27 Potbelly Interview Questions (And Toasty Answers)

Potbelly Interview Questions

You’ve finally landed an interview with Potbelly, but now the nerves are starting to set in. How can you make sure you absolutely nail it and get that job offer? Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.

In the coming few minutes while reading this blog post, your anxiety and nervousness will start to fade away as a sense of confidence builds up inside you. You will gain invaluable insights into the minds of the Potbelly interviewers and know exactly what they are looking for in a candidate. You will be armed with thoughtful example responses to some of the most commonly asked interview questions that will make you shine as a top candidate.

This blog post is designed to be your secret weapon to acing the Potbelly interview. The time and effort you invest in reading and preparation will pay off hugely when your hiring manager is thoroughly impressed with your polished and professional responses. You will walk out of that interview feeling triumphant, knowing you gave it your all, and proud of the work you put in to achieve your goal.

So take a deep breath, settle in, and let’s start preparing you for your big day. Success is on the horizon, and with the guidance provided in this blog post, that Potbelly job will soon be yours. You’ve got this!

Now let’s get to work.

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Potbelly Company Information

To confidently handle any research-based questions in your Potbelly interview, familiarize yourself with some key facts about the company. Doing so will enable you to demonstrate your passion for the role, impress the interviewer, and set yourself up for success.

Trade Name Potbelly
Type Fast Casual Restaurant Chain
Date Founded Jan 14, 1977
Founder Bryant Keil
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States
Menu Sandwiches, Salads, Mac & Soups, Chips, Sides, Cookies, Shakes, Drinks
Signature Items Steakhouse Beef, Chicken Club, A Wreck
Core Values Improving Communities, Respecting Earth’s Resources, Working Together
Website www.potbelly.com
Competitors Firehouse Subs, Jimmy John’s, Subway, Jersey Mike’s, Capriotti’s

Additional facts:

  • Humble Beginnings: Potbelly started as an antique store in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood in 1971, before its focus shifted to selling toasted sandwiches. Peter Hastings, the founder, chose the name ‘Potbelly’ inspired by an old potbelly stove.
  • Unique Ambience: Maintaining its vintage appeal, Potbelly has an antique stove in every location, showcasing its roots and providing a unique, cozy atmosphere.
  • Signature Toasting Technique: Potbelly’s signature toasting technique, which induces the Maillard reaction to bring out the flavors of the ingredients, has been a cornerstone of their success.
  • Underground Menu: A secret ‘Underground Menu’ adds an element of intrigue and adventure for the customers. It features a variety of inventive, unique options such as the ‘Lucky 7’ sandwich and ‘Cookie Collision Shake’.
  • Musical Heritage: Local musicians performing in each Potbelly store keep the tradition of live music alive, contributing to a warm, community-focused atmosphere.
  • Individuality: No two Potbelly locations are the same. Each one is uniquely decorated with local art and artifacts, creating a distinct neighborhood feel.
  • Attention to Detail: From the flower-shaped shortbread cookie on each milkshake straw to the selection of Zapp’s potato chips, Potbelly’s attention to detail helps to create an engaging and memorable customer experience.
  • Secret Messages: Hidden messages such as ‘P’ for pigs and ‘H’ for hogs are found in each store, serving as a reminder to employees of the company’s commitment to generous serving sizes and fresh ingredients.

Potbelly Mission Statement

Making people really happy with craveable food, from our toasty sandwiches, soups, salads, fresh-baked cookies and hand-scooped milkshakes.

Potbelly Interview Questions

Why do you want to work for Potbelly?

This is a key question the interviewer will likely ask to determine your motivation and enthusiasm for the role and company. As you prepare for your interview, make sure you have a well-thought-out answer that conveys your passion for the brand.

This is your chance to prove you’re meant to be part of the Potbelly crew. As hiring managers, they’re searching for candidates truly passionate about Potbelly’s mission to serve up delicious food, good vibes, and big smiles.

So take a sec and think – what is it about Potbelly that flips your flapjacks? Their quirky, feel-good environment? The freaky-fast line out the door from open to close? The smell of hot sandwiches and hand-dipped shakes that makes your mouth water from a mile away? If that’s you, you’ve got this question in the bag.

Picture this – the interviewer leans in and asks, “Why Potbelly?” You flash a huge grin and say:

“The energy of a Potbelly shop is contagious. From the second I walk through the door, I feel at home. I love being part of a team focused on creating over-the-top customer experiences and am always brainstorming new ways to spread extra good vibes. I have a thirst for making meaningful connections with customers and coworkers, and Potbelly’s culture of community, high-quality food, and ‘good vibes only’ is inspiring to me. I would love the opportunity to start my career with such an iconic brand.”


