Great news. You've landed yourself an interview. Now it's time to get ready for the Olive Garden interview questions that will come thick and fast once you're inside that interview room.

With over 850 restaurants, Olive Garden is an established part of many communities across the US. Now that the pandemic's finally receding and life's returning to normal again, the hospitality sector is opening up more. There's never been a better time to be part of the industry.

Whether you're applying for a role as a server, a busser, a hostess, or one of the many kitchen staff, you'll want to be on top of your game when it comes to comprehensively answering Olive Garden interview questions.

Below are 15 common Olive Garden interview questions and sample answers to get you prepped and ready… so go for it!

1. Tell me a bit about yourself

A nice, gentle introduction into the Olive Garden interview, this question is designed to ease you in by talking about yourself. And who doesn't enjoy that? Keep it brief, though, and focus on an answer that highlights work-related capabilities.

Sample answer:

I've worked in the hospitality industry all my working life. I was a busboy to pay my way through college, and this led me to remain in the sector as I loved it so much. I was promoted to server really quickly and have just thrived since then. Outside of work, I play baseball for a Sunday league team and I'm currently learning Spanish.

2. Why are you interested in working for Olive Garden?

It can't be stressed enough here that to succeed with this Olive Garden interview question, you must have done your homework - and thoroughly. If you don't feel that you can hold all the information you learned about the company in your head, it's OK to bring in some notes as a reminder.

Sample answer:

I love the ethos behind the name, including the Harvest program partnering with Feeding America to help families in the local area facing hunger by donating large amounts of food every week. I'm also really excited to work in a busy environment, making people happy and welcome every shift. As it's such a successful organization, I know I'll learn such a lot and ultimately advance and improve my key skills.

3. Why should we hire you?

This is when you hit them with your accomplishments and illustrate the key skills that set you apart from the rest of the competition.

Sample answer:

Attention to detail, flourishing when under pressure, and teamwork all come naturally to me. I'm articulate, with a professional attitude and remain composed during difficult situations.

4. How do you envisage fitting into the culture of Olive Garden?

The work culture of a place is vitally important, so show how you would seamlessly become a part of it - your research will help you here.

Sample answer:

From what I can tell whenever I've visited an Olive Garden restaurant, there seems to be an element of a family vibe amongst the staff. It's been great to see the high levels of communication and camaraderie that they display. I think I'd be an excellent fit for this type of culture, because I strongly believe in pulling together as a team while having fun at the same time.

5. What are your greatest strengths?

These need to be industry-related, so make sure you've swallowed the job description and can list some of the skills on it, with examples.

Sample answer:

I'm a really hard worker with x amount of years in hospitality, often working beyond my shift time to make sure everything's in order before I leave for the night. Customers seem to like me, as I get tipped generously, and I've been specifically named in positive feedback on Tripadvisor.

6. Talk me through any previous work experience you've had that's relevant to this role

There's going to be tough competition for most roles, so talk succinctly but decisively about any previous experience.

Sample answer:

I worked in a busy bar during spring breaks, then I took a hospitality course. This led to me being offered a job as a server with a nationwide burger chain, where I stayed long enough to develop my customer service skills. Now it's time for me to find something new and more challenging.

7. How do you deal with difficult customers? Give an example of how you handled and resolved the situation

This is a type of behavioral interview question that requires a description of an actual event that happened, so pick one that ended with a good result.

Sample answer:

I mistakenly served a meat burger to a vegetarian and when she realized after taking a bite, she threw it at me. I remained calm but immediately apologized as it was certainly my fault, albeit unintended. She was aggressive and shouted for a while but I remained calm and polite. In the end, she came and apologized to me for throwing a fit unnecessarily.

8. What are your top three customer service skills?

If you can illustrate your answer with an actual example of when you delivered outstanding customer service, all the better.

Sample answer:

Bringing a smile to a customer's face, listening, and understanding exactly what each customer needs, as well as accommodating all their requirements to the best of my ability.

9. In what ways are you a team player? Prove it.

This competency based Olive Garden interview question is there to show how you handle particular work-based scenarios.

Sample answer:

I'm outgoing and enjoy working with others. I often take on additional duties to help out other team members, collaborate throughout the day, and take responsibility for my own duties and actions. A case in point was when one of the young servers was being harassed by a customer. I noticed what was going on and stepped in to help her out. I calmly had a chat with the customer, pointing out their behavior was unnecessary and asking them to stop. It resulted in the server being very grateful to me for backing her, and the minimum amount of fuss was caused as the customer backed off.

10. How well do you cope under pressure?

An ability to thrive under pressure is vital in the hospitality sector, as things can get heated, and potentially out of hand, very quickly. Try to give the impression that the pressure was outside of your control.

Sample answer:

With many conflicting demands throughout a shift, I carefully organize tasks to reduce this pressure from the outset. But it does make me feel alive, so I channel this feeling and energy to get as much achieved as possible.

11. What gets you motivated?

Don't make the mistake of saying “a high salary” or something equally flippant. Of course, money is usually the driver for taking a job, but you'll need something more.

Sample answer:

Happy customers and working in a dedicated team. I love getting great feedback, and the more I get, the better I want to be.  

12. Why do you want to leave your current job?

Your motivation for moving positions is behind this Olive Garden interview question, so focus on a positive reply.

Sample answer:

I'm looking for more stability rather than zero hours contracts, as well as a greater challenge. The place I work in currently has just 20 covers, so I'm looking forward to working here in a much larger restaurant and team.

13. What is your punctuality and attendance like? Has it ever been an issue at previous jobs?

Consistently turning up to your shift on time is a basic requirement, but often abused by staff, so convince the interviewer you're reliable.

Sample answer:

It's incredibly important to arrive at work well in time for a shift, so I'm not rushing to put on the uniform or find out which tables are mine. I was late once at a job but that was because my bus didn't arrive on time. After that, I made sure to catch an earlier bus. 

14. How would you deal with the demanding physical aspects of the role?

Being on your feet all day can take its toll, so instill a sense of confidence in your prospective employer with your response by proving you're fit and healthy.

Sample answer:

I play sports, which keeps me fit, and I'm a healthy weight for my height. Having worked in hospitality for a few years now, I'm used to the physical demands and make sure I take my breaks so I'm energized for the rest of the shift.

15. What appeals to you most about this vacancy?

The interviewer wants to discover your key motivator for securing this role, to give them insight into you as a professional. Point to an aspect where your skills can meet Olive Garden's needs.

Sample answer:

Your excellent attitude to customer service. I can see how important it is to Olive Garden and I want to be part of that. I'm committed to excellence in customer service, so I feel I'm the right fit as I attach the same high level of importance to it as you do.

What to wear during an Olive Garden interview

Customer-facing roles inevitably require the person to look neat, tidy, and presentable. So that's exactly what you want to convey at an Olive Garden interview. Your Olive Garden interview attire should be smart, ironed, and appropriate, such as a jacket, blouse, and skirt or a suit. If you answer all the interview questions well and are offered the job, you'll be wearing a uniform during your shift.

Spruce up your interview techniques and nail those Olive Garden interview questions by employing one of our professional interview coaches to set you on the pathway to success.

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