330 Questions to Ask a Restaurant Owner

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant? From crafting the perfect menu to managing a lively team, restaurant owners have a plate full of responsibilities. 

Asking questions helps you dive into their world—uncover delicious secrets, creative ideas, and the challenges they face, and offer a glimpse into the daily hustle and bustle of the dining world. So grab a seat, and let’s dive in!

Questions About Their Menu

  1. How do you decide what goes on the menu?
  2. Can you tell me about any special dishes you offer?
  3. Do you have options for people with dietary restrictions?
  4. What are your best-selling dishes?
  5. How often do you change the menu?
  6. Can you tell me about your seasonal specials?
  7. Who creates the recipes for the menu?
  8. Do you source any ingredients locally?
  9. What’s the inspiration behind the menu’s theme?
  10. How do you price the dishes on the menu?
  11. Do you offer a children’s menu?
  12. What are your vegan or vegetarian options?
  13. Are there any dishes that are unique to your restaurant?
  14. What are your options for desserts?
  15. Do you offer any tasting menus or sampler platters?
  16. Can customers customize their dishes?
  17. How do you handle food allergies with your menu?
  18. What are your drink pairings with the main courses?
  19. Do you offer any special promotions or discounts?
  20. How do you accommodate large groups or parties with the menu?
  21. What are your breakfast, lunch, and dinner options?
  22. How do you make sure the menu appeals to a wide audience?
  23. Can customers order off the menu?
  24. How do you decide what to put in your daily specials?
  25. What’s your policy on menu transparency regarding ingredients?
  26. Are there any signature cocktails or beverages?
  27. Do you provide nutritional information for your dishes?
  28. How do you make the menu attractive and easy to read?
  29. How do you promote healthy eating options on your menu?
  30. What’s your strategy for incorporating seasonal ingredients?
  31. How do you choose the names of the dishes on your menu?
  32. What considerations do you make for cultural or regional dishes?
  33. Are there any hidden gems on the menu that people often overlook?
  34. How do you decide on the visual design and layout of the menu?
  35. How do you ensure that the menu reflects the restaurant’s overall ambiance?
  36. What are the considerations for creating a balanced menu with varied flavors and textures?
  37. Can you share an example of a menu item that has evolved over time and what led to the changes?
  38. How do you evaluate the success or popularity of specific menu items?
  39. Do you offer any special menus for holidays or events?
  40. How do you approach creating a menu catering to locals and tourists?
  41. What’s the process for retiring a dish from the menu?
  42. How do you decide on portion sizes for the different dishes?
  43. Are there any stories or traditions behind certain dishes on the menu?
  44. How do you approach the balance between comfort food and innovative dishes?
  45. What are the considerations in offering both a dine-in and takeout menu?

Questions About Food Preparation

  1. How do you ensure the freshness of your ingredients?
  2. How do you maintain cleanliness in the kitchen?
  3. What’s your approach to food safety?
  4. How do you cater to special dietary needs during preparation?
  5. Do you use any special cooking techniques or equipment?
  6. How do you make sure each dish is consistent?
  7. What’s your policy on using processed vs. fresh ingredients?
  8. How do you ensure that food is prepared quickly without sacrificing quality?
  9. How do you handle food waste?
  10. What are your portion sizes like?
  11. How do you ensure that seafood is sourced responsibly?
  12. Do you make any of your own bread, sauces, or dressings?
  13. How do you adapt to the latest food trends in preparation?
  14. What steps do you take to accommodate food allergies?
  15. How is your kitchen organized to handle busy times?
  16. What are your standards for selecting meat and produce suppliers?
  17. How do you maintain the quality of food during delivery?
  18. How do you ensure proper temperature control during cooking?
  19. What’s your approach to marinating and seasoning?
  20. How do you train your staff to prepare dishes uniformly?
  21. How do you ensure your food appeals to the eye and the palate?
  22. Do you do anything special for the presentation?
  23. What are your guidelines for handling raw foods?
  24. How do you test new recipes before adding them to the menu?
  25. How do you choose the cooking oils and fats you use?
  26. What are your standards for food packaging and takeout?
  27. Do you collaborate with other chefs or culinary experts?
  28. How do you handle unexpected shortages of ingredients?
  29. How do you balance creativity with tradition in food preparation?
  30. Do you collaborate with nutritionists to create balanced meal options?
  31. How do you measure and control the quality of dishes that leave the kitchen?
  32. How do you manage the workflow among different kitchen stations?
  33. How do you maintain the balance between speed and quality during busy periods?
  34. What’s your policy on using organic or non-GMO ingredients in your food preparation?
  35. How do you keep up with new cooking techniques and technologies in the industry?
  36. How do you handle unexpected large groups or events without compromising food quality?
  37. Do you have any special procedures for preparing signature or highly complex dishes?
  38. What’s your approach to pairing different textures and flavors in a dish?
  39. What’s your approach to ensuring that dishes meet the taste expectations described on the menu?