What are your expectations coming into Potbelly?

We understand this question can seem tricky, but don’t worry – with some insight into what the interviewer is looking for and an example answer, you’ll feel ready to knock this one out of the park.

The interviewer wants to gauge your level of enthusiasm for the role and ensure your expectations are realistic. This means focusing on growth, learning, and teamwork – not just pay or benefits.

Show them you’ve done your research by discussing growth opportunities, company culture, and career path. Mention you’re excited to grow with such an established brand. Focus on learning, development, and teamwork over compensation or benefits at this stage.

With the right prep, here’s how you could crush this question:

“My expectations are to immerse myself in Potbelly’s culture of quality service and continuous improvement! I’ve been a fan of your sandwiches and company values for years. I hope to start by mastering how to create amazing customer experiences, then work my way into leadership, where I can inspire other employees to do the same. Most of all, I expect this will be an opportunity for personal and professional growth in a place that really cares about its employees and community. I couldn’t be more excited to learn and develop with the Potbelly team!”


Everyone stubs their toe from time to time. Can you tell me about one thing you failed in?

Now it’s time to prepare for their infamous “failure question.” Don’t panic. We’re here to tell you exactly how to nail it.

This question from the Potbelly interviewer is designed to see how you handle mistakes and learn from your failures. We suggest openly admitting to a past failure, taking responsibility for your actions, and highlighting what you learned. The interviewer wants to see that you can grow from your mistakes rather than make excuses for them.

As you go into your Potbelly interview, prepare an example of a time you failed at something. Be honest, but also highlight the positives.

Say something like:

“Certainly. A coupe of months ago, I was working in a busy deli. One Saturday, we were overwhelmed with orders, and I was responsible for prepping the vegetables for the sandwiches. In my haste, I didn’t properly store the prepped ingredients in the cooler. I thought I could save time by keeping them at my station. By the end of the day, the excess ingredients were at unsafe temperatures and had to be discarded.

That failure taught me the importance of adhering to food safety guidelines, no matter how busy the store gets. Since then, I’ve always made it a point to handle food properly, even during the busiest shifts. I believe that’s a crucial aspect of maintaining customer trust and satisfaction. This experience, although a failure at first, made me a better sandwich maker and a more responsible employee.”

An example like this, with the right level of sincerity and reflection, will assure the interviewer that you can learn from your failures and have the maturity to thrive in a role at Potbelly.


When the lines are out the door and customers are hungry for more, how will you handle the situation?

Picture this: the lunch rush hits and the shop is packed. You’ve got a line of hangry customers eyeing the menu boards. What do you do? Take a deep breath – you’ve got this!

The Potbelly interviewer is trying to gauge your ability to remain calm under pressure and provide great customer service. As a candidate, be sure to convey your ability to think on your feet, work efficiently, and maintain a positive attitude.

“No problem, to handle this busy scenario, I would stay focused on keeping the line moving as quickly as possible while also providing friendly service. I’d greet each customer with a smile, take their order accurately, and work with my team to fill orders promptly. If the rush got overwhelming, I’d remain patient and seek help from a manager if needed. My top priority would be making sure no customer walks away unhappy due to a long wait or incorrect order. I thrive in fast-paced work environments, so I’d do whatever it takes to satisfy both the volume of customers and their experience during that rush.”


Are you comfortable performing all the good stuff described in the job posting?

Potbelly isn’t looking to hire any prima donnas. They want team players – people willing to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to keep their customers happy and operations running smoothly.

Some of that may be cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors or dealing with the occasional difficult customer. But don’t sweat it! As long as you’ve got the right mindset, you’ll do great.

To answer this question confidently, you’ll want to provide a thoughtful response that addresses any concerns the interviewer may have regarding your ability to perform well in all areas of the role.

“Yes, I am very comfortable performing all of the job duties outlined in the posting. I understand that working at Potbelly requires a team mentality where no task is too small or unimportant. Whether it’s maintaining high cleaning and sanitation standards, providing friendly service to all customers, or handling challenges as they arise, I am eager to do whatever it takes to contribute to the success of the team and this location. If you need someone with a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude? Well, you’ve found them. I’m your gal/guy!”


What kind of music do you enjoy the most?

When the hiring manager asks about your favorite music, this isn’t just idle chitchat. They want to get a feel for your personality and see if you’ll vibe with Potbelly’s upbeat culture. As hiring experts, we know that candidates who personalize their answer make the best impressions.

