Top 25 Olive Garden Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

olive garden interview questions

By Mike Simpson

Landing a job interview at Olive Garden can be incredibly exciting, but it’s also a bit daunting. While the restaurant industry struggled during COVID, the situation has since changed. Currently, Olive Garden locations aren’t struggling to find workers. Since that’s the case, you need to nail your Olive Garden interview questions if you’re going to stand out from the pack.

Fortunately, that’s completely doable with a bit of preparation. If you’re about to face off against interview questions at Olive Garden and you want to be ready, here’s what you need to know.

How to Answer Olive Garden Interview Questions

Before we take a deep dive into the Olive Garden interview questions and answers, let’s talk about how you need to answer the questions. By having a solid strategy, you won’t just shine with the questions you’re ready for; you’ll also do better when faced with the unexpected.

Generally, what’s important to keep in mind is that Olive Garden is a customer-centric company. Since that’s the case, you need to make sure that your answers show you can and will put customers first.

However, you also need to go a bit further if you want to really get your answers to interview questions at Olive Garden right. Usually, that means starting with a bit of research.

Before your interview, spend some time reviewing the job description for the role you want to land. There, you’ll see the exact skills the hiring manager wants to find. Make a note of what you see there, allowing you to practice discussing those capabilities in your answers.

Also, do a bit more digging. Head to the Olive Garden website to learn about its mission and values, as those tell you a lot about the organization’s culture. Then, take a trip to the company’s social media profiles, giving you a chance to find out more about the culture and any recent achievements.

MIKE'S TIP: With restaurant interviews, it isn’t a bad idea to head online and check out the menu, too. It’s not uncommon for the hiring manager to ask about your favorite dish or what you know about current specials. By going over the menu in advance, you can refresh your memory about your favorite dish and learn about any new additions, ensuring you’re ready for those questions.

Once you’ve handled the research, it’s time to focus on answering technique. Usually, traditional interview questions are reasonably straightforward. You might need to confirm whether you have a particular skill or discuss a knowledge area, generally using a fact-based approach. Just make sure that you also provide examples of when you put those skills or knowledge into action, as that makes your responses more compelling.

Beyond that, you’ll usually face off against a few behavioral and situational Olive Garden interview questions. These require you to either discuss a past experience or talk about how you would navigate a hypothetical situation. In either case, the same strategy works well. By mixing the STAR Method and the Tailoring Method, you can create highly relevant, engaging answers that will capture the hiring manager’s attention.

Top 3 Olive Garden Interview Questions

You might assume that every Olive Garden interview is more or less the same. However, that isn’t typically the case.

Along with more than 850 restaurant locations that employ servers, cooks, and similar professionals, Olive Garden also hires corporate employees in a range of niches. As a result, candidates may get asked different questions during their interviews.

For example, restaurant managers need skills that aren’t necessary for servers. Similarly, a corporate accountant doesn’t need the same skills as a cook. Since that’s the case, the interview questions vary to align with the job.

However, the bulk of Olive Garden’s hiring focuses on restaurant positions. Since that’s the case, those are the Olive Garden interview questions we’ll concentrate on here.

Here’s a look at our top three interview questions at Olive Garden and example answers.

1. Why are you interested in working in the restaurant industry?

While this question can sound a little judgmental, its actual purpose is to help the hiring manager learn more about your motivations and gauge your passion for the work. Restaurant work is incredibly challenging, so they want to know you’re considering it for a reason other than just money and schedule flexibility.

Ideally, you want to highlight aspects of the industry that spark your enthusiasm, providing clear examples along the way. That shows you find the work itself enticing, making you seem like a stronger candidate.


“My main reason for wanting to work in the restaurant industry is that I’m a people person. Customer service is an area where I shine, particularly when I have a chance to really engage with diners. I get great satisfaction from providing them with an excellent experience, whether they’re popping in for a quick lunch, celebrating something special, or anything in between.

Additionally, restaurant jobs are typically active, which I appreciate. I like the hustle and bustle, so I find the work particularly enjoyable.”

2. If the kitchen was backed up, how would you ensure the satisfaction of diners seated in your area?

When restaurants get busy, there’s always a chance it will delay the flow of food to diners. Since customers might get frustrated because of the longer waits, hiring managers want to see if you have a plan for ensuring satisfaction even if there’s a delay.

Usually, you want to outline a general plan that aligns with what you know about Olive Garden. However, it’s okay to simply mention that you’d follow company policy about how to proceed in some cases, as the hiring manager doesn’t expect you to know every detail about what is or isn’t allowed at that restaurant location.


