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Become A Food Counter Worker

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Working As A Food Counter Worker

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $18,510

    Average Salary

What Does A Food Counter Worker 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 Food Counter Worker

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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Food Counter Worker jobs

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Food Counter Worker Typical Career Paths

Food Counter Worker Demographics

Gender

Female

61.2%

Male

37.3%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

80.3%

Hispanic or Latino

10.5%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

1.1%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.3%

Chinese

7.1%

German

7.1%

Japanese

7.1%

Mandarin

7.1%

Italian

7.1%
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Food Counter Worker Education

Schools

University of Iowa

18.9%

Brigham Young University - Idaho

8.1%

Kirkwood Community College

8.1%

University of Phoenix

8.1%

Community College of Vermont

5.4%

James Madison University

5.4%

San Diego State University

5.4%

Empire Beauty School

5.4%

University of Alaska Anchorage

5.4%

Syracuse University

2.7%

ITT Technical Institute-Jacksonville

2.7%

Eastern Michigan University

2.7%

Refrigeration School Inc

2.7%

Guthrie Job Corps Center

2.7%

Columbus State University

2.7%

Washington State University

2.7%

Central New Mexico Community College

2.7%

State University of New York College of Technology at Canton

2.7%

University of the District of Columbia

2.7%

Eastern Florida State College

2.7%
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Majors

Business

14.3%

Psychology

8.2%

Criminal Justice

7.1%

Liberal Arts

7.1%

General Studies

6.1%

Nursing

6.1%

Communication

6.1%

Biology

5.1%

Medical Assisting Services

4.1%

Computer Science

4.1%

Health Care Administration

4.1%

Mechanical Engineering

4.1%

Accounting

4.1%

Medical Technician

3.1%

Health Sciences And Services

3.1%

Culinary Arts

3.1%

English

3.1%

Education

3.1%

Management

2.0%

Finance

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

39.6%

Bachelors

35.4%

Associate

15.2%

Masters

4.9%

Certificate

4.3%

Diploma

0.6%
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Real Food Counter Worker Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Food & Beverage Worker Killington Pico Ski Resort Partners, LLC VT Nov 01, 2013 $28,175
Fast Food and Counter Workers Cooks Sidewalk Cafe Nantucket, MA Mar 15, 2016 $26,922
Fast Food & Counter Worker Nomodo Inc. Nantucket, MA Apr 01, 2015 $23,458
Fast Food and Counter Worker Cooks Sidewalk CAFE Nantucket, MA Mar 15, 2015 $23,458
Fast Food &Counter Worker Nomodo Inc. MA Apr 01, 2014 $21,371
Fast Food and Counter Worker Cooks Sidewalk CAFE MA Mar 15, 2014 $21,371
Food & Beverage Workers Wintergreen Pacific LLC Nellysford, VA May 15, 2016 $19,534
Food & Beverage Workers Wintergreen Pacific LLC Wintergreen, VA May 15, 2015 $18,950
Fast Food & Counter Worker Nomodo, Inc. MA May 15, 2013 $18,887
Fast Food and Counter Worker Cooks Sidewalk Cafe MA Mar 15, 2013 $18,783
Food & Beverage Workers Wintergreen Partners Inc. VA May 15, 2014 $18,574
Food Worker Authentic Greek Food Corp. Franklin Square, NY May 02, 2016 $17,719
Food Worker Authentic Greek Food Corp. NC May 01, 2015 $17,406
Food Worker Strates Fine Foods, Inc. MD Feb 10, 2016 $17,134
Food Worker Strates Fine Foods, Inc. MD May 15, 2016 $17,134
Food Worker Strates Fine Foods, Inc. VA Jan 12, 2015 $17,134
Food & Beverage Workers Wintergreen Partners Inc. VA May 15, 2013 $17,009
Food Worker Authentic Greek Food Corp. NC Apr 30, 2014 $16,988
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Lake Charles, LA May 25, 2010 $13,670
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Lake Charles, LA Jun 08, 2010 $12,731
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Lake Charles, LA Jun 04, 2010 $12,731
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Sulphur, LA Dec 08, 2008 $12,731
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Iowa, LA Sep 08, 2008 $12,731
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Iowa, LA Apr 23, 2009 $12,731
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Lake Charles, LA Sep 11, 2008 $12,731
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Sulphur, LA Sep 08, 2008 $12,731
Food Prep/Crew Worker Bee, Inc. Lake Charles, LA Sep 08, 2008 $12,731

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Top Skills for A Food Counter Worker

OutstandingCustomerServicePrepFoodFoodItemsFoodOrdersCustomerOrdersRawMaterialStockSimultaneousPreparationOrderListFoodWorkerRespectiveStationsNecessaryRawMaterialsPersonalDataFoodTraysSubwayCulinaryPersonnelFoodWarmersOutstandingGuestServiceKitchenEquipmentCleanFoodSoftDrinks

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Top Food Counter Worker Skills

  1. Outstanding Customer Service
  2. Prep Food
  3. Food Items
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked as a hostess Served food, prep food, dished up desserts for meals
  • Prepared food items such as sandwiches, soups, and beverages.
  • Served customers, managed food orders, maintained great customer satisfaction
  • Request and record customer orders, and compute bills using a cash register.
  • Collected the necessary raw material stock from the culinary personnel and prepared the ordered dish.

Top Food Counter Worker Employers