Take a breath and be your authentic self. Share what gets you genuinely pumped on your daily commute or workout playlist.

For example, you might say:

“I’m all about the positive beats – artists like Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons and Walk the Moon are constantly on rotation for me. Their fun, inspiring sounds energize me on the way to work or the gym and puts a smile on my face. More than any one genre, I love music with an optimistic message that makes me feel good and keeps me going.

An answer like this shows your enthusiastic and feel-good outlook, which is exactly what Potbelly is all about. It gives the interviewer insight into your character and values, not just surface interests.


Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond to make a customer’s day?

Potbelly Customer Service

When the interviewer asks you to share a time you went above and beyond for a customer, this is your chance to shine. They want to see that you genuinely care and will move mountains to make someone’s day. Stories of real connections and heroic saves are what they crave.

Take a deep breath and think of a time you made a customer’s jaw drop with your over-the-top service. Now, get ready to dazzle the interviewer with the details!

“Absolutely. I used to work at a small café where we had a regular customer named Mrs. Johnson, an elderly lady who lived alone. She would always order the same thing: a turkey sandwich with a cup of black coffee. One day, she mentioned how much she loved our tomato soup but hadn’t been able to try it because it was only served on Tuesdays, a day she couldn’t come due to her physical therapy appointments.

One Wednesday, knowing she’d be in, I asked my manager if we could prepare a serving of tomato soup specially for her. He agreed, so when Mrs. Johnson walked in and ordered her usual turkey sandwich, I surprised her with a bowl of tomato soup on the house. The joy and appreciation she showed made it all worth it. She was genuinely touched by our gesture.

To me, going above and beyond isn’t always about grand gestures; it’s about recognizing the needs and desires of the customers and making them feel valued. I carried this lesson with me and continue to apply it in my role as a sandwich maker, always paying attention to the little details that can make someone’s day.”


Do you thrive in high-energy settings where the pace is fast and furious?

The interviewer is trying to determine if you can thrive in Potbelly’s energetic shop environment. To ace this question in your interview, follow these tips.

Show them you’re not just able to multi-task under pressure but that you thrive on it. Give examples of times you remained focused while juggling high volumes of work. Speak passionately about enjoying quick interactions with customers. Convince the interviewer you’re energized, not overwhelmed, by a bustling atmosphere.

You were born to work at Potbelly, now make them believe it too!

“Absolutely, I live for the thrill of a bustling work environment! My last job as a server prepared me well for the controlled chaos of rush periods. Juggling over 10 tables at once didn’t overwhelm me, it actually gave me a boost of adrenaline that I loved. Potbelly seems like an exciting place to be, especially during peak hours, and I can’t wait to dive right in and interact with hordes of hungry customers. For me, a fast-paced job is engaging, not draining, so bring on the fury!”


At Potbelly, we’re all in this together. How do you feel about pitching in alongside your crew members to get the work done?

This question allows the interviewer to gauge how well you would fit into Potbelly’s collaborative culture. When asked how you feel about working alongside crew members, convey your enthusiasm for teamwork.

Teamwork is what makes or breaks a place like Potbelly. If someone’s in the weeds or a customer needs help, you have to jump in without being asked. The interviewer wants to know that you’re that type of person – someone who sees what needs doing and does it, no questions asked.

Say something like:

“I love being part of a team where everyone works together to get the job done. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than helping a colleague in need or making a customer’s experience even better. If I saw an opportunity to assist someone or improve a situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to dive right in. We all share the same goal of giving people a great experience, so teamwork just makes sense. I want to be working with a crew that feels like family, where we support each other every step of the way.”


What would you do if you saw someone steal money from the register?

This is one curveball question the interviewer might throw at you. Yikes, we know that sounds scary, but don’t sweat it. With our tips, you’ll be ready with a killer answer.

Potbelly is looking for candidates with integrity, a cool head under pressure, and mad problem-solving skills. This question is a chance for you to prove you’ve got all that and more.

Let’s imagine you spot someone swiping cash from the register. Here’s what you say:

“If I witnessed someone stealing money from the register, I would calmly and discreetly alert the manager on duty right away. While waiting for them to handle the situation, I would monitor the customer to ensure the safety of any remaining money in the register or in the store. After alerting the proper authorities, I would remain present in case any further statements or information were needed for an investigation. Ultimately, it’s most important to handle such a sensitive situation with professionalism and care.”


How do you feel about collaborating with co-workers from all walks of life here at Potbelly?

