A career in the food industry can be both lucrative and stable. For some, a career in this industry begins with a part-time job after school and advances through the ranks to a management position. Others resort to jobs with fast-food or quick-serve restaurants when employment opportunities in the food industry outnumber those in their own areas of training or expertise. Like most other jobs, the selection process in the fast-food industry requires that applicants interview with a manager. If you're seeking a job in the fast-food industry, prepare for your meeting by considering the types of questions a manager will ask.

What Makes Our Restaurant Different From Our Competitors?

The goals of the fast-food industry remain relatively consistent among restaurants. These include providing fast service and dishing out tasty food. Each manager wants her restaurant to stand out from competitors. She will likely ask a question like this to learn what you consider the defining characteristic that the restaurant offers to its customers.

Your response should signal that you have done your research and that you know what makes the establishment special. You should consider the strengths of the restaurant and how those strengths compare to other fast food restaurants. You should also review the company’s website to determine how the restaurant differentiates itself from competitors.

For example, you could point out that the restaurant offers a play area that is clean, fun, and safe. This brings in families who want quick, delicious food and a place for children to get their wiggles out. You may also point to unique menu items, the convenient location, or excellent customer service.

What Are Your Career Goals?

Employee turnover in the fast-food industry is consistently high, often as 150 percent, according to Disrupt CRE. Many teenagers and college students pursue jobs in fast food to supplement their income. After graduation, these employees leave to find jobs in their chosen career paths.

The manager wants to know how long you intend to work for the company. You should respond honestly while expressing a dedication to your work responsibilities. If you plan to pursue another career path in the future, instead discuss short-term career goals achievable within the restaurant. You could say, "As a freshman in college, I am open to many career opportunities after graduation. During my time in college, I would want to focus on customer service here and become an assistant manager."

How Do You Feel About Working With Customers?

Customers make up the heart of the fast-food industry. Each fast-food restaurant needs customers to increase sales, and many restaurants have repeat customers because they provide high-level service and well-prepared food.

While many people can follow directions to make the food, customer service takes a certain kind of employee. To show that you can keep customers coming back, share your own life experiences about the quality of customer service you observe when you eat at fast-food restaurants or times when you have handled a difficult situation well.

If you have previous customer service experience, describe your approach with a detailed example. If you do not have such an example, talk about a time when you saw poor customer service skills and how you would have done it better.

What Makes A Good Restaurant Worker?

Restaurant workers require different skills than factory workers or office staff. These skills include recognizing the importance of a clean workplace, engaging customers and following food preparation directions. The manager will ask this question to determine what you consider important in a fast-food restaurant environment.

For your response, discuss each of these things. For example, you could say, "The best workers pay close attention to detail. This skill can help maintain a clean environment and ensure food is delicious. Furthermore, employees should make customer service a priority."