What To Wear To A Restaurant Interview

Congratulations, you’ve landed a job interview at a restaurant! The next step is to prepare for the interview. However, preparing for an interview goes way beyond just thinking about what to say and making sure your resume looks good.

Everyone knows that first impressions count in a job setting. While securing a job interview in the hospitality service industry might not sound like a big deal to some, it’s important that you take this interview seriously as you would with any other job. This starts with what you choose to wear.

Here is our guide on what to wear to a restaurant interview!

What To Wear To A Restaurant Interview

There are two key factors that will determine what you should wear to a restaurant interview: the role you have applied for and the type of restaurant you wish to work in.

Ideally, applicants should scout the restaurant out beforehand to get an idea of the establishment in terms of vibe, aesthetic, staff expectations, quality, and atmosphere.

This will help give you an idea of what it would be like to work in the restaurant, and how you should approach the interview.

Types Of Restaurants

Pub-Style Restaurant

Pub-style restaurants typically have the most relaxed atmosphere. Please keep in mind that relaxed doesn’t necessarily mean lazy – if anything, relaxed restaurants are only chilled out because of the expert staff.

Most of these restaurants are privately owned and found in small towns, meaning they will probably want to develop relationships with their employees.

With a relaxed restaurant, you can essentially wear whatever you want to the interview. Of course, it depends on the role you have applied for, because this might alter how you present yourself.

For example, you might dress more casually for a sous chef role than a managerial role.

While you can wear your normal clothing to give the employer an idea of your personality, you should make sure to dress conservatively. Not all employers are impressed with tattoos, so make sure to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

In terms of hair and makeup, keep it natural and tie your hair back neatly. You will have to tie your hair back for the role anyway.

Upscale Restaurant

Going to an interview for an upscale restaurant requires a lot more effort than wearing your normal clothing.

Upscale restaurants are usually defined by their outstanding service and food, so you need to prove to the employer that you would carry the same expectations in your own role.

The safest thing to wear for an upscale restaurant interview is a white shirt tucked into a pair of black pants or a black knee-length skirt.

The shirt doesn’t have to be buttoned to the top, but make sure to cover any cleavage or tattoos. Wear flat shoes or low heels, and a pair of tights if you wear a skirt.

Keep your hair and makeup simple and tidy. You want the employer to visualize you in the work setting, so tie your hair back neatly (as it is a requirement in the food industry) to show that you are prepared to work whenever.

Chain Restaurant

Chain restaurants often have the highest demand of applicants, meaning that you have to stand out against potentially hundreds of other applicants. The best way to do this is with your clothing and appearance.

Depending on the type of chain restaurant the interview is for, you want to blend the lines between formal and informal. A black suit and tie might appear too serious, while jeans and a t-shirt are far too relaxed.

Keep it simple with a white shirt (or another colored shirt) tucked into black pants or a black knee-length skirt with tights.

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Types Of Roles In A Restaurant

Managerial Role

If your interview is for a managerial role in a restaurant, you might dress as smartly as possible. Employers will be handing over their business to you depending on your role, so you need to look professional and prepared enough to handle the expectations.

Whether you’re applying for a general or assistant manager role, keep it smart and simple. Business attire is the way forward – think suits, knee-length formal dresses, blazers, ties, brogues, and heels. Keep the color palette neutral and try to avoid wearing too many patterns.

Employers won’t be assessing your accessories, they just want to know that you can present yourself in a formal setting for a managerial role.

Waiter/Bar Staff

Waiters and bar staff are the face of restaurants. Not only do they play a pivotal role in the service, but they also present the entire business. When going to a restaurant interview for a waiter, waitress, or bartender role, stick to smart and simple clothing.

You’re most likely to be given a uniform if you get this role, so don’t bother dressing too smart. Odds are, you probably won’t need to use that interview outfit again.

If possible, try to mimic the uniform worn by existing waiting staff. This will give the employer an idea of how you’ll look in the role.


While chef roles might be behind the scenes and away from dining customers, you still want to impress your employers. Wear a shirt with pants or a knee-length skirt along with flat shoes.

The interviewer might show you around the kitchen or might even ask you to show your skills, so consider this when choosing what to wear. You might want to opt for a black shirt to prevent stains!

Where The Interview Is Held

Lastly, consider where the interview is being held. This won’t change what you wear too much, but the atmosphere of the interview will undoubtedly give you an idea of what to wear.

If the interview is held in a coffee shop or lunch spot, this tells you that the employer doesn’t expect you to dress too seriously or too formally.

If the interview is held at an upscale restaurant, or even the restaurant itself, this tells you that the employer has high expectations of the applicants.


Turns out deciding what to wear for a restaurant interview isn’t too difficult. Trust your instincts, and if in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a simple shirts and pants combo!


Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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