This question about collaborating with diverse co-workers is a golden opportunity to stand out as a stellar candidate. Potbelly is all about bringing together people from every walk of life over amazing sandwiches and a great work environment.

When the interviewer asks you this, they want to know if you’ll be a team player. Drop any prejudices at the door and be ready to connect with anyone and everyone. Show them that you’re able to see beyond surface differences to find common ground and shared goals.

As for how to answer, check this out :

“Diversity is what fuels creativity and growth! I would love nothing more than to collaborate with people from all different backgrounds here at Potbelly.

In my previous jobs, I’ve had the opportunity to work with diverse teams, and I’ve seen firsthand how this can lead to creative problem-solving and a more dynamic environment. For instance, during a particularly busy holiday season at my previous job, our diverse team was able to come up with a unique system for handling orders that drew from everyone’s different experiences and perspectives. This system improved our efficiency tremendously and was something we might not have thought of in a less diverse team.”


Share an example of a time you faced a difficult problem at work. How did you overcome it?

This question allows the interviewer to evaluate your problem-solving skills and see how you handle challenges.

As hiring managers, we recommend going into this question with a specific example in mind of a difficult situation you navigated successfully. Think of a time you resolved a complex issue or turned around a problematic situation. Focus on a challenge that showcases your ability to stay calm under pressure, think critically about solutions, and achieve a positive outcome.

“One busy afternoon when I was working as a cashier at a local sandwich shop, the point-of-sale system went down for over an hour. I had a long line of customers and no way to process payments. I stayed composed and politely explained the situation to customers, then came up with the idea to temporarily switch to manually calculating totals and recording all transactions on paper to keep the line moving. Once the system was back online, I processed all the paper transactions to ensure every customer received the correct change and receipt. My quick thinking and solution prevented delays, ensured a good experience for customers, and helped the business continue operating despite the technical challenge.”


Mistakes happen. Tell me about a time you made an error at work and how did you make it right?

Mistakes happen to the best of us, and Potbelly wants to see how you own up to errors. When the interviewer asks about a time you messed up at work, don’t panic. We’re here to give you the inside scoop on acing your answer.

Whatever you do, don’t downplay your mistake. Potbelly values honesty and humility, so come clean about a slip-up from your customer service days. The key is showing how you made things right and grew from the experience. Admitting fault and fixing mistakes – that’s the stuff of a rockstar employee.

For example, you could say:

“One busy lunch rush, I accidentally double-charged a customer for their Italian sub combo. As soon as I noticed, you better believe I felt terrible! I apologized to the customer, gave them a refund and a coupon for a free cookie. Then I asked my manager for a quick refresher on the payment system to make sure it never happened again. Sure it was embarrassing, but taking the heat, making amends, and using it as an opportunity to improve – that’s the kind of accountability Potbelly respects.”

See, mistakes don’t have to be deal-breakers! When you frame it as a chance to show integrity, your error becomes an opportunity to shine.


If offered a position, do you see yourself building a long and successful career at Potbelly?

As candidates, questions about your long term goals with the company always seem tricky to answer. However, for the Potbelly interviewer, this question is crucial. They want to hire team members who will thrive in their culture and stick around for the long haul.

So when the interviewer asks if you see yourself building a career there, speak from the heart, and show them why you’re the perfect fit. We recommend being enthusiastic yet realistic.

“Without a doubt. Potbelly seems like the kind of company I could grow with for years to come. I’m eager to start as an associate, learn the ropes, and work my way up as I prove myself. The values here really resonate with me, and I love the idea of building meaningful relationships with customers and coworkers over the long run. While I can’t predict the future, my goal is to develop into a leader here. If given the opportunity, I’m confident Potbelly is the right place for me to build a successful, lifelong career.”


How comfortable are you with engaging warmly and authentically with new people?

As the face of their brand, Potbelly values employees who can start genuine conversations and build quick rapport. When the Potbelly interviewer asks this question, they’re really just trying to figure out if you’d make an awesome new member of the Potbelly family. And of course you would – you love connecting with people from all walks of life!

So flash that winning smile of yours. When that question comes up, launch into how much you thrive on starting genuine conversations with customers and co-workers alike. Share how your natural warmth and curiosity about others allows you to find common ground and make real bonds in no time at all.

For instance, you might say something like:

For example, you might say:

“I thrive on engaging with new people and making personal connections. When I meet someone for the first time, I make eye contact, flash a friendly smile, and introduce myself with a firm handshake. I ask open-ended questions to get the conversation flowing, then listen closely to find shared interests or experiences we can bond over. Whether it’s chatting over the counter with a customer about their favorite sandwich or getting to know a new co-worker over coffee, connecting with people in an authentic way just comes naturally to me. I think my ability to make total strangers feel at ease right off the bat would make me a perfect addition to the Potbelly crew!