“If the kitchen is backed up, my first step is to let the diners know about the delay. I’ll start with a quick apology, acknowledging the inconvenience. Next, I’ll let them know that the kitchen is working diligently to get their order out as fast as possible. Then, I’ll see if there’s anything I can do to ease their wait, such as refilling drinks or getting more soup, salad, or breadsticks for the table.

In my experience, a strategy like that will keep most customers satisfied. However, if a customer is particularly upset about the wait, I may explore other options. Precisely what that entails may depend on company policy or guidance from my manager. However, I’d take action quickly to ensure the situation doesn’t escalate.”

3. How would you deal with a difficult customer?

When you work in the restaurant industry, you’re going to encounter challenging customers from time to time; it’s simply unavoidable. Since that’s the case, hiring managers want to know that you can navigate the situation.

Ideally, you want to outline a step-by-step process, showing what you’d do in this scenario. If you have past experience, you can discuss steps you’ve actually taken. If not, simply go over what you would do.


“In my past jobs, I encountered a few difficult customers. As a result, I’ve developed a strategy for managing the situation that I’ve found works well in most cases.

First, I use my active listening skills to find out the core issue. When the customer shares information, I’ll paraphrase it to ensure I’m seeing it correctly. If necessary, I’ll also ask probing questions to get to the root of the problem.

Along the way, I focus on remaining professional, calm, and composed. My goal is to ensure the situation doesn’t escalate or grow hostile, so I keep my emotions in check. Then, once I know what the problem is, I try to find a reasonable solution. What that involves usually varies based on the exact issue. However, if it’s within my purview to handle, I will. If not, I’ll enlist support from a manager to ensure the customer’s needs are met.”

22 More Olive Garden Interview Questions

Here are 22 more Olive Garden interview questions you might encounter:

    1. Why do you want to work at Olive Garden?
    2. Tell me about your experience in the food service industry?
    3. What does excellent customer service mean to you?
    4. What’s your availability? Do you anticipate that changing in the near future?
    5. Can you tell me about a time when you helped someone?
    6. What does teamwork mean to you?
    7. If you saw a fellow server struggling, what would you do?
    8. What do you know about Olive Garden?
    9. Which Olive Garden dish is your favorite, and why?
    10. When the dinner rush gets hectic, how do you stay calm and composed?
    11. When you dine out, what is the most critical part of the experience to ensure it’s enjoyable?
    12. Are you comfortable spending the majority of your shift on your feet?
    13. Do you feel confident in your ability to balance and carry large trays of food?
    14. If you weren’t working in the restaurant industry, what kind of career would you choose, and why?
    15. How do you typically fit into a team dynamic?
    16. If you were about to bring dishes out to a table, but a manager asked you to handle another task, what would you do?
    17. What do you enjoy about working in the restaurant industry? What do you dislike about it?
    18. If a table finished dining but, when it came time to handle their bill, their payment card was declined, what would you do?
    19. If a customer complained about their meal after nearly cleaning their plate, how would you handle it?
    20. What would you do if you saw an adult pass an alcoholic beverage to an underage person dining with them?
    21. Do you have a current food handlers card?
    22. If you could make one change to improve the Olive Garden experience, what would it be, and why?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of an Olive Garden Interview

When your interview comes to a close, something important happens; you get a chance to ask the hiring manager some questions. While it might seem like saying you don’t have anything to ask is a good idea, that actually isn’t the case. Questions make you look engaged and enthusiastic. Plus, it lets you learn more about the job, culture, and more.

During your interview, you may think of some questions pertaining to what you were asked along the way. However, that doesn’t always happen. Since that’s the case, it’s a smart move to have some questions in your back pocket.

Here are five good questions to ask at the end of an Olive Garden interview:

    1. What do you like best about working for Olive Garden?
    2. Does Olive Garden offer opportunities for growth and advancement?
    3. What separates your top-performing servers from their colleagues?
    4. Which aspect of the role is most challenging to learn, and do you have any tips that could help a new hire succeed in that area?
    5. What’s management’s view on hostile or aggressive customers?

Putting It All Together

At this point, you should have a pretty solid idea of how to answer interview questions at Olive Garden. Make sure to use everything you learned to your advantage. That way, when you’re facing off against Olive Garden interview questions, you’re more likely to impress, increasing your odds of landing an offer.

Good luck!

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.