Working in a busy restaurant environment can be stressful and hectic, so the interviewer wants to know you have the composure and skills to thrive in a fast-paced work setting.
To answer this effectively, highlight relevant experience and discuss key strategies for managing stress. For example, mention how you stay organized to juggle multiple tasks, take a systematic approach to get work done efficiently, and don’t get easily overwhelmed. Explain that you know providing good service is the priority, so you focus on each customer’s needs despite the chaos around you. Highlight a calm demeanor and ability to think on your feet.
A strong example answer could be:
“Having worked in other food service roles, I’m used to a busy, high-energy environment. I cope with the stress and pressure by staying laser-focused on the task at hand, whether taking an order or delivering a meal. I also take a structured approach to my work and prepare in advance when possible to avoid scrambling. Additionally, I understand that every customer interaction is a chance to provide a great experience, so I push through any stress and give each guest my full attention and friendly service. This experience has shown me how to deliver consistently great results, even under pressure.”
How would you respond to constructive feedback from managers or team leaders?
The interviewer wants to know how you handle feedback and opportunities for improvement. As a team member, you will receive regular feedback from managers and leaders, both positive and constructive. The interviewer is assessing your maturity and willingness to accept feedback and use it to grow in your role.
To answer well, emphasize that you appreciate all feedback as a chance to learn and improve. Explain that you listen openly, reflect on the feedback, and work with the provider on specific ways to apply the feedback. Highlight a growth mindset and that you don’t get defensive. You can say you’ve learned feedback is valuable for development, even if it’s hard to hear, and you view it as a collaborative process.
An example answer could be:
“Feedback, whether positive or constructive, is a gift. I understand it’s given to help me improve and better meet the team’s needs. My approach is to actively listen to understand the feedback, then reflect on how I can incorporate it. I ask follow up questions if needed and work with the provider on next steps. For example, if told I need to delegate more, I’d discuss specific tasks I can hand off and deadlines to work towards. I appreciate all feedback and see it as an opportunity to grow in my role and as a professional. My goal is to demonstrate the feedback is heard and makes a difference.”
What is your favorite dish at Applebee’s? How would you recommend it to a customer who’s never tried it before?
This interview question is asking you to demonstrate your knowledge of the Applebee’s menu as well as your ability to recommend menu items and sell them to customers. The interviewer wants to see that you understand the types of dishes Applebee’s offers, their flavors and ingredients, as well as strategies for persuading customers to try a particular item.
When answering, first share your favorite dish at Applebee’s and why it stands out to you. Then, describe it in an engaging way that highlights flavors, textures, ingredients or other qualities that would appeal to most customers. Explain who this dish would be perfect for, like if it’s lighter fare for health-conscious diners or hearty comfort food for meat-and-potatoes lovers. Share a personal anecdote of enjoying the dish to help bring your recommendation to life.
If possible, tie in Applebee’s branding or mission to suggest how your recommendation aligns well with their style of food and service.
“My personal favorite at Applebee’s is the Bourbon Street Steak. The flavorful marinade gives the steak a kick of flavor that’s balanced by the garlic mashed potatoes. The juicy steak is grilled to perfection and the portion size is perfect for sharing or enjoying as a full meal. I would recommend this dish to anyone craving a classic surf and turf meal with a New Orleans-inspired twist. The mix of seafood and steak, combined with spices and sides with universal appeal, make for an very sharable and crave-worthy plate. As a Louisiana native, the Bourbon Street Steak reminds me of home and is the ultimate comfort food with a touch of the exotic—which aligns well with Applebee’s style of approachable yet flavorful American fare. With a recommendation like that, any customer would feel compelled to try this dish on their next visit.”
With an enthusiastic and genuine recommendation, you’ll demonstrate your potential as a strong employee for the company.
Can you walk me through how you would suggest upselling a particular meal or beverage item to a customer at Applebee’s?
This common Applebee’s interview question is asked to assess your ability to sell and provide great customer service. The interviewer wants to see that you understand the importance of upselling to boost restaurant sales and profits, and that you have the communication skills to effectively sell menu items to customers.
To answer this question, first acknowledge the significance of upselling for the business. Then, explain you would thoughtfully determine a customer’s needs and preferences to recommend an appropriate higher-priced item. Highlight key selling points to convince the customer it’s worth the upgrade.
“If a customer ordered a standard burger, I would suggest upgrading to a signature burger with premium ingredients for just a few dollars more. The I would explain that the burger is Chef’s specialty and highlight unique flavors and ingredients that I think the customer would enjoy based on their original order. If available, I would mention any promotions or deals to add extra value. If they seem interested but hesitant about the price, I would offer to substitute a side or drink to keep the total bill similar while providing an enhanced meal experience.”
