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Become A Short Order Cook

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Working As A Short Order Cook

  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $26,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Short Order Cook Do

Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods, which may include soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.

Duties

Cooks typically do the following:

  • Ensure the freshness of food and ingredients
  • Weigh, measure, and mix ingredients according to recipes
  • Bake, grill, or fry meats, fish, vegetables, and other foods
  • Boil and steam meats, fish, vegetables, and other foods
  • Arrange, garnish, and sometimes serve food
  • Clean work areas, equipment, utensils, and dishes
  • Cook, handle, and store food or ingredients

Cooks usually work under the direction of chefs, head cooks, or food service managers. Large restaurants and food service establishments often have multiple menus and large kitchen staffs. Teams of restaurant cooks, sometimes called assistant cooks or line cooks, work at assigned stations equipped with the necessary types of stoves, grills, pans, and ingredients.

Job titles often reflect the principal ingredient cooks prepare or the type of cooking they do—vegetable cook, fry cook, or grill cook, for example.

Cooks use a variety of kitchen equipment, including broilers, grills, slicers, grinders, and blenders.

The responsibilities of cooks vary depending on where they work, the size of the facility, and the level of service offered. However, in all establishments, they follow established sanitation procedures when handling food. For example, they store food and ingredients at the correct temperatures to prevent bacterial growth.

The following are examples of types of cooks:

Restaurant cooks prepare a wide selection of dishes and cook most orders individually. Some restaurant cooks may order supplies, set menu prices, and plan the daily menu.

Fast-food cooks prepare a limited selection of menu items in fast-food restaurants. They cook and package food, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, to be kept warm until served. For more information on workers who prepare and serve items in fast-food restaurants, see the profiles on food preparation workers and food and beverage serving and related workers.

Institution and cafeteria cooks work in the kitchens of schools, cafeterias, businesses, hospitals, and other institutions. For each meal, they prepare a large quantity of a limited number of entrees, vegetables, and desserts, according to preset menus. These cooks usually prepare meals in advance and seldom take special orders.

Short-order cooks prepare foods in restaurants and coffee shops that emphasize fast service and quick food preparation. They usually prepare sandwiches, fry eggs, and cook french fries, often working on several orders at the same time.

Private household cooks, sometimes called personal chefs, plan and prepare meals in private homes, according to the client’s tastes and dietary needs. They order groceries and supplies, clean the kitchen, and wash dishes and utensils. They also may cater parties, holiday meals, luncheons, and other social events. Private household cooks typically work for one full-time client, although some are self-employed or employed by an agency, regularly making meals for multiple clients.

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How To Become A Short Order Cook

Most cooks learn their skills through on-the-job training and work-related experience. Although no formal education is required, some restaurant cooks and private household cooks attend culinary schools. Others attend vocational or apprenticeship programs.

Education

Vocational cooking schools, professional culinary institutes, and some colleges offer culinary programs for aspiring cooks. These programs generally last from a few months to 2 years and may offer courses in advanced cooking techniques, international cuisines, and various cooking styles. To enter these programs, candidates may be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Depending on the type and length of the program, graduates generally qualify for entry-level positions as a restaurant cook.

Training

Most cooks learn their skills through on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. Trainees generally first learn kitchen basics and workplace safety and then learn how to handle and cook food.

Some cooks learn through an apprenticeship program. Professional culinary institutes, industry associations, and trade unions may sponsor such programs for cooks. Typical apprenticeships last 1 year and combine technical training and work experience. Apprentices complete courses in food sanitation and safety, basic knife skills, and equipment operation. They also learn practical cooking skills under the supervision of an experienced chef.

The American Culinary Federation accredits more than 200 academic training programs and sponsors apprenticeships through these programs around the country. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 17
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Pass substance abuse screening

Some hotels, a number of restaurants, and the Armed Forces have their own training programs.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many cooks learn their skills through work-related experience. They typically start as a kitchen helper or food preparation worker, learning basic cooking skills before they advance to assistant cook or line cook positions. Some learn by working under the guidance of a more experienced cook.

