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Become A Food Preparer

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Working As A Food Preparer

  • 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

  • $18,473

    Average Salary

What Does A Food Preparer 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 Preparer

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 Preparer Demographics

Gender

Female

56.0%

Male

42.1%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

60.8%

Hispanic or Latino

17.3%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

63.6%

French

9.1%

German

4.2%

Italian

4.2%

Portuguese

2.8%

Chinese

2.8%

Cantonese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Vietnamese

1.4%

Berber

0.7%

Khmer

0.7%

Filipino

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Japanese

0.7%

Russian

0.7%

Amoy

0.7%

Persian

0.7%

Hindi

0.7%

Mandarin

0.7%

Hmong

0.7%
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Food Preparer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.2%

Liberty University

7.9%

Western Illinois University

5.8%

Grand Valley State University

5.3%

Pennsylvania State University

5.3%

James Madison University

5.3%

Miami Dade College

5.3%

Kaplan University

5.3%

West Virginia University

4.7%

Brigham Young University

4.2%

Grand Rapids Community College

4.2%

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

4.2%

College of Southern Nevada

4.2%

Pima Community College

3.7%

Monroe Community College

3.7%

San Joaquin Delta College

3.7%

Anne Arundel Community College

3.7%

Grand Canyon University

3.7%

Community College of Allegheny County

3.7%

Hinds Community College

3.2%
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Majors

Business

18.1%

Criminal Justice

9.8%

Psychology

8.4%

Nursing

6.9%

General Studies

6.1%

Accounting

6.1%

Culinary Arts

4.5%

Medical Assisting Services

4.5%

Health Care Administration

4.4%

Computer Science

4.1%

Communication

3.7%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

Education

3.2%

Management

3.0%

Graphic Design

3.0%

Social Work

2.5%

Biology

2.2%

English

2.1%

Marketing

2.1%

Finance

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

38.1%

Bachelors

32.9%

Associate

17.2%

Certificate

5.2%

Masters

3.8%

Diploma

2.4%

License

0.2%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Real Food Preparer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Food Preparer Concourse Deli Grocery Inc. New York, NY Dec 22, 2016 $29,900
Food Preparer A.M.E. Deli Grocery Corp. New York, NY Feb 08, 2016 $28,600
Mexican Food Preparer Gold Star Restaurant Inc. Glendale, CA Feb 23, 2016 $27,000
Mexican Food Preparer Gold Star Restaurant Inc. Glendale, CA Aug 28, 2015 $27,000
Food Preparer/Server Swordfish Enterprises Inc. MA Apr 01, 2013 $26,547
Supervisor, Food Preparer Dairy Queen of Allendale Allendale, NJ Dec 06, 2010 $26,526
Korean Food Preparer Jooan Peace Inc. Annandale, VA Oct 19, 2015 $25,376
Korean Food Preparer Jooan Peace Inc. Annandale, VA Jun 11, 2015 $25,376
Food Preparer MIZ-Zip's Cafe Flagstaff, AZ Jul 30, 2008 $25,044
Combined Food Preparation & Serving (Mobile) Victor Marcus, Inc. Romoland, CA Feb 13, 2016 $24,794
Combined Food Preparation and Serving (Mobile) Noel's Foods, Inc. Bakersfield, CA Mar 07, 2016 $24,376
Food Preparation Ruschmeyers NY Mar 01, 2014 $24,209
Food Preparer New Mandarin Garden Farmington Hills, MI Dec 11, 2009 $23,771
Combined Food Preparation & Serving (Mobile) Fun Biz Concessions, Inc. New Braunfels, TX Feb 22, 2016 $23,541
Food Preparer Bandito's Burritos Ogunquit, ME May 09, 2016 $21,914
Food Preparation El TULE Mexican/Peruvian Restaurant LLC NJ Sep 13, 2013 $21,851
Food Preparer Abe Froman Inc. Lincroft, NJ Jul 16, 2015 $21,611
Food Preparer Poppy's Bagels, Inc. Shrewsbury, NJ Jul 15, 2015 $21,611
Combined Food Preparation & Serving (Mobile) Chicken Charlie's Enterprises CA Jun 01, 2014 $21,496
Food Preparer El Jalisciense Bar & Grill Corpus Christi, TX Jun 01, 2015 $20,870
Food Preparers Los Valles Produce Inc. San Antonio, TX May 11, 2016 $20,369
Food Preparers Los Valles Produce Inc. San Antonio, TX Apr 01, 2015 $20,160
Food Preparator & Server El Pueblo Grill, Inc. Franklin, IN Mar 01, 2015 $18,178
Food Preparer Renilko Corporation Los Angeles, CA Dec 07, 2016 $18,000
Combined Food Preparation & Serving (Mobile) Mad Hatter Concessions LLC AZ May 15, 2014 $17,990
Food Preparator & Server Riviera Maya Mexican Grill Anderson, IN Mar 01, 2015 $17,781
Food Preparator & Server Taqueria Altos de Jalisco, LLC Hewitt, TX Mar 01, 2015 $17,552
Food Preparator & Server Riviera Maya Mexican Restaurant, Inc. Columbus, TX Mar 01, 2015 $17,531
Combined Food Preparation & Serving (Mobile) Juicys, LLC TX Jan 15, 2014 $17,468
Combined Food Preparation & Serving (Mobile) Toucan Enterprises CA Feb 13, 2014 $17,426

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Top Skills for A Food Preparer

  1. Customer Service
  2. Kitchen Equipment
  3. Safe Food Preparation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided daily quality customer service, welcomed customer, identified customer need and satisfied need with a product from available inventory.
  • Clean, sanitized kitchen equipment and serving area on a regular basis in accordance to safety/sanitizing requirements-capable of lifting 50 lbs.
  • Assisted management with inventory control and stock ordering, followed procedures for safe food preparation, assembled, and presentation.
  • Serve Customers, Prep Food, Operate Cash Register, Maintain floors, Closing Duties.
  • Measured ingredients, such as seasoning, that was required for specific food items being prepared.

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Top 10 Best States for Food Preparers

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Vermont
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Connecticut
  5. Montana
  6. North Dakota
  7. Alaska
  8. Arizona
  9. Nebraska
  10. Washington
  • (76 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (437 jobs)
  • (184 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (312 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (256 jobs)

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