With an enthusiastic and genuine recommendation, as well as addressing any concerns, you have a great chance of convincing the customer to upgrade their order, ultimately benefiting the restaurant’s sales and your own tips.
How would you handle a customer who is unhappy with their experience at Applebee’s? Give an example of how you’ve handled a similar situation in the past.
As an Applebee’s server or manager, keeping customers happy is key to success. The interviewer is asking how you would handle an unhappy customer to assess your customer service skills and composure under pressure. They want to see that you can empathize, take responsibility, and provide a solution, while remaining positive and professional.
To answer well, show you have these attributes. Some tips:
- Express understanding of the customer’s frustration. Say you’re sorry they had a poor experience.
- Take ownership without getting defensive. Acknowledge the mistake and say you want to make it right.
- Listen to fully understand the issue. Ask questions and repeat back their concerns to show you care.
- Offer a reasonable solution and commit to resolving the problem. Thank them for the feedback.
Here’s an example of how I handled an unhappy customer. Once a couple waited over 30 minutes for their appetizer due to a kitchen delay. By the time it arrived, their entrees were ready, ruining their dining experience. I apologized and acknowledged the poor service. I took responsibility on the restaurant’s behalf and asked how we could remedy the situation. They felt heard, so to make things right, I offered to comp their appetizer and provide dessert. After bringing the dessert, they left satisfied. Through active listening, taking ownership, and providing reasonable solutions, I salvaged a poor experience. With every customer interaction, I aim to represent the restaurant well and deliver excellent service.”
The interviewer can tell if your example is genuine or exaggerated. Highlight your authentic approach to service recovery and how you’d bring it to Applebee’s to show why you’re a strong candidate.
As a candidate interviewing for a position at Applebee’s, you can expect the interviewer to ask you to share some of your strengths and weaknesses. This question is asked to gain insight into your self-awareness and how you would approach challenges or areas of improvement in the role.
To answer this question, first acknowledge its purpose and that you understand the value of recognizing both your strengths and weaknesses. Then, discuss 2-3 relevant strengths that would be applicable to the Applebee’s role and support the company’s goals. For example, you could mention your strong communication skills, ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment, and passion for delivering great customer service. Be authentic and back up your strengths with examples.
Next, discuss 1-2 weaknesses that you are actively improving. Focus on qualities that would not prevent you from excelling in the role and demonstrate how you are addressing them. For example, you could mention that you sometimes have trouble delegating when taking on many tasks at once, but that you have been working on improving your time management and task prioritization to remedy this. Showing self-awareness and a commitment to self-improvement will impress the interviewer.
To tie it all together, here is an example answer:
“Two of my key strengths that would be valuable for this role at Applebee’s are my communication skills and ability to provide great customer service. I really enjoy interacting with and serving guests, and have consistently exceeded sales targets in my previous roles through strong communication. One area I’m working to improve is delegating tasks when very busy. As a manager, it’s important to delegate, so I’ve been focusing on better time management and planning to ensure all tasks are properly prioritized and assigned. I appreciate continuous self-improvement, and am always looking to strengthen my skills to further benefit the company and team.”
By preparing a thoughtful, sincere response like this, you can feel poised and confident in your upcoming Applebee’s interview.
Walk us through a time you struggled with something at work. How did you respond and what did you learn?
This interview question is asked to gain insight into your problem-solving skills and resilience under challenging circumstances. The interviewer wants to see that you are able to acknowledge struggles, take ownership, think on your feet to resolve issues, and reflect on the lessons learned. When answering, be authentic and highlight strengths like resourcefulness, composure, and constant self-improvement.
To answer effectively:
- Describe a genuine work-related struggle you navigated, such as dealing with an unhappy customer, miscommunication resulting in incorrect orders, or working with a difficult co-worker. Keep your example concise while emphasizing what was at stake.
- Explain the steps you took to resolve the issue. Focus on actions you initiated and be solution-oriented. Your response shows how you are proactive and able to remedy complications.
- Note key lessons and how this experience has made you a stronger candidate. For example, “I learned the importance of not escalating situations, listening calmly to understand different perspectives, and compromising to find a mutually acceptable solution.” Share one or two practical lessons that showcase your maturity and learning agility.
“There was a busy Saturday night where multiple orders got backed up and several dishes were made incorrectly. I apologized to the frustrated customers, took ownership, and offered discounts on their next visit. I remade the dishes promptly and worked with the cooks to determine how communication and processes broke down. We implemented a new system to ensure heightened attentiveness to special requests and meal modifications. It reinforced for me how staying poised under pressure and taking fast, transparent action can remedy errors and even strengthen customer loyalty.”
