Top 9 Applebee's Interview Questions & Answers (2024)


Applebee's stands out as a major player in the U.S. casual dining sector, with over 1,700 locations nationwide. Known for their friendly ambiance and diverse menu of American comfort food, Applebee's strives to deliver an affordable, family-friendly dining experience that leaves a lasting impression. It provides prospective employees with multiple opportunities across various positions such as servers, cooks, hosts, and restaurant managers.

From entry-level roles to managerial positions, there's a place for everyone at Applebee's. But to secure a role, you'll have to navigate the interview process effectively. Here, we delve into some common questions asked during an Applebee's job interview!

If you're exploring opportunities with Applebee's and could use some guidance, you might find our articles on how to land a job at Applebee's, how to write the perfect resume, and how to write a great cover letter particularly helpful. For more insights and tips that could enhance your job search, consider reading our recommendations on how to write the perfect resume.

Common Applebee's Job Interview Questions

We've gathered these questions from real-life interview experiences. They are divided into three sections: background-related questions, skill-based questions, and personality-based questions.

Background-Related Interview Questions

  1. What interested you about working at Applebee's specifically?
  2. How has your past experience prepared you for a role at Applebee's?
  3. Can you share how your interest in the food and hospitality industry developed?

Role-Specific Skills Interview Questions

  1. If a customer complained about their meal, how would you handle it?
  2. Can you describe a time when you had to work quickly and efficiently under pressure?
  3. How would you upsell a special menu item or promotion to a customer?

Personality and Character Fit Interview Questions

  1. Tell us about a time when your communication skills improved a work situation.
  2. How do you handle feedback and criticism in the workplace?
  3. Can you provide an example of when you went above and beyond to provide excellent customer service?

Having a clear understanding of Applebee's as a brand and its core values is crucial before heading into an interview. In addition, prior experience in the food service or hospitality industry can be an asset, though it's not always a necessity for entry-level positions.

In the next sections of this article, we will provide potential answers to these questions, along with additional tips for acing your Applebee's interview.

Question: What interested you about working at Applebee's specifically?

This question is asking you to articulate your motivation for joining Applebee's. It’s looking for a response that shows your understanding of the company's values, culture, and business model. You should aim to show alignment between these elements and your career aspirations or personal interests.

Example Answer 1: "I'm drawn to Applebee's because of its strong commitment to providing high-quality service and food in a friendly, relaxed environment. The company's focus on community involvement also resonates with me."

Example Answer 2: "Applebee's has always stood out to me because of its reputation for fostering a positive team environment and offering ample opportunities for growth. I appreciate that Applebee's sees value in developing its employees."

In both responses, we highlight an understanding of what makes Applebee's unique as a brand and employer. In the first answer, the applicant focuses on the company's commitment to quality and community, two important aspects of Applebee's identity. By aligning themselves with these values, they demonstrate their potential fit within the company culture.

In the second example, the interviewee zeroes in on Applebee's employee development opportunities, showing an interest in long-term career growth within the company. This kind of forward-thinking could be appealing to hiring managers, as it suggests the candidate isn’t just looking for any job, but rather a fulfilling role where they can grow and contribute over time.

Question: How has your past experience prepared you for a role at Applebee's?

This question is looking to understand how your previous experiences have equipped you with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in your desired role at Applebee's. Be sure to highlight relevant skills and draw clear connections between your past roles and the one you’re applying for.

Example Answer 1: "Having worked as a server in a fast-paced restaurant, I've developed strong multitasking abilities and customer service skills. These experiences will help me provide excellent service at Applebee's."

Example Answer 2: "In my previous role as a restaurant manager, I oversaw a team of servers and kitchen staff. This experience has honed my leadership and time management skills, both of which would enable me to contribute effectively in a managerial role at Applebee's."

The two responses highlight different but relevant past experiences. The first one is more suitable for entry-level positions, such as a server or host, while the second one may be fitting for a managerial role. Both answers explicitly link the candidate’s previous experience with skills that are crucial to their respective roles at Applebee's.

This question provides an opportunity to demonstrate that you understand what the job requires and that you have already developed the necessary skills in your past roles. Tailoring your response to the specific role at Applebee's signals to the interviewer that you’re not only experienced, but also that you’re thoughtful about how you can apply your skills to new contexts.

Question: Can you share how your interest in the food and hospitality industry developed?

Here, the interviewer wants to understand your passion for the food and hospitality industry. Connecting this passion to personal experiences or inspirations is key. By demonstrating genuine interest, you show potential employers that you’re motivated and likely to be engaged in your work.