Questions About Customer Service And Satisfaction

  1. How do you ensure that customers receive prompt and courteous service?
  2. What strategies do you use to handle customer complaints or negative feedback?
  3. How do you measure customer satisfaction?
  4. What’s your approach to accommodating special requests or needs?
  5. How do you handle customer complaints about the menu?
  6. How do you create a welcoming atmosphere for all guests?
  7. What’s your policy for handling mistakes or errors in orders?
  8. How do you keep up with customer preferences and expectations?
  9. How do you encourage repeat business and loyalty among customers?
  10. What steps do you take to ensure accessibility and inclusivity for all guests?
  11. How do you utilize social media or other platforms to engage with customers?
  12. How do you handle peak dining times to ensure customer service doesn’t suffer?
  13. What are your strategies for managing long wait times or reservations?
  14. How do you ensure the dining experience matches the price and value?
  15. How do you deal with difficult or unruly customers?
  16. What methods do you use to gather feedback and make continuous improvements?
  17. How do you ensure that your customer service policies are clear and transparent?
  18. How do you balance the needs of different types of customers, such as families, couples, or business diners?
  19. What are your strategies for creating memorable dining experiences?
  20. How do you manage customer expectations during special events or promotions?
  21. What’s your approach to handling customer privacy and personal information?
  22. How do you adapt to cultural or language barriers with international guests?
  23. How do you keep the dining environment comfortable and appealing?
  24. What are your strategies for dealing with unexpected situations, like power outages or emergencies?
  25. How do you ensure your customer service aligns with the restaurant’s brand and image?
  26. What are your methods for integrating new customer service trends or technologies?
  27. How do you foster a connection with the local community and regular customers?
  28. What are your strategies for handling large groups or special occasions?
  29. How do you approach online reviews and manage your restaurant’s online reputation?
  30. How do you communicate customer preferences and special requests effectively between servers and kitchen staff?
  31. What are your methods for making guests feel special on occasions like birthdays or anniversaries?
  32. How do you approach customer loyalty programs, and what benefits do you offer to loyal customers?