How would you define good customer service? Can you give an example of how you’ve provided excellent customer service in the past?
This interview question assesses your understanding of customer service and your experience delivering great service.
The interviewer wants to know that you understand the key attributes of excellent customer service, such as promptness, positivity, active listening, following through on commitments, and going above and beyond to meet customer needs. They also want a specific example that demonstrates you embody these qualities.
As you answer, convey a passion for service and think of an example that shows how you made a customer’s experience special.
For your example, describe a time you exceeded a customer’s expectations at a restaurant. Maybe you noticed a regular customer was having a bad day, so you brought them a free appetizer to brighten their mood. Or perhaps a customer’s food order was incorrect, but you promptly remade the dish and removed it from the bill as an apology. Think of a situation where you took initiative to remedy an issue or make the customer’s visit memorable for good reasons. Highlight how you listened to the customer and took swift action to resolve the problem and leave them satisfied. Applying this mindset to Applebee’s, convey your commitment to providing an enjoyable dining experience for every guest.
“At my current restaurant job, I’ve been commended for my attentive service and ability to address problems promptly. One time, I noticed a couple was waiting longer than expected for their food. I checked in with the kitchen and saw their meals had been delayed, so I quickly brought them a free basket of wings and garlic bread to tide them over and apologized for the extended wait. They were very appreciative of the gesture. This is the level of service I aim to provide—anticipating guests’ needs, taking ownership of issues, and going the extra mile to make things right. I would bring this same customer-focused approach to my role at Applebee’s.”
What is your availability like? What days and times are you able to work at Applebee’s?
The interviewer is asking this question to determine if your schedule matches the availability needs of the role and the restaurant. As a popular restaurant, Applebee’s requires consistent staffing during peak dining hours and weekends to provide good service to customers.
To answer this question strongly, first convey that you understand the needs of the business and have a flexible schedule. Then, specify the exact days and times you are available to work, emphasizing any availability during peak times. Highlight how you can meet the demands of the role and be a reliable team member.
Your answer could sound like:
“I understand that as a restaurant, having consistent and sufficient staffing is crucial, especially during peak hours and weekends. My availability is very flexible to meet the needs of the business. I am available to work nights, weekends, and holidays as needed. I have open availability on Fridays and Saturdays to work the busier dinner shifts. I’m also available to work Sundays to help cover the popular brunch hours. I’m looking to commit to a consistent schedule, and my open availability will allow me to be a reliable team member to help ensure great service for your customers.”
This answer communicates a strong understanding of the staffing needs and emphasizes specific times you are available to work, especially peak hours. Highlighting your commitment to a consistent schedule and being a reliable team member further shows your value to the role and restaurant.
Going into your interview prepared with an answer like this will leave a great final impression and increase your chances of receiving an offer.
How flexible is your schedule? Would you be available to pick up extra/overtime shifts if needed?
The interviewer is asking about your schedule flexibility to assess if you would be a reliable and dedicated team member. As a restaurant, staffing is crucial to operate efficiently and serve customers well, so they want to hire people willing to be flexible to meet the business’s needs.
To answer, emphasize that you understand the importance of flexibility in the food service industry. Explain that you have an open and accommodating schedule, and are willing to pick up extra shifts or stay later when required. Highlight relevant experience you have handling a fluctuating work schedule. Show you are a team player willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
A strong example answer could be:
“Given my experience in the restaurant industry, I understand the unpredictability of staffing and customer volume. My schedule is very open right now, so I would be happy to pick up extra shifts or stay later whenever needed to help the team. For example, at my previous serving job, we would often get large unexpected groups coming in near closing time, and I frequently volunteered to stay late to ensure all customers were served promptly and had a positive experience. I pride myself on being a reliable and flexible team member, and would bring that same dedication to meeting Applebee’s staffing and service needs.”
Overall, this approach shows you did your research on the demands of the industry and role, and are prepared to make the necessary commitment to succeeding in the position. Presenting a specific example of your past flexibility and reliability also helps to strengthen your answer and build confidence in your abilities.
How do you plan on getting to and from work at Applebee’s? What is your transportation situation like?
The interviewer is asking about your transportation to and from work for a practical reason—they need to know you have a reliable way to get to your scheduled shifts on time each day.
However, this question also reveals deeper insights into your planning and responsibility. How you answer demonstrates your foresight and problem-solving skills in handling potential obstacles.