Example Answer 1: "Growing up, I was always intrigued by the energy of restaurants—the hustle and bustle, the joy people expressed while sharing a meal. Over time, I realized I wanted to be part of creating those memorable dining experiences."

Example Answer 2: "My passion for the food and hospitality industry came from my love of cooking and trying out new recipes. I found the process of creating a dish from scratch incredibly rewarding. This drove me to pursue a career where I could share this joy with others."

Both answers depict genuine interest in the industry, each from a unique perspective. The first response ties the candidate's passion to their love for the dining atmosphere and creating memorable experiences—something central to Applebee's mission as a family-friendly restaurant.

The second answer establishes a connection between personal hobbies (cooking and exploring new recipes) and the desire to work in the food industry. Showing this organic passion for food could signal to hiring managers that the candidate will bring enthusiasm to their role.

While these questions are asking about your past, they’re really trying to understand how you’ll perform in the future at Applebee's. By thinking carefully about your history and what you’ve learned along the way, you can help interviewers see why you’d be a great fit.

Question: If a customer complained about their meal, how would you handle it?

This question gauges your problem-solving skills and ability to handle difficult situations. Employers want to see that you can stay calm under pressure, show empathy towards the customer, and come up with a satisfactory solution.

Example Answer 1: "I would listen attentively, apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and then quickly take steps to rectify the situation, such as offering a replacement or speaking to my manager about possible compensation."

Example Answer 2: "I believe in treating customers with respect and understanding. I would first apologize for their dissatisfaction, ask them to elaborate so I can understand their issue fully, then collaborate with my team or manager to find an appropriate resolution."

Both responses demonstrate active listening, empathy, and initiative—all crucial customer service skills. The first response shows an immediate fix-oriented approach, highlighting the candidate's quick decision-making skills. In contrast, the second response emphasizes a more collaborative and detail-oriented approach, showing the candidate's ability to work with others and their attention to detail.

In both cases, being proactive and showing empathy are key because at Applebee's, like any other restaurant, providing excellent customer service is a top priority. Showing that you can swiftly and effectively address a customer complaint can signal to the interviewer that you're capable of maintaining the brand's reputation for good service, even when faced with challenges.

Question: Can you describe a time when you had to work quickly and efficiently under pressure?

This question assesses your ability to manage stress and maintain productivity under tight deadlines or high-pressure situations. It allows interviewers to gauge if you can keep up with the fast-paced environment of a busy restaurant like Applebee's.

Example Answer 1: "In my previous role as a server during peak dining hours, I often had to juggle multiple tables while maintaining excellent service. This experience taught me how to stay organized and calm even in stressful situations."

Example Answer 2: "While working in a fast-food restaurant, we had a few staff call in sick during an extremely busy weekend. I stepped up, took on their duties in addition to my own, and we were able to serve all customers efficiently."

The first example emphasizes the candidate's experience in a similar role, demonstrating their ability to handle pressure in a dining environment. The second response shows adaptability and teamwork, both valuable traits in a restaurant setting.

Both answers highlight key skills pertinent to working at Applebee's: maintaining efficiency under stress, taking initiative, and working as part of a team. An ability to perform well under pressure is crucial in a busy restaurant environment, so demonstrating this skill can help reassure the interviewer about your suitability for the role.

Question: How would you upsell a special menu item or promotion to a customer?

This question explores your salesmanship and communication skills. Upselling is a common practice in the food service industry, and potential employers want to see whether you can do it effectively and considerately, without making customers feel pressured.

Example Answer 1: "I would inform the customer about the special item, emphasizing its unique features or ingredients. Then, I’d suggest how it might complement their current order or enhance their overall dining experience."

Example Answer 2: "I would enthusiastically describe the special item or promotion, sharing any positive feedback from other customers. If it aligns with their preferences or dietary needs, I'd recommend they try it."

In the first example, the candidate demonstrates a tactful approach to upselling, focusing on enhancing the customer's order and overall dining experience. This aligns well with Applebee's focus on customer satisfaction.

The second answer showcases enthusiasm and use of social proof (feedback from other customers), two effective upselling techniques. It still maintains a considerate approach by taking into account the customer's preferences or dietary needs.

In both cases, the candidate is considering the customer’s experience while aiming to increase sales, striking a balance that shows they can contribute to Applebee's business objectives in a customer-friendly way.

Question: Tell us about a time when your communication skills improved a work situation.

