What To Wear To A Job Interview At A Restaurant (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Oct. 30, 2020

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Despite what many people may think, not all interviews are held in a stuffy old office. Some interviewers prefer to interview outside of the usual venue. This allows them to get their candidates in a more casual setting, such as in a restaurant or a coffee shop.

However, do not let that fool you.

Simply because you are in an informal setting— it does not make this meeting any less compromising.
It is essential that you pay attention to every single detail. Try to watch what you say and do. You would not want to reveal too much about your personal life. Remember, this is still an interview.
Another thing you need to take into account during your interview is what you wear. Keep in mind that what you wear for an interview can determine whether or not you get the job. The way you present yourself says a lot about you and the person you are.

Do your research.

Once the interview has been confirmed, try to dress accordingly, the location and venue. Another thing you need to remember before meeting a hiring manager is which job you will be applying to. Knowing which position you are interviewing for will help you determine what would be the right thing to wear. If, for example, you are applying to a high-level position, the last thing you will want to do is to dress in jeans and a t-shirt.

To learn more, continue reading. Here you will learn what outfit would work best in which scenario and how to behave during your interview.

What Is The Best Outfit To Wear To A Job Interview At A Restaurant?

In order to determine the best outfit to wear to an interview at a restaurant, you need to do two things:

  1. Research the company’s dress code

  2. Know what kind of restaurant it is

Based on this information, you can determine whether it’s best to wear something casual or formal for the interview.

We know that deciding what to wear for an interview can be a little nerve-wracking. Choosing the right outfit can be a make or break move for you.
Now, you have the added pressure of choosing the appropriate outfit that works well with the interview location.

As mentioned above, an interview at a restaurant is no different from an interview at an office setting. It is of the utmost importance that you arrive at the location well prepared. Go online and verify what the overall atmosphere of the place is. Is it formal or casual? Knowing this can help you make a better decision about what to wear.

Keep in mind that many companies have their own dress code that they will want you to follow. If, for any reason, you feel unsure or nervous about what to wear, reach out to the person that invited you to interview and simply ask them. You will have a higher chance of setting your mind at ease if you hear it from them.

Before you begin, you need to understand that there are many different venues you can be asked to meet, and appropriately dressing for these locations is very important.

The High-End Restaurant

Many hiring managers will invite their strongest candidates to interview at a high-end restaurant. These restaurants usually expect their guests to wear formal business attire.
Business attire is clothing that is geared towards a more conservative nature. While in business attire, you are expected to wear clothing that is a little more modest.

When wearing Business Attire, both men and women are encouraged to wear a suit. Women can also choose to wear either a skirt or pantsuit or a business dress with a blazer— however since they are meeting at a restaurant they may also choose to simply wear a suitable dress without the blazer.

When it comes to shoes, consider wearing closed-toed shoes as your outfit should be in a neutral color. Neutral colors are considered to be non-threatening and modest.

Casual Venue

If the interview is set up to be held at a casual location, you can consider wearing Business Casual. Think about wearing something a little more casual like a button-down top and some dress slacks.

Similar to the upscale restaurant, you will need to try and plan ahead. Search online or call the restaurant and verify if they have a particular dress code.

Meeting At A Coffee Shop

Believe it, or not many impromptu interviews take place in coffee houses. However, do not keep your guard down. Even if this is considered a more casual establishment, you must maintain your professionalism.
In this case, dress according to the position you have been seeking. If you have applied for a high-level position, then perhaps wearing a suit would be more appropriate for the occasion.

Which Would Be The Best Outfit For The Occasion?

There are many different options you can choose to wear for your interview. Remember always to keep the atmosphere of the establishment. Whatever you decide to wear, remember that it is clean, freshly pressed, and professional looking.

  • If you are meeting in a high-end restaurant, you can wear a black suit and a crisp white shirt. Combine this with some small statement pieces such as a neck-tie or metallic jewelry. Women can also wear a lovely business dress in a neutral color.

  • You can consider wearing brighter pastel colors for a more casual look, for example, a light blue shirt and some light grey slacks or dress pants. If you decide to wear a skirt, it is recommended that you wear a knee-length, possibly a well-fitting pencil skirt.

What You Should Not Wear To An Interview

When getting ready for an interview at a restaurant, feeling comfortable is also very important. Keep in mind that you will be sitting there for a significant amount of time. You want to find an outfit that you will not fill the need to be constantly shifting in your seat. Avoid choosing to wear something too tight or form-fitting. Here is a list of articles of clothing you should avoid wearing during an interview:

  • Wearing denim

  • Shorts

  • Low-cut dress

  • Revealing top

  • Cropped tops

  • Athleisure

  • Short skirts

  • Sandals or sneakers

  • Tight or form-fitting clothing

  • Bold Jewelry

  • Sheer Fabric

  • Joggers

  • Sweatshirt or Hoodies

Always Be Prepared

At this point in the application process, it is critical always to be prepared. When meeting someone for an interview, remember to bring all the necessary paperwork, such as your resume and portfolio, should you have one.
It is essential that you keep the conversation flowing during your meeting. The last thing you would want is for the conversation to lag. Prepare talking points you might need during your appointment. If you have any questions about the company or responsibilities the job would entail, this would be the perfect time to do it.

How To Behave And Mind Your Manners?

Treat this meeting as if you were having it in an office setting. Arrive as early as possible. You do not want to keep the interviewer waiting for you to arrive. This will also give you time to mentally prepare for your meeting and set your mind at ease.
Before the meeting, remember to turn your phone off or set it on silent. You do not want to be distracted during the meeting or be continuously interrupted. This is something that might not sit well with the person who is interviewing you and can reflect poorly on you.
Remember to mind your table manners. Never let the fact that you are in an interview slip your mind. Everything you say and do is all being taken into account. Keep in mind that the hiring manager or recruiter is watching your every move.
Do not get carried away when ordering from the menu — do not choose anything too expensive. Even though the company will be expensing the meal, you do not want to come across as if you are taking advantage of the situation.
Avoid talking with your mouth full or scarfing down your food. Do not order anything that can cause an unwanted mess. Pass on any foods you can eat with your hands, like ribs or burgers.
Alcohol can be tricky. If your interviewer invites you to a drink, you are more than welcome to join them. Try not to drink more than one or two glasses. Alcohol can lower your inhibitions, and during an interview is the last place you would want this to happen. Do not be afraid to turn down a drink if you do not drink alcohol or do not want one.

Remember To Thank The Interviewer For Their Time And The Lovely Meal

Let them know how much you enjoyed your meal and thank them for taking the time to meet with you. After the interview, take the time to send them an email thanking them for their time and consideration.
This can very well be the difference between getting called back for a second interview or even the job. Not thanking someone for their time can make you come across as ungrateful and cold.

Final Thoughts

Whether your interview is being held in a traditional office setting or at a restaurant, you need to remember to be prepared. Bringing extra copies of your resume and your portfolio can come in handy during your meeting.
Remember, first impressions are crucial. Wearing the appropriate attire for an interview can determine whether or not you get the job. The right outfit can make you feel confident, which is essential when trying to make a great impression.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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Topics: Attire, Interview