To effectively convey these qualities, discuss the specific transportation you will use, whether driving your own vehicle, public transit, ride-sharing, biking, etc. Note any accommodations you would make if issues arose, displaying your resourcefulness. Present your transit situation as a well-considered solution you have already thoroughly determined.
Here is an example answer demonstrating a thoughtful, responsible approach:
“I plan to drive my own vehicle to and from work each day. I recently had to replace the battery in my car, so to avoid any unforeseen issues, I’ve budgeted for and set aside funds for potential vehicle-related problems that could impact my availability. I’ve also scoped out alternate public transit options in case of car trouble or accidents on my route. I take my work commitments very seriously, so you can rely on me to be present and on time for all of my shifts, regardless of transportation challenges. My top priority is providing excellent service to your guests with a great attitude and dependability.”
Can you safely lift 25 pounds, bend, stoop and stand for up to 4 hours at a stretch?
This Applebee’s interview question is assessing your physical capabilities and stamina required for the job. The interviewer wants to ensure you can handle the physical demands of a server or kitchen role, which involves a lot of movement, bending, and lifting.
As a candidate, it is important to acknowledge these requirements and convey your ability to meet them. Some tips for answering:
- Emphasize your health and fitness. Mention you are physically fit and active, which has prepared your body for this type of work. Highlight any strength or endurance training you do.
- Highlight relevant experience. If you have experience in food service or a similarly physically demanding role, mention how that has equipped you to lift, bend, and stand for extended time periods. Discuss how you’ve proven yourself in that past role.
- Express a strong work ethic. Explain that you understand what the job entails and are willing and committed to handling the physical aspects of the work. Convey that you do not shy away from hard work and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Here is an example answer:
“I am physically capable of safely lifting 25 pounds and standing for up to 4 hours. I regularly strength train at the gym to build muscle, and I try to stay active with hiking and swimming on the weekends. This continual exercise has prepared my body for the physical demands of a server role. Additionally, in my previous job as a kitchen hand at another restaurant, I consistently lifted heavy boxes of ingredients and was on my feet for 6-8 hour shifts. I know what is required for a position like this, and you can count on me to have the stamina and work ethic to handle the physical responsibilities, no matter what the job may throw at me.”
What is your desired salary for this position at Applebee’s?
The interviewer is asking about your desired salary to determine if your expectations are in line with the pay range for the position. They want to assess if you have done your research on the role and understand the compensation. When answering, be honest but strategic. Explain the salary research you have done for similar restaurant positions, but do not provide a precise figure yet.
As a candidate, you want to convey you are realistic while also valuing yourself. Emphasize relevant experience and skills that warrant the pay you desire. Mention the career growth opportunities at Applebee’s if appropriate for your goals. This shows your interest in a long-term partnership. Provide a range if possible to give yourself negotiation room. The key is to not under or overestimate but to come prepared with a data-driven response.
For example, you could say:
“Based on my research, similar positions at Applebee’s typically range from $X-$Y (per hour/year). With my 3 years of serving experience and proven ability to provide excellent customer service and leadership to junior staff, I would expect to receive an offer on the higher end of that range. However, I’m open to a discussion about compensation and growth opportunities. My priority is finding a good long-term fit where I can contribute to restaurant success and advance my career.”
Questions to Ask the Interviewer in Applebee’s Interview
As the Applebee’s interview wraps up, the interviewer will inevitably ask if you have any questions for them. This is your opportunity to shine and show just how interested and prepared you are for the role. Asking questions demonstrates your enthusiasm and also gives you valuable insight into what the job and company culture are really like.
The interviewer is trying to assess a few things with this question:
- Your level of interest in the role and company. Are you genuinely enthusiastic or just going through the motions?
- How prepared you are. Did you do your homework to come up with thoughtful questions? Or are you scrambling to come up with something on the spot?
- Your priorities and what’s important to you. The types of questions you ask will reveal what you care about—growth opportunities, work-life balance, company culture, etc.
With that in mind, here are some great questions to ask your Applebee’s interviewer:
- What are the typical duties and responsibilities of this Applebee’s position?
- What is the work schedule like for this position, and is there any flexibility with scheduling?
- What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement within the company?
- What benefits does the company offer for its employees, such as healthcare or retirement benefits?
- Can you describe the training and onboarding process for new employees, and what is expected during the training period?
- What is the company culture like at Applebee’s, and how does the company value its employees?
- What are the opportunities for earning tips, and how does the tip-out system work?
- What are the specific protocols and guidelines in place for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the workplace?
- Can you describe a typical day for someone in this role and what challenges might arise during the workday?