What is your greatest achievement that makes you most proud?

We know the “greatest achievement” question can make even the most confident candidate nervous. But don’t sweat it. We’re here to give you the inside scoop so you can wow them with your answer.

The interviewer wants to see what motivates you, and what makes you proud of the work you do. Think of an achievement that sparked a genuine sense of accomplishment. Pick something that proves your dedication to customer satisfaction. When you find the perfect example, practice your answer. Speak passionately about the impact you made.

With the right story, this question is in the bag.

“My greatest professional achievement was streamlining the sandwich line efficiency at my previous job. The old system was disorganized, and many customers complained about long wait times. I conducted time trials and realized we could shave several minutes off the process with some simple changes. I proposed a new system to management, and once implemented, our speed and accuracy metrics improved dramatically. Customers frequently complimented how fast and friendly our service became. Improving the customer experience in such a tangible way was extremely rewarding for me. I’m really proud of the time and effort I put into optimizing that system.”


Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with your supervisor. How did you navigate the situation?

As you prepare for your Potbelly interview, you want to be ready to discuss a time you faced conflict with a supervisor and how you handled it. The interviewer will ask this question to assess your problem-solving skills, conflict-resolution ability, and professionalism under pressure.

Conflict happens, but how you handle it says everything about the kind of employee you’ll be. So choose an example that shows you can communicate openly, address issues constructively, and resolve tensions. Keep your answer brief, professional, and end on a high note. Focus on what you learned and how it made you better at your job.

When the question comes up, take a confident breath and say something like:

“In a previous job, my supervisor suggested preparing large batches of ingredients ahead of time. I was concerned this could affect freshness. Rather than staying silent, I respectfully expressed my concerns and proposed a compromise: preparing smaller batches more frequently. He was open to trying my suggestion, and it resulted in a balance between efficiency and quality. This experience taught me the value of communication and problem-solving in resolving conflicts.”


What does delivering great customer service mean to you?

Potbellu Great Customer Service

When the interviewer asks you about customer service, this is your chance to wow them with your passion for creating amazing experiences. As a candidate for Potbelly, your answer could be your golden ticket! We recommend focusing on how you go all out for your customers.

Forget the standard answer. Tell them how it really is:

“For me, customer service means rolling out the red carpet for every single person who walks through the door. It’s all about giving our guests a Potbelly welcome they’ll never forget. I’m talking about remembering names, favorite sandwiches, and personally greeting regulars. But it’s also noticing that first-timer hanging back, taking a minute to chat, and discovering what brings them joy. Before they know it, they’re part of the family! The food and atmosphere bring people in, but feeling like a VIP is what brings them back. If chosen to join the Potbelly team, my mission would be crafting those moments of real connection and wowing our guests with surprise and delight. After all, a little bit of heart and soul is what sets the greats apart, right?”


Can you share an example of when you disagreed with a coworker and how did you work it out?

As you prep for your interview, you want to anticipate questions that will show off your ability to play nice with others. The interviewer will likely ask you something like this to make sure you can have difficult conversations in a professional manner and come to a resolution.

We know, conflict at work is the worst. But don’t stress, we’ve got your back! When they ask this, the interviewer really wants to know two things: can you act professionally when you have differing opinions, and can you find a compromise? Show them that you can, and the job is as good as yours.

Here’s an example answer that would totally wow them:

“There was this one time my coworker and I just couldn’t see eye to eye on how to arrange the stock room. I thought grouping everything by category would make items easier to find. But my coworker was convinced keeping similar stuff together was the way to go. We were each pretty determined…but also knew we had to work together every day, so our discussion stayed respectful.

We sat down, heard each other out, and found a solution we both loved. We organized dry goods by type but kept perishables together based on expiration. It ended up making everyone’s lives easier! Going forward, my coworker and I worked great together. Compromise and open communication were key.”


Share an experience in which you handled an angry or impatient customer professionally. What did you do to de-escalate the tension?

Dealing with angry customers comes with the territory in the food industry. When the Potbelly interviewer asks you about handling an impatient customer, they want to see how you transform a tense situation into a positive experience.

When answering this question in your interview, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Focus on listening to the customer and acknowledging their frustration. Say something like, “I understand why you feel that way.” This validates their feelings without admitting fault. Stay calm and composed. Do not get defensive or argue with the customer.
  • After hearing them out, apologize sincerely and take responsibility. Say, “I apologize for your experience. What can I do to make this right?” Offer a solution like a refund, discount or replacement to resolve the issue.

