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Interview Questions for Food & Beverage Management on Cruises

by Kristine Tucker

Food and beverage management services on cruise ships are important to the safety and happiness of passengers. Because most cruise activities revolve around food and entertainment, food and beverage service managers must ensure that inventory stocks are well-maintained and food and drink options are appealing to guests. Food and beverage managers oversee food operations in kitchens and dining areas to ensure guests are satisfied with their mealtime and snack time experiences.

Social Bugs

Cruise line food and beverage managers interact with the public many times throughout the day. They greet customers and welcome them to dining areas, arrange seating charts, escort guests to their seats, discuss menu items and daily specials and answer questions about food preparation, ingredients and flavors. Managers must have strong interpersonal skills to help travelers feel welcome and appreciated. The interviewer might ask "What are your strongest people skills?" "How comfortable are you interacting with the public on a daily basis?" or "How would you handle a customer complaint about a food item or dining experience?"

Plan, Plan, Plan

The hiring manager will likely ask about your knowledge and experience with food planning strategies. Cruise ships don't have the luxury of ordering more food or increasing their inventories once they are out at sea. Food and beverage managers must plan meals and order ingredients that will sufficiently feed all guests and staff without having leftovers that spoil. The interviewer might ask "What experience do you have planning meals for 2,000 guests?" or "How would you plan food and supplies so they last the duration of the trip?"

Computers Aren't for Nerds

Because food and beverage managers must keep track of inventory and stay within budget limits when purchasing ingredients and menu items, the hiring manager might ask about your experience with accounting software. For example, Carnival Cruises requires food and beverage managers to have computer skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office software. The interviewer might ask "What types of computer software programs have you used to maintain inventory and keep track of costs and expenses?" or "How experienced are you with computer software applications, such as Microsoft Office and Excel, as they relate to inventory management?"

Captain of the Kitchen

Expect questions about your ability to lead, supervise and organize meal staff. The interviewer might ask "How many employees are you used to overseeing?" "What leadership skills do you incorporate into your management of kitchen and service staff?" or "How would you handle a dishonest or lazy employee who you couldn't send home because the ship was at sea?" Food and beverage managers must be effective supervisors because there's not much room for mistakes on a cruise ship.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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