Questions About Staff Management And Training

  1. How do you hire and select staff for your restaurant?
  2. What kind of training do new employees receive?
  3. How do you ensure consistency in service across all staff members?
  4. What opportunities for growth or advancement do you offer your employees?
  5. How do you handle conflicts or issues among the staff?
  6. What’s your approach to team building and maintaining a positive work environment?
  7. How do you keep your staff motivated during busy or stressful shifts?
  8. Can you tell me about the training your chefs receive?
  9. What ongoing training or professional development do you offer?
  10. How do you evaluate staff performance and provide feedback?
  11. How do you manage scheduling and ensure adequate staffing during peak times?
  12. What’s your approach to diversity and inclusion within your team?
  13. How do you handle employee benefits, such as healthcare or paid time off?
  14. How do you ensure all staff are trained in food safety and hygiene?
  15. What are your expectations for staff appearance and professionalism?
  16. How do you foster communication and collaboration among different roles in the restaurant?
  17. How do you deal with staff turnover and keep employees engaged long-term?
  18. What is your strategy for managing different skill levels within your team?
  19. How do you adapt your training to cater to individual learning styles?
  20. What is your policy for handling staff grievances or complaints?
  21. How do you promote a culture of continuous improvement and learning?
  22. How do you encourage staff to take ownership and pride in their work?
  23. What’s your approach to managing a multi-generational workforce?
  24. How do you create a sense of community and belonging among your staff?
  25. How do you set and enforce standards for customer service across your team?
  26. How do you balance the needs of part-time and full-time staff?
  27. How do you ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations?
  28. What’s your process for addressing poor performance or misconduct?
  29. How do you encourage staff to stay up-to-date with industry trends?
  30. How do you foster a customer-centric attitude among your team?
  31. What strategies do you have for maintaining high staff morale during challenging times?
  32. How do you ensure staff members are well-informed about daily specials and menu changes?
  33. How do you ensure that your staff understands and caters to the diverse needs of customers?
  34. What support do you provide for staff dealing with stress or burnout?
  35. How do you foster a culture of teamwork, especially between front-of-house and back-of-house staff?
  36. How do you ensure fair and transparent tipping practices within the team?
  37. What role do employees have in contributing ideas or feedback about restaurant operations?
  38. How do you help staff develop leadership skills and prepare for higher-level positions?
  39. How do you ensure that part-time staff receives the same quality of training and support as full-time staff?
  40. How do you train your staff to provide personalized customer service?
  41. How do you handle onboarding new hires to get them up to speed quickly?
  42. How do you adapt training for employees with different levels of experience in the restaurant industry?
  43. How do you keep training engaging and effective for your staff?
  44. How do you handle emergency situations or unexpected absences among the staff?
  45. How do you encourage staff to stay involved with the overall mission and vision of the restaurant?
  46. How do you ensure that staff members adhere to uniform and grooming standards?
  47. How do you balance the workload during slow periods to keep staff productive?
  48. How do you maintain open and honest communication with your team?
  49. How do you ensure that employee records and personal information are handled with confidentiality?

Questions About Sustainability

  1. What sustainability goals have you set for your restaurant?
  2. How are you working towards them?
  3. How do you source sustainable ingredients?
  4. What percentage of your menu uses them?
  5. What initiatives have you taken to reduce food waste in your restaurant?
  6. How do you ensure your seafood is sustainably sourced?
  7. What certifications do you look for?
  8. What energy-saving measures have you implemented in the restaurant’s daily operations?
  9. How do you educate your staff about sustainability practices and how to implement them?
  10. Can you describe any partnerships with local farmers or suppliers focusing on sustainable practices?
  11. How do you balance the need for sustainability with maintaining quality and customer satisfaction?
  12. What efforts have you made to reduce single-use plastics and other non-biodegradable materials?
  13. How do you actively engage customers in your sustainability efforts, such as offering reusable containers or promoting eco-friendly options?
  14. How do you manage water usage in the restaurant to reduce waste?
  15. What challenges have you faced in implementing sustainability practices, and how have you overcome them?
  16. How do you monitor and measure the impact of your sustainability efforts?
  17. Can you share any success stories or notable achievements in your journey toward sustainability?
  18. How do you ensure your sustainability practices comply with local regulations and industry standards?
  19. How do you address the higher costs that may be associated with sustainable sourcing or practices?
  20. What role does sustainability play in your marketing?
  21. How do you communicate it to potential customers?
  22. How do you foster a culture of sustainability among your staff?
  23. How is it reflected in their training?
  24. How have your sustainability efforts influenced your relationship with suppliers, partners, and the local community?
  25. Have you considered obtaining any certifications or recognitions for your sustainability efforts, and why or why not?
  26. How do you stay informed about new sustainability trends, technologies, or practices relevant to the restaurant industry?
  27. How do you prioritize various sustainability efforts, such as focusing on organic produce, reducing energy consumption, or community outreach?
  28. What feedback have you received from customers regarding your sustainability practices, and how have you responded?
  29. How do you integrate sustainability into the design and layout of the restaurant, including furniture, lighting, and décor?
  30. How do you manage your business’s transportation and delivery aspects to minimize environmental impact?
  31. How do your sustainability practices influence the menu selection and preparation of dishes?
  32. How do you collaborate with other restaurants or organizations to promote sustainability within the industry?
  33. How will you further enhance or expand your sustainability efforts in the coming years?
  34. How do you ensure that your commitment to sustainability aligns with other business goals and values?
  35. What advice would you give to other restaurant owners who are looking to start or improve their sustainability practices?

