Careers Finding a Job What to Wear to a Job Interview at a Restaurant Share PINTEREST Email Print Finding a Job Job Searching Job Interviews Skills & Keywords Resumes Salary & Benefits Letters & Emails Job Listings Cover Letters Career Advice Best Jobs Work-From-Home Jobs Internships By Alison Doyle Alison Doyle Alison Doyle is a job search expert and one of the industry's most highly-regarded job search and career experts. Alison brings extensive experience in corporate human resources, management, and career development, which she has adapted for her freelance work. She is also the founder of CareerToolBelt.com, which provides simple and straightforward advice for every step of your career. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 05/28/22 It can be tricky to know what to wear to an interview in a non-office setting. Since interviews at restaurants and coffee shops are a fairly common occurrence, it's important to be prepared with appropriate outfits. Two factors will help you decide what to wear: The type of role you're applying for The location of the interview If you're applying for a high-level management job, for example, you will want to dress up even if you're interviewing in a casual eatery. Wearing a suit to interview over coffee isn't too formal if you're applying for a vice president's role, but if you're applying to be an assistant, a tie or formal outfit may be overkill. No matter what type of job you're seeking, it's important to put in the effort to make a good first impression. In general, an interview at a restaurant does afford slightly more freedom for your dress code than if you are interviewing in an office. Get guidance on what to wear at different eateries, from coffee shops to upscale restaurants, along with advice for mealtime interviews. Coffee Shop PhotoAlto / Getty Images Most coffee shop meetings don’t require full-on business formal attire, but it’s important to take into account the whole picture. If you have an interview with a start-up company at a neighborhood coffee shop, for example, you can likely get away with a crisp top and dark-wash jeans. However, if you're interviewing for a management-level position and the interview's taking place at a fancy coffee shop in a high-rise corporate building, then you will want to elevate your look. Casual Lunch Allstair Berg / Getty Images When you’re invited to a lunch interview, research the restaurant online to see if you can find a dress code rating on sites like Yelp or OpenTable. If there’s no mention of a dress code and the place doesn’t seem especially fancy or exorbitantly expensive, you may be able to get away with a polished but easy-going business casual look. Think lighter colors, relaxed button-downs, and khakis or colored slacks for men and women, and boat shoes for men and flats for women. Take into account the season too. For example, an outdoor, patio-type eatery is not likely to be a setting that requires a head-to-toe business formal look. Mid-Scale Lunch Westend 61 / Getty Images For an interview at a mid-scale restaurant, try a relaxed business formal look. Men might consider wearing either an open blazer over a button-down with no tie or a button-down with a tie and no blazer. In the second case, you might opt for an accessory like a vest or a pullover sweater. For women, try either a knee-length pencil skirt with a simple button-down top or a simple, tailored dress with low heels or flats. This dress code also applies to happy hour meetings or a drink in a relaxed but upscale environment like a hotel lobby or a lounge. Upscale Lunch Thomas Barwick / Getty Images A classic, upscale business lunch or dinner at a five-star establishment requires full-on business formal attire. Business attire for men comprises a suit or dress slacks and a jacket, shirt, tie, dark socks, and dress shoes. For women, business attire includes a suit, dress slacks, a blouse, or a formal dress with hosiery and closed-toe shoes. What to Wear When the Job Is at the Restaurant Kathryn Ziegler / Getty Images If you're interviewing for a position as a server, barista, hostess, bartender, or cashier, stick to an all-black look: a black button-up, wrinkle-free, black slacks or a pencil skirt for women, and black dress shoes. If you're interviewing for a managerial or supervisory role, try a polished business casual look. Tips for Interviews at Coffee Shops and Restaurants Steve Debenport / Getty Images Often, hiring managers opt to hold interviews during meals or over a coffee because the setting is more casual and can lead to a more conversational vibe. It also offers an opportunity for interviewers to get a glimpse at your social skills. If you're applying for a role in which people skills are important—like that of a salesperson, for instance—this is important. Still, for interviewees, mealtime interviews can come with some stressors, from knowing what to order to eating at the same speed as your interviewer. Just as in any interview, though, if you are polite and engage in conversation, you'll be able to make a good impression. Get more tips for how to ace an interview that takes place in a restaurant instead of a conference room or office building here. Plus, check out our tips for an informal interview over coffee here.