Now you have plenty of options to draw from to show your passion and preparation. Select the questions that are most relevant to you and what you’re trying to learn about the opportunity.
And of course, listen closely to the responses—you may get some invaluable insight to help you decide if the role is the right fit.
Applebee’s Hiring Process
By understanding what to expect in Applebee’s hiring process and preparing thoroughly, you can feel confident and ready to make a great impression.
The hiring process for a position at Applebee’s begins with applying on their career’s website. Once the application is received, you may receive a call from the hiring manager to schedule an interview. If the interview goes well, you may be invited for additional interviews before being offered a position (subject to passing the background check).
The application process is quite simple. On the Applebee’s career page, you’ll find a list of available jobs. If you have a specific job in mind, you can use the search bar at the top of the page. Otherwise, scroll down to see all available positions.
Once you’ve found a job that interests you, click on the job title to learn more about it. You’ll see a job description, as well as the requirements for the position.
If you’re still interested in the job, click on the “Apply Now” button. You’ll be taken to a new page where you’ll need to create an account. To create an account, provide your first and last name, email address, and create a password. Make sure your password is at least six characters long and contains a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
After creating an account, you’ll be asked to fill out an application. You’ll need to provide information about your work and education history, language skills, availability, transportation, and customer service skills. You can also upload a resume or record a video cover letter.
Once you’ve completed the application, review it to ensure all your information is correct. Then, click on the “Submit Application” button. You’ll receive an email confirmation that your application has been received.
If your qualifications match the requirements for the job, a recruiter will contact you to schedule an interview.
The first interview is typically with a manager and lasts around 15-30 minutes. The questions you’ll be asked are fairly straightforward, focusing on your availability, experience, and enthusiasm for the role and company. Be ready to speak about what interests you in the position, your relevant skills, and your customer service orientation. Highlight your teamwork abilities since Applebee’s staff work closely together.
If your initial interview goes well, you’ll be invited back for a second interview with the hiring manager and some team members. This interview is more conversational, allowing them to get a feel for your personality and ensure you’ll be a good culture fit. Focus on showcasing your positive attitude and smile and laugh genuinely. At the end of the interview, ask any remaining questions you have about the role, team, or company.
Training and Orientation:
If you’re offered the position, the next step is training and orientation. Applebee’s provides structured on-the-job training, including both practical training and classroom-style instruction. You’ll learn operational procedures, food safety standards, and service techniques. The training process typically lasts around one week.
While it can be challenging to absorb a lot of new information quickly, go in with a positive attitude and ask questions if there’s anything you’re unsure about. Take good notes and practice your skills as much as possible. Before you know it, you’ll be a knowledgeable and contributing member of the team!
Applebee’s Interview Tips
What to Wear to Applebee’s Interview
You’ve landed an interview for a position at Applebee’s, congratulations!
Now it’s time to think about what to wear for your interview. As the saying goes, ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’
For an interview, this means mimicking the company’s dress code to demonstrate that you understand their standards and would be a good fit for the culture.
The standard dress code for Applebee’s restaurant staff consists of black dress pants, a black collared shirt or polo, black non-slip dress shoes, and a black polishable belt. This uniform dress code policy is in place to ensure a professional appearance and safe work environment for Applebee’s staff.
Based on the dress code, choosing an outfit in similar neutral, professional colors is a smart approach.
For a server/waiter, host/hostess, or assistant manager role, dress in business casual attire like dark slacks or khakis, a button-down shirt, and minimal accessories or jewelry. Avoid shorts, t-shirts, jeans, or sneakers.
If interviewing for a corporate position, elevate your look to business formal with slacks or a pencil skirt, a blouse or button-down shirt, and possibly a blazer. Close-toed heels or loafers are appropriate for women, while men can wear dress shoes. A minimalist, neutral color palette and avoiding anything too flashy is ideal.
Dressing professionally demonstrates that you are taking this opportunity seriously and are capable of presenting yourself appropriately for the workplace.
Now that you’ve prepared answers for the commonly asked interview questions at Applebee’s, you should feel ready to ace your interview. However, don’t stop there.
Even after a successful interview with Applebee’s, keep sending out applications to other restaurants, like Red Robin, Chili’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster or TGI Fridays. Appling to related comparable companies to increase your chances of landing a job offer. The more you interview, the more comfortable and confident you will feel.
Believe in yourself and show that belief to potential employers. Go into each interview with enthusiasm, prepare some questions to ask your interviewer about the role and company, and follow up with a thank you email or note shortly after.
Before you know it, you’ll have a number of options to choose from. Stay determined and never give up on your goals. You’ve got this! Keep your head high and keep pushing forward. The future is yours to create.