Questions About The Restaurant’s History And Culture

  1. How did the idea for your restaurant come about?
  2. What inspired the theme or cuisine of the restaurant?
  3. Can you tell me any historical or cultural significance behind the restaurant’s design or menu?
  4. How has the restaurant evolved since it first opened?
  5. Who were the key people involved in the founding and growth of the restaurant?
  6. What are the core values or principles that guide your restaurant?
  7. Are there any unique traditions or practices that your restaurant observes?
  8. How do you incorporate local culture or traditions into the restaurant’s experience?
  9. What challenges did you face in the early days, and how did you overcome them?
  10. How do you keep the history and culture of the restaurant alive for new staff members?
  11. Are there any notable stories or events that have shaped the restaurant’s identity?
  12. How do you ensure that the restaurant’s culture is reflected in every aspect of the dining experience?
  13. What role does the local community play in the restaurant’s history and ongoing success?
  14. How do you differentiate your restaurant’s culture from others in the same niche?
  15. Have you collaborated with local artists, musicians, or cultural figures in your restaurant?
  16. How does your restaurant’s history and culture influence your relationship with suppliers and other businesses?
  17. How do you communicate the essence of the restaurant’s culture to customers?
  18. Are there any future plans or goals rooted in preserving or enhancing the restaurant’s unique identity?
  19. How do you involve and educate your staff about the history and culture of the restaurant to ensure consistency in conveying its essence?
  20. How do you maintain the restaurant’s culture while expanding or franchising?
  21. What measures have you taken to document and preserve the restaurant’s history?
  22. How do you involve customers in the cultural experience of the restaurant?
  23. Are there any seasonal or annual events that hold special significance for the restaurant?
  24. How do you handle potential conflicts between the restaurant’s cultural identity and changing market trends?
  25. What impact has the restaurant’s history had on its reputation and branding?
  26. How has the restaurant’s culture influenced menu development and food preparation?
  27. What role do family and personal connections play in the restaurant’s history and culture?
  28. What are some of the symbolic elements in the restaurant’s decor or presentation that reflect its history and culture?
  29. Have there been any notable accolades or recognitions related to the restaurant’s cultural contributions?

Questions About Challenges And Difficulties

  1. What have been some of the most significant challenges you’ve faced since opening your restaurant? 
  2. How have you overcome them?
  3. How do you handle fluctuations in customer demand throughout the year?
  4. How do you manage the competition with other restaurants in your area, especially those with similar offerings?
  5. What challenges have you encountered in sourcing quality ingredients, especially during times of scarcity or high prices?
  6. What difficulties have you faced in maintaining a consistent brand image across various marketing channels and customer interactions?
  7. How do you handle unexpected situations like equipment failure or unexpected closures?
  8. Have you encountered any difficulties maintaining a work-life balance as a restaurant owner, and how do you manage them?
  9. What challenges have you faced in creating a positive and cohesive workplace culture among your staff?
  10. How have global events, such as economic recessions or pandemics, impacted your restaurant, and how have you adapted?
  11. What measures have you taken to secure your restaurant against potential theft or other security concerns?
  12. How do you approach the challenge of keeping up with technological advancements in the industry, such as new payment methods or reservation systems?
  13. What difficulties have you encountered in managing your restaurant’s online reputation and social media presence?
  14. How do you manage the stress and pressures of running a restaurant, personally and within your team?
  15. What challenges have you faced in expanding or scaling your restaurant, whether through additional locations or new business ventures?
  16. How do you handle potential legal issues, such as supplier disputes or compliance with employment laws?
  17. What strategies have you employed to deal with fluctuating food costs and the challenges of managing perishable inventory?
  18. How do you approach sustainability challenges, balancing environmental concerns with practical business needs?
  19. What difficulties have you experienced in connecting with and building a loyal customer base?
  20. How do you keep your passion and drive alive in the face of ongoing challenges in the restaurant industry?

