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Become A Cafeteria Assistant

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Working As A Cafeteria Assistant

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $71,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Cafeteria Assistant Do

Food and beverage serving and related workers perform a variety of customer service, food preparation, and cleaning duties in restaurants, cafeterias, and other eating and drinking establishments.

Duties

Food and beverage serving and related workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and answer their questions about menu items and specials
  • Take food or drink orders from customers
  • Prepare food and drink orders, such as sandwiches, salads, and coffee
  • Relay customers’ orders to other kitchen staff
  • Serve food and drinks to customers at a counter, at a stand, or in a hotel room
  • Clean assigned work areas, dining tables, or serving counters
  • Replenish and stock service stations, cabinets, and tables
  • Set tables or prepare food trays for new customers

Food and beverage serving and related workers are the front line of customer service in restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service establishments. Depending on the establishment, they take customers’ food and drink orders and serve food and beverages.

Most work as part of a team, helping coworkers to improve workflow and customer service. The job titles of food and beverage serving and related workers vary with where they work and what they do.

The following are examples of types of food and beverage serving and related workers: 

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, are employed primarily by fast-food restaurants. They take food and beverage orders, prepare or retrieve items when ready, fill cups with beverages, and accept customers’ payments. They also heat food items and make salads and sandwiches.

Counter attendants take orders and serve food over a counter in snack bars, cafeterias, movie theaters, and coffee shops. They fill cups with coffee, soda, and other beverages, and may prepare fountain specialties, such as milkshakes and ice cream sundaes. Counter attendants take carryout orders from diners and wrap or place items in containers. They clean counters, prepare itemized bills, and accept customers’ payments.

Food servers, nonrestaurant, serve food to customers outside of a restaurant environment. Many deliver room service meals in hotels or meals to hospital rooms. Some act as carhops, bringing orders to customers in parked cars.

Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers—sometimes collectively referred to as bus staff—help waiters, waitresses, and bartenders by cleaning and setting tables, removing dirty dishes, and keeping serving areas stocked with supplies. They also may help waiters and waitresses by bringing meals out of the kitchen, distributing dishes to diners, filling water glasses, and delivering condiments. Cafeteria attendants stock serving tables with food trays, dishes, and silverware. They sometimes carry trays to dining tables for customers. Bartender helpers keep bar equipment clean and glasses washed. 

Hosts and hostesses greet customers and manage reservation and waiting lists. They may direct customers to coatrooms, restrooms, or a waiting area until their table is ready. Hosts and hostesses assign guests to tables suitable for the size of their group, escort patrons to their seats, and provide menus. They also take reservations over the phone, arrange parties, and help with other customers’ requests.

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How To Become A Cafeteria Assistant

Most food and beverage service jobs are entry-level jobs and do not require a high school diploma. The majority of workers receive short-term on-the-job training.

Most states require workers, such as nonrestaurant servers, who serve alcoholic beverages to be 18 years of age or older.

Education

There are no formal education requirements for becoming a food and beverage serving worker.

Training

Most workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting several weeks. Training includes basic customer service, kitchen safety, safe food-handling procedures, and good sanitation habits.

Some employers, particularly those in fast-food restaurants, teach new workers with the use of self-study programs, online programs, audiovisual presentations, or instructional booklets that explain food preparation and service procedures. However, most food and beverage serving and related workers learn their skills by watching and working with more experienced workers.

Some full-service restaurants provide new dining room employees with classroom training sessions that alternate with periods of on-the-job work experience. The training communicates the operating philosophy of the restaurant, helps new employees establish a personal rapport with other staff, teaches employees formal serving techniques, and instills a desire in the staff to work as a team.

Some nonrestaurant servers and bartender helpers who work in establishments where alcohol is served may need training on state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some states, counties, and cities mandate such training, which typically lasts a few hours and can be taken online or in-house.

Advancement

Advancement opportunities are limited to those who remain on the job for a long time. However, some dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers may advance to waiter, waitress, or bartender positions as they learn the basics of serving food or preparing drinks.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Food and beverage serving and related workers must listen carefully to their customers’ orders and relay them correctly to the kitchen staff so that the orders are prepared to the customers’ request.

Customer-service skills. Food service establishments rely on good food and customer service to keep customers and succeed in a competitive industry. As a result, workers should be courteous and be able to attend to customers’ requests.

Physical stamina. Food and beverage serving and related workers spend most of their worktime standing, carrying heavy trays, cleaning work areas, and attending to customers’ needs.

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Do you work as a Cafeteria Assistant?

Average Yearly Salary
$71,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$32,000
Min 10%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Median 50%
$159,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Vancouver Public Schools
Highest Paying City
Quincy, IL
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.2 years
How much does a Cafeteria Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Cafeteria Assistant in the United States is $71,547 per year or $34 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $32,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $159,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Cafeteria Assistant?

Have you worked as a Cafeteria Assistant? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Cafeteria Assistant.

Top Skills for A Cafeteria Assistant

  1. Lunch Meals
  2. Kitchen Equipment
  3. Food Preparation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist with the preparation and serving of breakfast & lunch meals.
  • Operate standard commercial kitchen equipment.
  • Participated in inventory control, data management, and food preparation
  • Performed and maintained accurate cash drawer -Prepared and served food to students and staff -Provided exceptional customer services
  • Worked in Cafeteria, supervising students in food safety, and cooking safety.

Cafeteria Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

68.4%

Male

18.6%

Unknown

13.0%
Ethnicity

White

59.3%

Hispanic or Latino

18.9%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

77.8%

French

5.6%

Portuguese

2.8%

Chinese

2.8%

Vietnamese

2.8%

German

2.8%

Hmong

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%
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Cafeteria Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.3%

Wake Technical Community College

8.2%

Ashford University

6.4%

Butte College

5.5%

Tidewater Community College

5.5%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

4.5%

Tulsa Community College

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.5%

Lansing Community College

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.6%

Nashville State Community College

3.6%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.6%

Sierra College

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

Monroe College

3.6%

San Joaquin Delta College

3.6%

Cape Fear Community College

3.6%

Portland Community College

3.6%

Gaston College

3.6%

Summit College

3.6%
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Majors

Business

18.1%

Health Care Administration

10.1%

Medical Assisting Services

8.2%

Criminal Justice

7.6%

General Studies

5.8%

Culinary Arts

5.4%

Nursing

5.3%

Human Development

4.0%

Early Childhood Education

3.8%

Pharmacy

3.8%

Nursing Assistants

3.6%

Accounting

3.4%

Psychology

3.1%

Cosmetology

3.1%

Sociology

2.7%

Education

2.5%

Communication

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Management

2.2%

Hospitality Management

2.2%
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Degrees

Other

42.9%

Bachelors

19.6%

Associate

18.6%

Certificate

11.7%

Diploma

4.0%

Masters

2.1%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Top Cafeteria Assistant Employers

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