12 August, 2022
By Mike Simpson
In many ways, answering fast food interview questions is a right of passage. Many people’s first jobs are in the fast food industry, and with good reason. In practically every city or town, you’ll find at least one fast food restaurant in the area.
But even with a lot of opportunities, that doesn’t mean you won’t face stiff competition. If you want to stand out, preparing for the interview is essential. Here’s a look at fast food job interview questions, including how to approach them and some example answers.
How to Answer Fast Food Interview Questions
Before we dig into our top interview questions for fast food jobs, let’s take a second to talk strategy.
At its core, every fast food position is a customer service job. While cooking, cash handling, and cleaning responsibilities come with the roles, customer service is usually the top priority.
That can actually work in your favor. If you can show that you’re customer-oriented, even a lack of experience often won’t prevent you from securing a fast food job. So, how do you make your commitment to customer service clear while also demonstrating you have the right capabilities and traits? By answering the fast food interview questions the correct way.
First, you need to do some research. Review the job description for details about the skills and characteristics the hiring manager wants to find, making it easier to determine what to highlight.
After that, explore the company website to learn about the organization and menu items, as well as its mission and values. Wrap up your research by checking out the company on social media, letting you find out about the culture.
Once that’s done, you can start figuring out how to approach the interview questions for fast food jobs. Let’s dive into traditional job interview questions first. With these, the hiring manager is usually directly asking you if you have certain skills or traits. If you do, say “yes,” then follow up with a relevant example. If not, admit it before pivoting and discussing your willingness to learn.
For behavioral and situational questions, you need a different strategy. You’ll need to either provide examples from your work, school, or volunteering experiences or discuss how you’d approach a particular scenario.
In either case, combining the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method is your best bet. You’ll end up with engaging answers that are highly relevant, making it easier to position yourself as an exceptional match.
Examples of Fast Food Restaurants That Hire Often
Many fast food restaurants hire regularly. While that might seem disconcerting, as you might worry about turnover, it isn’t necessarily as big of a red flag as you’d expect.
First, many chains are expanding, creating new stores that need a full staff. Second, some of the turnover has nothing to do with the job or environment. Instead, many people start their working lives in fast food because it’s flexible, allowing them to gain skills while they further their education or handle other needs. Then, they move on when it’s time to take their career in a new direction.
However, you can build a lasting career at a fast food restaurant. Many managers initially started as entry-level employees, effectively working their way up.
And the opportunities aren’t just ample; they’re highly accessible. Subway – the largest fast food chain in America – has more than 21,000 restaurant locations. Starbucks – which comes in at number two – has more than 15,000. And that’s just two chains out of the dozens you can find in the US.
Here’s a quick list of fast food restaurants that hire often:
However, the list above only scratches the surface. A slew of fast food restaurants hire incredibly consistently, so don’t feel like you have to stick solely to the list above.
Top 10 Fast Food Interview Questions
It’s crucial to note that every interview can be a little different. Many, it’s because fast food job interview questions will include some details about the specific role or the individual company.
However, some interview questions for fast food jobs are incredibly common, particularly if you’re focused on entry-level opportunities. With that in mind, here’s a look at our top ten fast food interview questions.
1. Why do you want to work in fast food?
This is one of the interview questions for fast food that can feel a little tricky. However, if you focus on skill growth, a team environment, or other aspects of the role that seem like a great fit for you, you can create a standout answer with ease.
“My main reason for wanting to work in fast food is that I enjoy engaging with customers and providing them with something satisfying. Fast food is a chance to feed the masses while taking stress off of their day, and I find that very rewarding.
Plus, I prefer fast-paced, team-oriented environments. When it’s busy, it gives me energy, and the chance to remain active while working closely with my colleagues is an excellent fit for my personality.”
2. Tell me about your customer service or food service experience.
If you have prior experience in a customer service role – such as a retail position – or fast food, this question is simple. You can discuss your time assisting customers, preparing meals, operating registers, or anything else that’s relevant to your role.
However, if you’re new to the workforce, you might think that all you can say in response is “no.” In reality, that isn’t the case. Instead, you can highlight transferable skills from your time in school. Plus, you can showcase your willingness to learn and enthusiasm, which can make you a standout candidate.
“As a new member of the workforce, I don’t have any prior experience in customer service or fast food. However, I have traits that will serve me well in these types of roles. During my time in school, I learned to be incredibly organized and how to juggle multiple priorities. Additionally, I’m a strong communicator, team-oriented, and have a strong foundation in math.
Finally, I’m looking forward to acquiring new skills that can help me thrive in the fast food industry. I often seize opportunities to learn new systems, equipment, and processes and typically pick things up quickly. I believe that will serve me well in a job like this, allowing me to get up to speed fast.”
3. Are you comfortable getting a little messy?
Even if cleanliness is a priority at the restaurant, cooking usually involves making a little bit of a mess. Your shirt may end up a little splattered covered during the course of your day, for example. Doing dishes can also be a bit greasy.
Hiring managers want to make sure that you’re okay with an environment that can be a tad messy. Otherwise, you might not be the right fit for a fast food position.
“Generally speaking, I don’t mind if I end up a little messy while working. While cleanliness is a priority for me, I do know that splashes and spills happen, and they can get on my shoes and clothing. Additionally, cleaning in and of itself can be a dirty task. Ultimately, I don’t mind any of that as long as the restaurant is committed to maintaining a safe, hygienic environment overall.
4. How would you describe your teamwork skills?
Fast food restaurants are team-oriented environments, so hiring managers want to know that you can work well with others and be supportive when it comes to colleagues. Ideally, you’ll want to highlight a past experience that showcases your teamwork skills, allowing the hiring manager to see what you bring to the table.
