Have you ever made more than two extra requests at a restaurant? Yes? Then you probably haven’t been on the other side and you don’t know what it feels like to remember 20 tables, all with special requests. People who work, or have worked in the restaurant industry know what I’m talking about when I say this is a nerve-wrecking, challenging and tiring job. However, even with all those nights of back pain, tired feet and annoying guests, there’s something enjoyable about working in front of house positions. You get to interact with people and that’s never boring! For those of you who are currently looking for a restaurant front of house job, here are the top 10 things to consider during your search.
Create a list of local restaurants close to you. Living near your work will give you an advantage since your employer can call you in emergency situations whenever they need you. Contact everyone for an interview. The best way to do this is Instawork, a platform that helps you connect with more than 1000 business owners. Creating an account is completely free and you’ll reach the best of the best restaurants. Once you land an interview DO YOUR RESEARCH. And with that I mean low-key stalk your interviewer and the restaurant. What’s their story? What is important to them? A public Instagram account can help a lot. At the end of the interview they will ask if you have any questions. Don’t be unprepared. Show them that you care. Show that you are genuinely interested in the philosophy of their business.
2. Confirmation Email
Send an email confirming your interview one day prior and another a few hours before. Show them you’re a professional and very serious about this chance. If for some reason you have to cancel the interview, do so at least 24 hours ahead of time. Restaurant folks are very busy people. You should be respectful about the fact that they are squeezing you into their schedule. DO NOT pull a ‘I’m just going to message them 20 minutes before’ move.
3. Dress Code
Do I even have to say it? Looking clean and neat is a norm, of course (yes, look and smell like you showered in the morning). Check what type of restaurant it is. I recommend not showing any tattoos at high-end businesses. A few no-go’s are sweatpants, flip flops, sports jerseys, etc. You get the point, right?
>> BE PUNCTUAL << !!! Set 5 alarms, if needed (I’m not joking). Figure out how far the business is from your place a day before (hint: Google Maps, which I still believe was sent from heaven). Have a plan B ready. If your bike/car does not work in the morning, switch to plan B (public transit/ Uber/ Lyft). Consider traffic. For all of these emergencies, you want to have at least 15 minutes of time to spare when you arrive at the restaurant.
5. Body Language
Mind your body language. They will look at it. Don’t be clumsy (for goodness sake, please don’t drop your own water during the interview). Display a confident and calm body language, straight posture and a firm handshake. FOH positions require people to be extremely fast-moving and smart with the division of their work during a busy night when the house is full. I know it sounds harder than it is, but try not to be too nervous.
If you aren’t friendly, energetic and courteous 100% of your day, maybe you don’t belong in a FOH position. You want to show them that you can provide maximum customer service at all times. Make it a point to show that you are very professional, meaning that even on a bad day, you can keep a smile on your face because it is all about the customer experience.
7. Language and Attitude
Be cautious of your language and attitude. Speak gracefully (this sounds more exaggerated than it is). Show them that you can speak in front of guests and to guests comfortably. The way you speak to your interviewer will show them how you will be able to speak to a guest and how you will represent their restaurant. Speak in full sentences and be attentive with what your interviewer says. LISTEN and REACT.
Usually bragging is not a very pleasant thing, but brag away! Every experience counts. Even a two week job at a diner during high school will help. If the previous job has nothing to do with the role you’re interviewing for, make the experience relevant. Have you been in a position in which you interacted with people? Mention it! Anything will help. If there is a moment of awkward silence, don’t panic! Remember what you prepared—the questions about the interviewer or the restaurant and use it! Make the conversation feel smooth and natural. Perhaps you noticed on the interviewer’s Instagram that they like to travel, so talk about it. Show you’re curious!
Restaurants talk to each other—it’s a network just like any other industry. If you have several interviews lined-up but only one favorite restaurant, continue to give 100% at every interview. Every interview is practice for the future. Even if you get turned down or you turn down the offer, always aim to make the best impression. So seek to leave a great impression and maybe one day you can get back to them or have them recommend you in the future. Who knows how long the next job lasts, right?
10. Interview Follow Up
Most people forget the part after they leave an interview and just wait for an answer: Write a thank you note (email most likely). Thank them for their time and consideration. A thank you note could be the final trigger to getting you your job since most people forget about this. This will show them your professionalism, sincerity and ambition.
Now go ahead and get your job! If you need a little assistance create a free account on www.instawork.com and get connected to more than 1000 employers across the West Coast.