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Food Service Worker Careers

Food service workers are employed in restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores, and any other institution that offers dining services, such as schools, hospitals, or prisons. If you want to learn everything about food preparation and what it takes to be a restaurant manager or a top-notch chef, taking on a job as a food service worker is a great place to start.

Your job will be to assist kitchen staff in preparing meals. Your responsibilities include helping to keep the kitchen spotless, prepping ingredients, slicing, dicing, rinsing, and peeling while making sure all safety regulations are respected.

No experience is needed to be hired as a food service worker; you just have to be attentive and organized and respect the authority of your superiors, which in this case is basically everyone in the kitchen.

What Does a Food Service Worker Do

Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers. Food preparation workers prepare cold foods, slice meat, peel and cut vegetables, brew coffee or tea, and perform many other food service tasks. 

Duties

Food preparation workers typically do the following:

  • Clean and sanitize work areas, equipment, utensils, and dishes
  • Weigh or measure ingredients, such as meats and liquids
  • Prepare fruit and vegetables for cooking
  • Cut meats, poultry, and seafood and prepare them for cooking
  • Mix ingredients for salads
  • Store food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage
  • Take and record the temperature of food and food storage areas
  • Place food trays over food warmers for immediate service

Food preparation workers perform routine, repetitive tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers. To help cooks and other kitchen staff, they prepare ingredients for dishes by slicing and dicing vegetables and by making salads and cold food items. Other common duties include keeping salad bars and buffet tables stocked and clean.

Food preparation workers retrieve pots and pans, clean and store kitchen equipment, and unload and store food supplies. When needed, they retrieve food and equipment for cooks and chefs. In some kitchens, food preparation workers use a variety of commercial kitchen equipment, such as commercial dishwashers, blenders, slicers, or grinders.

In restaurants, workers stock and use soda machines, coffeemakers, and espresso machines to prepare beverages for customers. In fast-food restaurants, food preparation workers may take customer orders and process payments.

How To Become a Food Service Worker

Food preparation workers typically learn their skills through on-the-job training. No formal education or previous work experience is required.

Education

There are no formal education requirements for becoming a food preparation worker.

Training

Most food preparation workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting several weeks. Trainees typically start by working under the supervision of an experienced worker, who teaches them basic kitchen duties. Training also may include basic sanitation and workplace safety regulations, as well as instructions on how to handle and prepare food.

Important Qualities

Dexterity. Food preparation workers chop vegetables, cut meat, and perform many other tasks with sharp knives. They must have the ability to work quickly and safely with sharp objects.

Listening skills. Food preparation workers must understand customers’ orders and follow directions from cooks, chefs, or food service managers.

Physical stamina. Food preparation workers stand on their feet for long periods while they prepare food, clean work areas, or lift heavy pots from the stove.

Physical strength. Food preparation workers should be strong enough to lift and carry heavy food supply boxes, which often can weigh up to 50 pounds.

Advancement

Advancement opportunities for food preparation workers depend on their training and work experience. Many food preparation workers advance to assistant or line cook positions as they learn basic cooking skills.

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Average Salary
$22,006
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
8%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
36,040
Job Openings

Food Service Worker Career Paths

Top Careers Before Food Service Worker

Cashier
27.3 %

Top Careers After Food Service Worker

Cashier
19.7 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Food Service Worker

Food Service Workers in America make an average salary of $22,006 per year or $11 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $28,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $17,000 per year.
Average Salary
$22,006

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Vancouver, WA
Salary Range28k - 37k$33k$32,857
Santa Rosa, CA
Salary Range26k - 36k$32k$31,558
Las Vegas, NV
Salary Range26k - 36k$31k$31,180
Portland, OR
Salary Range26k - 35k$31k$30,538
Boston, MA
Salary Range25k - 31k$28k$28,219
Burlington, VT
Salary Range24k - 29k$27k$27,028
$17k
$37k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Food Service Worker
Food Service Worker
Chinese Taste
Chinese Taste
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$27,13103/31/2021
$27,131
Food Service Worker
Food Service Worker
Wegmans Food Markets
Wegmans Food Markets
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$29,21803/31/2021
$29,218
Child Nutrition Services-Food Service Worker
Child Nutrition Services-Food Service Worker
Northeastern School District
Northeastern School District
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$20,87003/31/2021
$20,870
Purdue Food Service Workers
Purdue Food Service Workers
Olsten
Olsten
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$27,75703/30/2021
$27,757
Food Services General Worker
Food Services General Worker
Jtpostmaster
Jtpostmaster
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$25,35703/30/2021
$25,357
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Food Service Worker Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Food Service Worker. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Food Service Worker Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Food Service Worker resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Food Service Worker Demographics

Gender

female

60.9 %

male

33.9 %

unknown

5.1 %

Ethnicity

White

67.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.4 %

Black or African American

10.9 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.1 %

French

7.2 %

German

5.0 %
See More Demographics

Food Service Worker Education

Majors

Business
16.8 %
Nursing
7.2 %

Degrees

High School Diploma

32.6 %

Certificate

29.2 %

Bachelors

15.5 %
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Food Service Worker

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 23.4% of food service workers listed positive attitude on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and listening skills are important as well.

Best States For a Food Service Worker

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a food service worker. The best states for people in this position are Washington, Nevada, Alaska, and Oregon. Food service workers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $32,259. Whereas in Nevada and Alaska, they would average $31,563 and $30,781, respectively. While food service workers would only make an average of $30,583 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Food Service Worker Jobs:
1,341
Highest 10% Earn:
$42,000
Location Quotient:
1.25
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oregon

Total Food Service Worker Jobs:
727
Highest 10% Earn:
$40,000
Location Quotient:
1.2
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Alaska

Total Food Service Worker Jobs:
131
Highest 10% Earn:
$35,000
Location Quotient:
1.07
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Food Service Worker Employers

1. Aramark
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$24,503
Food Service Workers Hired: 
2,385+
2. Sodexo Operations LLC
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$22,323
Food Service Workers Hired: 
2,327+
3. McDonald's
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$19,151
Food Service Workers Hired: 
1,181+
4. Taco Bell
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$19,116
Food Service Workers Hired: 
990+
5. Burger King
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$19,096
Food Service Workers Hired: 
873+
6. Subway
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$19,098
Food Service Workers Hired: 
717+

Food Service Worker Videos

Updated October 2, 2020