Advancement

The American Culinary Federation certifies chefs, personal chefs, pastry chefs, and culinary administrators, among others. For cooks seeking advancement to higher level chef positions, certification can show accomplishment and lead to higher paying positions.

Advancement opportunities for cooks often depend on training, work experience, and the ability to prepare more complex dishes. Those who learn new cooking skills and who handle greater responsibility, such as supervising kitchen staff in the absence of a chef, often advance. Some cooks may train or supervise kitchen staff, and some may become head cooks, chefs, or food service managers.

Important Qualities

Comprehension. Cooks need to understand orders and follow recipes to prepare dishes correctly.

Customer-service skills. Restaurant and short-order cooks must be able to interact effectively with customers and handle special requests.

Dexterity. Cooks should have excellent hand–eye coordination. For example, they need to use proper knife techniques for cutting, chopping, and dicing.

Physical stamina. Cooks spend a lot of time standing in one place, cooking food over hot stoves, and cleaning work areas.

Sense of taste and smell. Cooks must have a keen sense of taste and smell to prepare meals that customers enjoy.

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Average Length of Employment
Cook/Trainer 2.8 years
Assistant Cook 2.0 years
Grill Operator 2.0 years
Cook 2.0 years
Short Order Cook 2.0 years
Grill Cook/Prep 1.9 years
Mexican Food Cook 1.9 years
Kitchen Cook 1.8 years
Grill Cook 1.7 years
Cook/Server 1.7 years
Prep Cook 1.7 years
Deli Cook 1.7 years
Cook/Dishwasher 1.6 years
Fast Food Cook 1.6 years
Cook/Team Member 1.4 years
Pizza Cook 1.4 years
Fry Cook 1.3 years
Top Careers Before Short Order Cook
Cashier 15.5%
Cook 12.2%
Line Cook 8.9%
Prep Cook 6.2%
Server 4.6%
Waitress 3.7%
Manager 2.8%
Volunteer 2.8%
Internship 2.6%
Grill Cook 2.4%
Top Careers After Short Order Cook
Cashier 12.7%
Cook 11.7%
Line Cook 11.1%
Prep Cook 5.9%
Server 5.0%
Manager 3.7%
Sous Chef 2.8%
Grill Cook 2.8%
Driver 2.7%
Internship 2.6%
Chef 2.4%

Do you work as a Short Order Cook?

Short Order Cook Demographics

Gender

Male

57.8%

Female

32.4%

Unknown

9.9%
Ethnicity

White

64.7%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Black or African American

12.3%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.7%

French

17.3%

Italian

7.7%

German

3.8%

Japanese

2.9%

Chinese

1.9%

Greek

1.9%

Swedish

1.0%

Norwegian

1.0%

Ukrainian

1.0%

Cantonese

1.0%

Tagalog

1.0%

Russian

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Arabic

1.0%
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Short Order Cook Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.5%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

10.4%

Johnson & Wales University

9.8%

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

6.7%

The Academy

5.8%

Ashford University

4.9%

Kaplan University

4.9%

Pennsylvania State University

4.6%

Community College of Philadelphia

4.0%

Liberty University

4.0%

Culinary Institute of America

3.7%

West Virginia University

3.7%

Temple University

3.4%

Camden County College

3.4%

Everest Institute

3.1%

University of Maine

3.1%

Michigan State University

3.1%

Bristol Community College

3.1%

Erie Community College

3.1%

Appalachian State University

3.1%
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Majors

Culinary Arts

18.7%

Business

18.1%

General Studies

8.6%

Criminal Justice

5.8%

Health Care Administration

5.1%

Psychology

4.7%

Computer Science

3.7%

Hospitality Management

3.4%

Accounting

3.3%

Communication

3.2%

Medical Assisting Services

3.1%

Nursing

3.0%

Management

2.9%

Education

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.7%

Biology

2.3%

Graphic Design

2.3%

English

2.2%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Marketing

1.8%
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Degrees

Other

41.6%

Bachelors

24.3%

Associate

19.9%

Certificate

7.9%

Diploma

3.2%

Masters

2.4%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$26,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$16,000
Min 10%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$26,000
Median 50%
$43,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Bloomingdale's
Highest Paying City
Portland, OR
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.3 years
How much does a Short Order Cook make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Short Order Cook in the United States is $26,716 per year or $13 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $16,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $43,000.