Questions About Marketing And Advertising Strategies

  1. What are the main channels you use for marketing and advertising your restaurant?
  2. How do you identify and target your primary audience?
  3. How do you use social media to engage customers and promote your restaurant?
  4. What’s your strategy for creating appealing and effective advertisements?
  5. How do you measure the success of your marketing and advertising campaigns?
  6. What promotions or special offers do you use to attract new customers?
  7. How do you balance traditional advertising methods with digital marketing?
  8. How do you ensure that your marketing reflects your restaurant’s true essence and values?
  9. What role does customer feedback play in shaping your marketing strategies?
  10. How do you adapt your marketing efforts to different seasons or events?
  11. How do you handle negative reviews or online criticism?
  12. How do you coordinate marketing across multiple locations if you have them?
  13. What are your strategies for maintaining a consistent brand image across various marketing channels?
  14. How do you collaborate with other local businesses or events in your marketing efforts?
  15. How do you utilize email marketing or newsletters to stay connected with customers?
  16. What’s your approach to content marketing, such as blogs or videos, that showcase your restaurant?
  17. How do you keep up with the latest marketing trends and technologies in the restaurant industry?
  18. What budget considerations do you have for your marketing and advertising initiatives?
  19. How do you differentiate your restaurant from competitors in your advertising?
  20. How do you use your marketing to emphasize the unique aspects of your restaurant, such as specialty dishes or ambiance?
  21. How do you handle marketing during unexpected challenges like a global pandemic?
  22. What role does your website play in marketing?
  23. How do you optimize it for customer engagement?
  24. How do you engage with influencers or food critics to promote your restaurant?
  25. What partnerships or sponsorships have you leveraged in your marketing strategies?
  26. How do you ensure your marketing materials comply with legal and ethical standards?
  27. What’s your plan for customer retention and encouraging repeat visits through marketing?
  28. How do you align your marketing efforts with your restaurant’s overall goals and vision?
  29. What have been some of your most successful marketing campaigns, and why do you think they worked?
  30. How do you use data and analytics to drive decision-making in your marketing efforts?
  31. What plans or strategies do you have for future marketing and advertising growth?
  32. What channels or methods have you found most effective in reaching your local community?
  33. What role does storytelling or narrative play in your marketing content?
  34. How do you work with designers, photographers, or other creative professionals in your advertising efforts?
  35. What role does customer-generated content, such as reviews or photos, play in your marketing strategy?

Questions About Future Plans And Goals

  1. What are your short-term and long-term goals for the restaurant, and how are you working to achieve them?
  2. How do you plan to stay competitive and relevant in an ever-changing industry?
  3. Are you considering expanding the restaurant to new locations?
  4. What factors will guide those decisions?
  5. What new culinary trends or innovations will you explore in your future menus?
  6. How are you planning to further enhance the customer experience at your restaurant in the coming years?
  7. What investments in technology or infrastructure are you considering to streamline operations or improve service?
  8. What community engagement or social responsibility projects are you planning to undertake in the future?
  9. How do you plan to adapt to potential changes in regulations or industry standards that might affect your restaurant?
  10. How do you plan to respond to potential future challenges or crises, such as economic downturns or health emergencies?
  11. Are you planning any initiatives to improve employee well-being or satisfaction in the long term?
  12. How do you intend to measure and evaluate the success of your future goals and initiatives?
  13. What plans do you have for diversifying the business, such as offering catering services, cooking classes, or product lines?
  14. Are you exploring any international exposure or influence opportunities, such as pop-ups, collaborations, or franchising?
  15. What succession planning or long-term stability strategies are in place for the restaurant’s continued success?

