The Great Hall
Interviewing Restaurant Owners - Questions? The Great Hall: Interviewing Restaurant Owners - Questions?
By Webchef (Webchef) on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 10:53 am: Edit

Hi all.

I'm going to be interviewing some restaurant owners for material to include on my website soon, and I'm trying to collect a list of questions to ask. Has anyone here ever done (or participated in) something like this? What kind of questions would you like to have asked/answered? I've got my own list of course, but it seems pretty much like a laundry list right now. I'd like to breath some life into it. So far I've got things like "How long have you been in the industry/details about the establishment of course/specialty of the house"
I'd like to add some more off-the-wall kind of questions but fear my own lack of good taste (well, hasn't stopped me before), so maybe I can get some advice here. Anyone?

The SoupNazi @

By Grimod (Grimod) on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 09:28 pm: Edit

well, I guess I'm not quite sure by what you mean. Why are you adding this material to your site? What is the purpose? By figuring that out, then the questions would just come natural. At first I thought you were interviewing for a job and were looking for more questions to ask. Because , for that, I have created quite a list! Maybe they might help you. I want to know their philosophy of being a restauranteur. I want to know which restaurants they consider in their class. I want to know the direction they see their restaurant in one, three, five years. I wan to know what expect me to do. I want to know what they consider good food costs/labor costs. Who designed their restaurant. Their approach to PR. Who designed their kitchen. What would they have done differently. Who they think their market is? I want them to describe an ideal meal. What their philosophy towards food and culture? Do they believe in quality products? Do they support area small organic growers. Why they are in the business. Their approach to employee relations. What magazines do they enjoy. What they enjoy doing on their own time (i.e. food and wine pairing with friends, etc.)What's their philosophy on wine buying (do they buy Bordeaux wines and age them properly. There are millions of questions. From a Chef standpoint, there has been too many times in my life where I thought that the owners and me were on the same level (planet sometimes). What does best mean?


By Webchef (Webchef) on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 10:45 am: Edit

Thanks Grimod! Those are great.

My site is oriented to food and dining and entertainment, so posting interviews with the owner fits (imo). Questions like "do they support small organic growers" and such are exactly the kind of things I want to add. I don't care so much for the nutsandbolts approach of who designed their kitchen, etc (unless they did it personally, and then it would be interesting to add - so it's good to find out!).

The employee relations issue is a real touchy subject in my area (small town usa). I've heard from many employees that if you work at one place (even part time) you are excluded from working anywhere else. Some of the servers really can't get by on the few hours they get at one place, so seeing them at diff. places seems to be what would be required to make enough money to live, but I've heard this requirement from more than one person. They do it, and they get •••• from their first job and sometimes fired. What's your take on that, if I might ask?

By Chefgbs (Chefgbs) on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 06:50 pm: Edit


It happens where I'm at too. That's called collusion. Muy illegal.

By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 11:05 am: Edit

"excluded from working anywhere else"
Thats just ego.
and stupid, since theres no copyright's for recipes or procedures.
Why not let people work other places. Maybe there's something they do at the other place that would help you save a dime, and why would you want to NOT help your employee's make a buck?
Ego, Ego, Ego it's a killer..........

By Grimod (Grimod) on Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 02:01 pm: Edit

somehow my second post didn't make it...

but, I am in a small town (no stoplights). If a waiter or even my cooks need to work at three restaurants who cares? People have to live and if I can't afford to pay them a lot or give enough hours then let them get a second job. And, I am very tolerant about working it out between all their jobs.


By Chefspike (Chefspike) on Thursday, June 13, 2002 - 04:04 pm: Edit

Chef Grimod,

My comments were not directed to/at you.
They were/are just a generalized blanket opinion
addressing my feelings towards those who practice such egotistical crap in the rests (i.e., kitchens,dining rooms) after, hiring these people and then relying on them to perform their job.
Of course I could be full of crap myself thinking this way. But I think that happy employees perform better than unhappy ones. Someone with less money worries is hands down going to be "at work " when I need them to be. I know I am.
Again, just my nickel.

By Webchef (Webchef) on Thursday, June 20, 2002 - 03:30 pm: Edit

<<in a small town>>

That's the area I'm in also. 'Cept we have three streetlights due to the tourist traffic that flocks in during the summer. Most of my friends are servers, cooks and the like and the policy of the local owners really is hurting them. Is it really illegal? How would collusion be involved barring a conspiracy of some kind? These people are just normal working folk who can't get enough hours in at one job to make a decent living. Ego, or over-protectionism? I'd like to hear more.

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