This question assesses your ability to communicate effectively, a crucial skill in every workplace, particularly in customer service roles like those at Applebee's. The interviewer wants to understand how you apply these skills practically and the positive impact they have had.

Example Answer 1: "In my previous job, we faced a misunderstanding between the kitchen staff and servers regarding an updated menu item. I initiated a meeting to clarify the changes, which resulted in fewer order mistakes and improved teamwork."

Example Answer 2: "I’ve worked with customers who struggled with language barriers. By patiently using simpler words and non-verbal cues, I was able to help them make their orders. It led to a more enjoyable experience for the customers and less confusion for our team."

The first example demonstrates the candidate’s ability to facilitate clear communication within a team, a valuable trait in a restaurant setting where coordination between different staff members is key. The second response shows the candidate’s ability to adapt their communication style to meet customer needs, manifesting patience and cultural sensitivity—qualities that would enhance guest experience at Applebee's.

Both responses highlight how effective communication can lead to tangible improvements in the workplace, reinforcing its importance in a busy restaurant environment like Applebee's.

Question: How do you handle feedback and criticism in the workplace?

This question aims to evaluate your receptiveness to feedback and your capacity to improve based on it. It's particularly relevant in a restaurant environment like Applebee's where continuous learning and improvement are needed to ensure high-quality service.

Example Answer 1: "I believe constructive feedback is essential for growth. I always take it positively, use it as an opportunity to learn, and implement changes to improve my performance."

Example Answer 2: "Feedback is crucial in my professional development. When I receive criticism, I appreciate the chance to see things from a different perspective and adjust my approach accordingly."

The first response indicates an open-minded attitude towards criticism, underlining the candidate's eagerness to learn and improve. The second example reveals a reflective approach to feedback, showing the candidate's willingness to consider other perspectives and adapt.

Both of these responses suggest that the candidate can handle criticism professionally, fostering a conducive work environment at Applebee's where continuous learning is encouraged.

Question: Can you provide an example of when you went above and beyond to provide excellent customer service?

This question is aimed at understanding your commitment to providing exceptional customer service, crucial in the hospitality industry and particularly in a customer-focused brand like Applebee's. It gives you an opportunity to showcase your dedication and creativity in exceeding customer expectations.

Example Answer 1: "Once, a customer was celebrating their child's birthday but forgot to bring candles for the cake. I quickly ran to a nearby store and bought some, saving their celebration."

Example Answer 2: "In a prior job, a regular customer's favorite dish was removed from our menu. Knowing their preference, I worked with the chef to recreate it especially for them."

The first example exhibits quick thinking and a willingness to take extra steps to ensure customer satisfaction. This proactive approach would resonate well with Applebee's emphasis on creating memorable dining experiences.

The second answer demonstrates attentiveness to customers' preferences and the ability to collaborate effectively with the team to meet customer needs—an asset in any hospitality setting.

Both responses highlight how going the extra mile can lead to outstanding customer service, reinforcing the candidate's alignment with Applebee's commitment to excellence in guest experience.

Additional Tips for Navigating the Applebee's Interview

When preparing for an interview at Applebee's, you might find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the brand and its core values. Understanding the company's mission and how it aligns with your personal values can help you articulate why you're a good fit. Additionally, having a grasp of their menu and any ongoing promotions can demonstrate your enthusiasm and preparedness.

Given the nature of jobs at Applebee's, showcasing your interpersonal skills could be beneficial. While technical skills are important, the ability to interact effectively with customers and team members is also vital in a restaurant setting. You could consider preparing examples from your past experience that highlight your teamwork, problem-solving abilities, and customer service skills.

Furthermore, it's worth reflecting on your flexibility and adaptability. In the fast-paced restaurant industry, schedules can often vary and unexpected situations may arise. Demonstrating your ability to cope with changing circumstances and readiness to take on different roles when needed can make you stand out as a valuable prospective employee.

Mastering the Interview Process at Applebee's

Having come this far, you should now have a solid understanding of some common questions asked during an Applebee's job interview, along with potential responses. The suggested answers aim to guide you in structuring your own unique responses that reflect your experiences and skills. Remember, authenticity is key—these examples are meant to provide direction and not to be memorized verbatim.

We've also looked into additional preparation strategies that can enhance your readiness for the interview. These include studying the company's culture and offerings, focusing on your interpersonal skills, and proving your flexibility and adaptability.

By combining these tips with your own unique skills and experiences, you should be well-equipped to navigate the interview process at Applebee's. Remember, every interview is a learning opportunity. Use this chance to showcase your abilities and gain valuable experience.