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Become A Food Handler

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Working As A Food Handler

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

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $18,901

    Average Salary

What Does A Food Handler 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 Handler

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 Handler Videos

Basic Food Safety: Chapter 2 Health and Hygiene" (English)"

Food Handler Training Part 1

HACCP Training for Food Handlers

Food Handler Jobs

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Food Handler Career Paths

Food Handler
Assembler Technician Account Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Driver Night Auditor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Sales Person Home Health Aid Baker
Chef/Kitchen Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Handyman Chef
Dietary Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Hostess Specialist Account Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Food Service Worker Delivery Driver Maintenance Technician
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Home Health Aid Night Auditor Assistant General Manager
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Operations Manager General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Sales Person General Manager Restaurant General Manager
Food Service Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Production Technician Food Service Worker
Food Service Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Forklift Operator Carpenter
General Contractor
6 Yearsyrs
Barista Office Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Security Officer Account Manager
Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Hostess Office Manager Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Food Service Worker Security Officer Technician
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Barista Specialist Account Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Account Manager Account Executive
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Production Supervisor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Technician Instructor
Training Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Assembler Material Handler Forklift Operator
Warehouse Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Food Handler?

Food Handler Demographics

Gender

Female

58.2%

Male

39.7%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

56.6%

Hispanic or Latino

23.5%

Black or African American

9.3%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

72.2%

French

5.6%

Japanese

4.2%

Korean

4.2%

Chinese

2.8%

Swedish

1.4%

Portuguese

1.4%

Samoan

1.4%

Vietnamese

1.4%

German

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Ukrainian

1.4%

Mandarin

1.4%
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Food Handler Education

Schools

College of Southern Nevada

17.7%

University of Phoenix

8.0%

Mesa Community College - Boswell

6.2%

Northern Arizona University

6.2%

Lansing Community College

5.3%

Blinn College

4.4%

Texas State University

4.4%

Austin Community College

4.4%

Kaplan University

4.4%

Mt San Antonio College

4.4%

Saint Cloud State University

4.4%

Sonoma State University

3.5%

Modesto Junior College

3.5%

San Joaquin Delta College

3.5%

San Jose State University

3.5%

Bakersfield College

3.5%

Washington State University

3.5%

Cerritos College

3.5%

Syracuse University

2.7%

Merced College

2.7%
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Majors

Business

16.8%

Psychology

8.3%

Criminal Justice

7.8%

Nursing

7.2%

Medical Assisting Services

6.3%

General Studies

4.7%

Health Care Administration

4.7%

Culinary Arts

4.5%

Education

4.5%

Accounting

4.5%

Communication

4.3%

Computer Science

3.8%

Cosmetology

3.1%

Liberal Arts

3.1%

Biology

2.9%

English

2.9%

Marketing

2.9%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.7%

Kinesiology

2.5%

Early Childhood Education

2.5%
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Degrees

Other

44.0%

Bachelors

28.3%

Associate

14.0%

Certificate

6.6%

Masters

3.0%

Diploma

2.8%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Food Handler Videos

Basic Food Safety: Chapter 2 Health and Hygiene" (English)"

Food Handler Training Part 1

HACCP Training for Food Handlers

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Real Food Handler Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Cook and Food Handler Soar Hospitality Burger King #5090 McDonough, GA Feb 23, 2016 $31,305
Food Handler Los Leones de San Pedro GA Feb 15, 2014 $22,101
Food Handler Cabos Mex Mex Grill Inc. GA Feb 15, 2014 $21,100
Kitchen Food Handler Los Leones de San Pedro GA Jul 15, 2014 $21,100

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Top Skills for A Food Handler

  1. Customer Service
  2. Food Safety
  3. Kitchen Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained cashiering tasks and made sure that customers were provided excellent customer service
  • Prepared quality products while maintaining proper food safety practices, portion control and presentation within service goal time.
  • Prepared meals utilizing knowledge of proper kitchen equipment handling.
  • Served fresh homemade ice-cream in local, memorized and flawlessly prepared customer orders.
  • Received food orders ensuring inventory is accurate and sanitary.

How Would You Rate Working As a Food Handler?

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Top Food Handler Employers

Jobs From Top Food Handler Employers

Food Handler Videos

Basic Food Safety: Chapter 2 Health and Hygiene" (English)"

Food Handler Training Part 1

HACCP Training for Food Handlers

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