Questions About Financial Planning

  1. How do you create and manage the budget for your restaurant?
  2. What factors do you consider most important?
  3. What strategies do you use to monitor and control costs, especially variable expenses like food and labor?
  4. What financial metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) do you regularly track and analyze?
  5. How do you manage cash flow to ensure funds are available for daily operations and long-term investments?
  6. Have you utilized any external financing or loans for your restaurant, 
  7. How did you navigate those decisions?
  8. How do you plan for unexpected expenses or financial emergencies, such as equipment breakdowns or sudden downturns in business?
  9. What investment strategies have you implemented to grow your restaurants, such as renovations, marketing, or new technology?
  10. How do you approach tax planning and compliance to ensure that you meet all legal obligations?
  11. What systems or software do you use to manage your restaurant’s financial records and reporting?
  12. How do you analyze and forecast sales trends to plan for staffing, inventory, and other operational needs?
  13. What measures have you implemented to prevent financial mismanagement within your restaurant?
  14. How do you determine the financial feasibility of new menu items, events, or other initiatives?
  15. How do you balance short-term profitability with long-term growth and sustainability in your financial planning?
  16. How do you approach negotiations with suppliers and vendors to achieve favorable pricing and payment terms?
  17. How do you manage debt or liabilities?
  18. What strategies do you use to reduce financial risk?
  19. What financial goals have you set for your restaurant?
  20. How do you align them with your overall business strategy?
  21. How do you work with financial professionals, such as accountants or financial advisors, to guide your financial planning?
  22. What financial challenges have you faced, and how have you adapted your business model to maintain stability?
  23. How do you ensure your financial practices align with ethical considerations and social responsibility?
  24. What strategies do you use to maximize profitability during peak seasons and mitigate losses during slow periods?
  25. How do you decide on employee compensation, benefits, and incentives to align with your financial goals?
  26. How do you manage the financial aspects of compliance with regulations and industry standards, such as licensing or health inspections?
  27. How do you evaluate the return on investment (ROI) for various marketing or promotional activities?
  28. How do you update yourself on financial best practices, trends, or changes that may impact your restaurant?
  29. How do you educate and involve your staff in financial decisions and practices to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility?
  30. How do you approach personal financial planning as a restaurant owner?
  31. How does it intersect with the financial management of the restaurant?

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I approach the restaurant owner?

Approaching a restaurant owner is usually quite simple. You can politely approach them and introduce yourself if you see them on the floor. If you don’t see them, you can ask a server or manager if the owner is available and let them know you have some questions. 

Most restaurant owners are happy to engage with customers and appreciate your interest. Remember to be respectful, especially during busy times, as they may need to arrange a more convenient time to talk.

What are some tips when asking these questions?

Asking questions to a restaurant owner can be a rewarding experience that enhances your dining. Here are some tips to help you feel comfortable and get the information you want:

  • Be polite: Approach with respect, especially during busy times.
  • Prepare questions: Know what you want to ask beforehand.
  • Ask open-ended questions: Encourage detailed answers.
  • Be specific: Clearly explain your needs or interests.
  • Show genuine interest: Engage sincerely in the conversation.
  • Respect privacy: Avoid overly intrusive or sensitive topics.
  • Choose the right timing: Approach when it’s not too busy.
  • Listen actively: Pay attention to their responses.
  • Express appreciation: Thank them for their time.
  • Follow up if needed: Leave a review or recommendation if you enjoyed the experience.


Exploring a restaurant isn’t just about tasting the food; it’s about understanding the heart and soul behind it. Whether you’re a food lover or an aspiring entrepreneur, the questions we’ve explored can offer a delightful glimpse into the culinary world. 

So next time you’re enjoying a meal, remember there’s a story behind every bite, and don’t be shy to ask. Happy dining!

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Robby Salveron

Robby is a multimedia editor at UpJourney with a journalism and communications background.

When she's not working, Robby transforms into an introverted art lover who indulges in her love for sports, learning new things, and sipping her favorite soda. She also enjoys unwinding with feel-good movies, books, and video games. She's also a proud pet parent to her beloved dog, Dustin.