Here’s an example:

“One day, a customer stormed in saying her cheesesteak was totally wrong. I said, ‘Oh no, I apologize. We didn’t deliver the delicious cheesesteak experience we’re known for. Your satisfaction means everything, so please allow me to replace it.’ The customer agreed, so I rushed to get a perfect cheesesteak made. When she took a bite, her eyes lit up. I said, ‘I hope this makes up for it—we’re really grateful for another chance.’ She smiled and said, ‘You handled that so well, I’ll definitely be back!'”

See? A little customer service magic can turn the angriest customer into your biggest fan. You’ve got the skills to handle any situation professionally, so walk into that Potbelly interview with your head high.


What are your short-term and long-term goals? How will working with Potbelly help you achieve them?

This is a chance for the interviewer to get to know you better and see how motivated and driven you are. We recommend being enthusiastic and highlighting how the role aligns perfectly with your career objectives.

When they ask, don’t just rattle off a generic answer. Really sell your excitement for the brand!

You might say something like:

“My short term goal is to bring my passion for customer service to a company where I can continue developing my skills – and Potbelly seems like the perfect place. Long term, I’d love the chance to advance into a manager role and maybe even run my own shop someday. I’ve heard Potbelly loves promoting from within, and the mentoring opportunities here would be invaluable for achieving my goals.”


What do you know about Potbelly’s values and culture?

Potbelly Gives Back

This question allows the interviewer to assess how well you’ve researched the company and whether your values align with Potbelly’s mission and priorities.

So do your homework. Check out Potbelly’s website and read between the lines to identify their core values and commitment to high quality and customer service.  Also, check out reviews from current and former employees on Indeed and Glassdoor to get a feel for Potbelly’s culture and what it’s really like to work there.

We’ve found Potbelly values a friendly, team-oriented environment where employees genuinely care about each other and provide amazing experiences for customers. Managers pitch in on busy shifts, employees know all the regulars by name.

In your answer, paint a picture of the Potbelly experience. For example:

“Potbelly is known for its commitment to serving high-quality food in a warm, neighborhood-style atmosphere. It values genuine interactions with customers, often emphasized by the presence of local musicians performing in the stores. The company also believes in creating a sense of community by being actively involved in local events and charities.

In terms of culture, Potbelly fosters an environment of respect and teamwork. It promotes diversity and inclusion, acknowledging that different perspectives lead to creative solutions and a vibrant workplace. I also understand that Potbelly values its employees’ growth, providing ample opportunities for learning, development, and advancement.

In essence, Potbelly is about more than just making great sandwiches; it’s about creating a memorable, welcoming experience for every customer while treating its employees as integral parts of the larger Potbelly family. This aligns with my own values, and it’s one of the main reasons why I’m so enthusiastic about the possibility of working here.”


What would be your approach to delegating responsibilities to team members?

You want to make a great impression in your Potbelly interview, and being able to articulate how you would effectively delegate responsibilities to team members is key. The interviewer wants to see that you can identify team members’ strengths, distribute work accordingly, and empower your team to thrive.

We’re here to help you craft an answer that’ll blow them away. The key is showing you care—about your team members, their development, their motivations and work styles.

Tell the interviewer you’d take the time to get to know everyone individually. Find out what makes them excited to come to work each day and what their career dreams are. Then give them responsibilities that tap into that. Make it clear you’re all about open communication, constructive feedback, and collaboration. Let them know you trust and support your team.

Here’s how you could put that into action:

“My goal would be building an environment where my team feels motivated and set up for success. I’d meet with each person to understand their unique skills, strengths, and goals. If someone wanted to improve in a certain area, I’d give them projects to help make that happen. For any new task, I’d lay out clear expectations and then provide encouragement and help as needed. Regular check-ins would ensure we’re on the same page and that my team feels empowered and challenged. I want to create a culture where people feel engaged and able to thrive.”


What hours are you available to work? Do you have any availability restrictions we should be aware of?

When the interviewer asks about your availability, they just want to make sure you’re ready to fully commit to the Potbelly team. As one of the top fast-casual spots around, their restaurants are hustling and bustling from open to close.

So, how will you convey that you’re up for the challenge? Be flexible but honest, enthusiastic yet realistic.

Here’s an example of how you could convey your availability during the interview:

“You need dedicated employees to keep this place running, and that’s exactly what I aim to be. I’m free as a bird most days, ready to work whenever you need me. That said, I do attend classes two evenings a week, so on those days I would need to leave by 5 pm. But otherwise, you name the hours, weekends, or holidays – I’ll be there with a smile on my face and the customer in mind.”