“Personally, I believe that I have exceptional teamwork skills. In my last job, we were incredibly team-oriented. Along with handling my responsibilities, I frequently assisted colleagues to ensure they could remain on target. For example, if I finished stocking a shelf and a coworker was still working on theirs, I’d transition over to lend them a hand. That way, we could complete the tasks faster by tackling them together.”
5. Do you have food safety training?
In many cases, some level of food safety training is required to work in a fast food job. At a minimum, you’ll typically need a food handlers’ card, which isn’t overly difficult to acquire.
If you’re looking for fast food jobs, consider getting a food handlers’ card in advance. That way, you’ll be able to answer this question with ease.
“Yes, I do have some food safety training. Since I knew I was interested in fast food positions, I decided to complete the required training and exam to secure my food handlers’ card. That ensured I’d be prepared to start working immediately.
Additionally, I’m open to learning about other food safety strategies upon hire. I know every restaurant has its own processes, and I look forward to learning the nuances of them once I secure a position.”
6. What would you do if a customer was dissatisfied with their meal?
This is one of the fast food interview questions that’s designed to see how you’ll handle a common scenario. As with all customer-facing jobs, fast food workers commonly encounter upset customers, so the hiring manager needs to know that you’ll have a plan should an issue arise.
“If a customer was upset about their meal, the first thing I’d do is use active listening to get to the root of the issue. If necessary, I’d also ask clarifying questions to help me determine the best possible resolution.
When it comes to solving the problem, my approach would vary depending on company policy. If a replacement item is justified and in my ability to offer, I’d reach out to the cooks and have one made on the fly. If a refund was necessary, I’d reach out to my manager, as they’d likely be the only one authorized to handle that.
Ultimately, my goal would be to take whatever path was necessary and available to address the concern. That way, we could fix the problem and ensure the customer was satisfied in the end.”
7. How would you perform in a high-pressure environment?
Fast food jobs can be surprisingly stressful, particularly during breakfast, lunch, or dinner rushes. With this question, the hiring manager wants to know that you can remain calm and productive even when things get difficult.
Ideally, you’ll want to pull from a past work experience that was high-pressure, as that lets you highlight an example.
“Generally speaking, I thrive under pressure. When I’m facing tight deadlines, I focus instead of fold. For example, I was working in a retail position and had an opening shift on Black Friday. Managing a register as droves of people were trying to check out required quickness, all while remaining calm, personable, and professional. I saw the situation as a personal challenge and aimed to make each experience not just faster but more pleasant than the last. Those conditions helped me excel, and I ultimately handle more transactions during my shift than anyone else.”
8. What’s your favorite menu item?
This is one of the more knowledge-oriented interview questions for fast food jobs. The goal is to see if you’re at least somewhat familiar with the restaurant’s offerings, all while letting the hiring manager gauge your enthusiasm for the company.
“If I had to pick a favorite menu item, I’d have to choose your newest burger. It features two toppings that I adore, sharp cheddar cheese and crispy onion straws. Plus, the barbecue sauce adds a bit of a kick, a touch of sweet, and a little brightness. Couple that with some fries, and I’m essentially guaranteed to enjoy my meal.”
9. Do you plan on launching a fast food career, or is another path part of your plan?
Hiring managers ask fast food job interview questions about your career plans to see if you intend on staying on long enough to justify any training they’ll provide. Additionally, the hiring manager’s goal is to secure a stable team, so they prefer candidates that intend to stick around.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to say you want a long-term career in fast food if that isn’t the case. Instead, you simply need to offer assurances that you’re worth the investment.
“While I don’t intend to launch a career in the fast food industry, I do plan on staying in a position for the next four years while I go to college. I believe the experience will provide me with valuable skills and a chance to learn in a way that isn’t possible in an academic setting. As a result, I want to make the most of it during the four years I’ll be earning my degree.”
10. What’s your availability?
Fast food hiring managers ask this question because fast food restaurants don’t use traditional business hours. Some locations are open 18 hours per day. Others are 24 hours. Plus, most fast food restaurants are open six or seven days a week, and they don’t shut down on many major holidays.
With this question, you need to be honest about your availability. Otherwise, the manager might hire you thinking you could fit into the schedule in a way that doesn’t actually work for you, which can lead to trouble.
“Currently, I’m attending college classes on Monday through Friday during the morning. Additionally, I volunteer at a local food bank on Saturdays. As a result, I’m available from 1:00 pm until 10:00 pm, Monday through Friday, after 3:00 pm on Saturdays, and all day on Sunday.”
5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Fast Food Interview
At the end of your fast food interview, you’ll usually get a chance to ask the hiring manager a couple of questions. Seize this moment to learn more about the role, environment, or culture. That way, you can make sure that the job is right for you while coming across as passionate and engaged.
When it comes to what to ask, you can certainly use questions that come up during the course of your interview. However, it’s smart to have a few tucked away in your back pocket, too, ensuring you’ll have something to ask when the moment arises.
Here are five good questions to ask at the end of a fast food interview.
- What training opportunities are provided to new hires?
- What’s the biggest challenge this location faces, and how could a new hire help solve it?
- Are work schedules usually somewhat standardized, or do they fluctuate frequently?
- Are there opportunities to advance?
- How would you describe the current team dynamic and the culture at this location?
Putting It All Together
At this point, you should have a solid idea about how to answer fast food interview questions. Use every tip to your advantage. That way, even if you’re facing a lot of competition, you can shine, increasing your odds of securing a job offer.