Real Short Order Cook Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cooks, Short Order Second Chance Enterprises LLC Peabody, MA Nov 19, 2013 $34,174
Short Order Cooks Ridge LLC Nantucket, MA Apr 22, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook Galley Catering LLC Provincetown, MA May 01, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook Farland, Inc. Provincetown, MA May 01, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook Steamboat Wharf Pizza Inc. Nantucket, MA May 03, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook Jetties Beach Inc. Nantucket, MA May 01, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook Nomodo Inc. Nantucket, MA May 17, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook Bartholomew Inc. Nantucket, MA May 12, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook Steamboat Wharf of Provincetown, Inc. Provincetown, MA May 01, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook-Counter Help Bakes Etc, Inc. MA May 01, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook-Counter Help Canal Fish and Lobster, Inc. MA Apr 29, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cook SAKI, LLC Provincetown, MA Apr 01, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cooks Mingo Corp Nantucket, MA Apr 11, 2016 $30,387
Short Order Cooks/Housekeepers Woods Hole Inn, LLC Woods Hole, MA Apr 10, 2016 $29,969
Cook, Short Order Darrow Inc. MI Apr 15, 2013 $27,486
Cook, Short Order Crawfish Magic, Inc. Lafayette, LA Dec 20, 2015 $27,027
Short Order Cook Press 195 NY May 18, 2015 $26,881
Short Order Cook Steamboat Wharf Pizza Inc. MA Apr 26, 2014 $26,192
Short Order Cook-Counter Help Canal Fish and Lobster, Inc. MA Apr 15, 2014 $26,192
Short Order Cook Mingo Corp MA Apr 15, 2014 $26,192
Short Order Cook Wychmere Harbor Functions, LP Harwich Port, MA Apr 27, 2015 $26,192
Short Order Cook Julesan Inc. MA May 01, 2014 $26,192
Cook, Short Order Jin Deli Inc. Kearny, NJ Jun 05, 2016 $23,795
Cooks, Short Order K Steaks Inc. D/B/A Windmill Freehold, NJ May 30, 2013 $23,750
Short Order Cook Julesan Inc. Provincetown, MA May 01, 2015 $23,458
Short Order Cook The Meadowmere Resort ME Apr 15, 2014 $23,207
Short Order Cook Mike's Clam Shack, Inc. ME Apr 01, 2014 $23,207
Short Order Cook Native Grounds Inc. ME Apr 15, 2014 $23,207
Short Order Cook Village Food Market Inc. ME Apr 15, 2014 $23,207
Short Order Cook Wolterbeek Enterprises, Inc. ME May 20, 2014 $23,207

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Top Skills for A Short Order Cook

  1. Food Safety
  2. Kitchen Equipment
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained proper food safety and sanitation procedures.
  • Conducted daily inspections and maintained food sanitation and kitchen equipment safety reports.
  • Provided adequate customer service while maintaining organization in a fast paced, high-pressure environment.
  • Prepared and executed menu items per customer order
  • Maintained proper sanitation of kitchen area according to state safety standards.

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Top 10 Best States for Short Order Cooks

  1. Nevada
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Wyoming
  4. Minnesota
  5. Washington
  6. Vermont
  7. Hawaii
  8. Colorado
  9. Nebraska
  10. New Jersey
  • (363 jobs)
  • (118 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)
  • (955 jobs)
  • (809 jobs)
  • (70 jobs)
  • (139 jobs)
  • (1,019 jobs)
  • (231 jobs)
  • (803 jobs)

Top Short Order Cook Employers

Jobs From Top Short Order Cook Employers

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