What aspects of working in customer service do you like and dislike?

Through this question, the interviewer will evaluate your passion for customer service and ensure you’re a good culture fit.

We’ve talked to countless Potbelly hiring managers, and according to them, candidates who focus on connecting with customers and brightening their day always stand out. Tell the interviewer you live to make personal connections, spread good vibes, and collaborate with coworkers to solve issues. Of course, also mention you know how to stay professional when handling unhappy customers.

As for what you “dislike”, keep things positive. For example, say: “The only aspect I dislike is when I’m unable to turn a customer’s experience around completely. But I always learn from those interactions and work with my team to improve.”

“What I love most about customer service is putting a smile on someone’s face and making their visit special. Greeting customers, starting friendly conversations, and creating a welcoming atmosphere is incredibly rewarding. Even on tough days, the chance to positively impact people keeps me going. While dealing with unhappy customers isn’t always fun, I stay calm and courteous, showing empathy for the customer’s concerns. My goal is to ensure they leave satisfied and become regulars. The rewards of this work far outweigh any challenges.”


Give an example of a successful team experience you have had. What was your role and what did you contribute to the team?

When the hiring manager asks you to describe a successful team experience, they want to get a sense of your ability to collaborate with others and contribute to team success.

As a candidate for a role at Potbelly, demonstrating your teamwork skills is essential. We know from experience that Potbelly values candidates who can thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.

To prepare for this question, think of an example team experience where you played an integral role in achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle. Focus on how your specific actions and contributions led to the success of the team.

Think of a team win you helped make happen. Come on, you know you’ve got at least one! Dig deep and find an example where you played a key role in achieving a goal or powering through an obstacle together. Once you’ve got your example, focus on how your specific actions led to your team’s success. Numbers, details, results—bring the vivid vision to life for your interviewer!

“One of my proudest team moments was organizing a charity fundraiser where I took charge of marketing. I promoted that event like my life depended on it—social media blasts, flyers all over town, email campaigns, the whole nine yards. Thanks to our team’s hard work and my marketing mojo, we ended up raising 25% more than our ambitious goal! The buzz I helped generate spread like wildfire and really put that event on the map. I may have only been the marketing lead, but that experience showed me the massive impact we can have when we work together towards something greater than ourselves.”


Do you see yourself as a leader? Tell me about a time you took on a leadership role.

The interviewer wants to know if you have the potential to take on more responsibility over time. Do you see yourself as someone who can motivate and inspire others? Can you think strategically and come up with innovative solutions?

When this question comes up, you’ll want to prove you’ve got what it takes. A great way is by sharing an example of a time you stepped up into a leadership role. Mention a specific time you took the initiative, discuss the actions and impact, and tie it back to the role you’re interviewing for.

To illustrate, here’s an example response:

“Absolutely, I see myself as a leader. One example that comes to mind is when I was working as a shift manager at my previous restaurant job. The general manager had to take an unexpected leave of absence, and I was asked to fill in and oversee operations for two weeks. I worked with the staff to reorganize responsibilities, streamline procedures, and boost morale. By the end of my time as acting GM, sales and customer satisfaction had increased over 10%. I learned that leadership requires decisiveness, communication, and earning the trust of your team. I aim to bring these leadership qualities to a role at Potbelly.”

This answer checks all the boxes. You prove you have leadership ability, share a compelling story demonstrating key qualities like decisiveness and teamwork, and express genuine passion for the role.


Questions to Ask the Interviewer in Potbelly Interview

When the interviewer asks you if you have any questions, they’re trying to gain insight into your level of interest and enthusiasm.

Asking thoughtful questions demonstrates your curiosity, passion for the work, and desire to learn. It also gives you a chance to make sure the role and company culture are the right fit for your needs and priorities.

To make the most of this opportunity, you’ll want to go in with a list of questions ready. Here are some options to consider asking your Potbelly interviewer:

  • What does success look like in this role?
  • Could you elaborate more on Potbelly’s values and how they are manifested in day-to-day work?
  • How does the shop manage health and safety standards, and what role do associates play in maintaining these standards?
  • Can you tell me more about the training process and how employees are taught the Potbelly recipe manual standards?
  • How are tasks divided among team members during peak hours?
  • How does the team handle customer complaints/issues, and how are associates trained to deal with them?
  • What kind of challenges might I expect in this role, and how does the company support its associates in handling these challenges?
  • How is performance measured for this role, especially in terms of speed and accuracy of fulfilling orders?
  • How does Potbelly respond to food safety issues, should they arise? What procedures are in place?
  • Could you describe a typical day for someone in this role at Potbelly, including how often one might need to operate in multiple stations?
  • How does Potbelly balance creating a friendly, welcoming environment with the need for speed and efficiency in customer service?
  • What are the key priorities you’d want me to focus on in the first 3 months?
  • What qualities do your top employees share?
  • What opportunities exist for growth or advancement?
  • What is the next step in the interview process?


Potbelly Hiring Process

Potbelly Hiring Process

Here’s what you can expect in Potbelly’s hiring process:

The first step is to submit an application either online, in person, or at a job fair.

After applying, if selected, you’ll first go through a casual phone or in-person interview with a manager. They want to get to know your personality and see if you’ll be a good fit for their team. Be your friendly self! These initial conversations are meant to be relaxed and engaging.

For some roles, a follow-up group interview or interview with a higher-level manager may take place. Don’t be intimidated, just focus on connecting with everyone in the room. The questions will be similar, so stick to the experiences and traits that make you a strong candidate.

In the running for a leadership position? You’ll talk to key decision-makers, including at their corporate office. Multiple in-depth interviews are par for the course. Come prepared to discuss your relevant experience and management style.

Certain candidates get the chance to do an “In Job Preview” where you’ll work a trial day. This is your time to shine and show them what you’re made of! Give it your all – they’re evaluating your potential.

If you’re offered a position, you’ll do a background check and any other necessary paperwork. Once complete, the job is yours! You’ll start training, mostly on-the-job, to prepare for your new role.

Potbelly’s hiring process is meant to be a friendly, engaging experience, just like their brand. Go in with confidence, share your authentic self, and you’ll do great.


Potbelly Interview Tips

Potbelly seeks friendly, energetic candidates who are passionate about customer service. In your interview, smile, make eye contact, and speak genuinely about why you’re excited about the opportunity. Share stories of times you delivered amazing experiences for customers or worked well with teammates. Don’t be afraid to let your friendly personality shine through.


What to Wear to Potbelly Interview

Potbelly Dress Code

One of the best ways to make a great first impression in your Potbelly interview is by dressing the part. By aligning your attire with the company’s dress code, you’ll not only look the part but also demonstrate your understanding of the Potbelly culture.

The dress code at Potbelly includes a company-provided t-shirt, hat, and apron, worn with blue jeans or khaki pants and close-toed shoes. Tattoos are allowed, but facial piercings are not. Long hair must be worn up for hygiene and safety.

With this in mind, let’s explore the ideal interview attire for various roles at Potbelly.

For Restaurant Team Member and Sandwich Artist positions, you can opt for casual or business casual attire. A nice pair of jeans or khakis, paired with a clean, well-fitting shirt or blouse, will do the trick. Make sure your shoes are clean and comfortable, and avoid any overly flashy or distracting accessories. Remember, you want to showcase your professionalism while still fitting in with the laid-back Potbelly vibe.

For Restaurant Shift Leader and Restaurant General Manager roles, it’s time to step up your wardrobe game. Business casual is the way to go. Think tailored slacks or a skirt, paired with a button-down shirt or blouse. A blazer or sweater can add a touch of polish, and don’t forget to wear closed-toe, slip-resistant shoes. Your goal is to strike a balance between looking professional and approachable.

For corporate roles, it’s time to bring out the business formal attire. A well-fitted suit or a conservative dress with a blazer will make a strong impression. Opt for neutral colors like black, navy, or gray, and keep your accessories minimal and tasteful. Finish off your look with polished, closed-toe shoes, and you’ll be ready to conquer that interview.



You have now gained valuable insight into the types of questions Potbelly values in their interview process and how to thoughtfully prepare your responses. With the right preparation and persistence, you will land an interview and have the confidence to authentically share your experience and enthusiasm.

Though it’s exciting to get an interview at a place you’re eager to work, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Consider applying to similar customer-centric, casual sandwich chains where your skills and passion for great service would be appreciated. Places like Firehouse Subs, Which Wich, Jimmy John’s, Subway, Jersey Mike’s, and Capriotti’s would be lucky to have you on their team.

Don’t get discouraged if the timing isn’t right for Potbelly. Stay optimistic, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and the right opportunity at the right company will present itself. You’ve got this!

Preparation plus persistence is the recipe for success. Keep your head high, believe in yourself, and stay focused on your goals. The job you’re meant to have is out there, so keep searching and don’t give up. Your perfect career is waiting for you!

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