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Career Profile: Cooks, Fast Food

Prepare and cook food in a fast food restaurant with a limited menu. Duties of these cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 547,800 people employed as cooks, fast food in the United States. The median annual salary is $24,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $17,590 per year and senior employees earn approximately $31,430 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Order and take delivery of supplies.
  • Cook the exact number of items ordered by each customer, working on several different orders simultaneously.
  • Prepare specialty foods, such as pizzas, fish and chips, sandwiches, or tacos, following specific methods that usually require short preparation time.
  • Operate large-volume cooking equipment, such as grills, deep-fat fryers, or griddles.
  • Wash, cut, and prepare foods designated for cooking.
  • Prepare and serve beverages, such as coffee or fountain drinks.
  • Clean food preparation areas, cooking surfaces, and utensils.
  • Read food order slips or receive verbal instructions as to food required by patron, and prepare and cook food according to instructions.
  • Serve orders to customers at windows, counters, or tables.
  • Clean, stock, and restock workstations and display cases.
  • Maintain sanitation, health, and safety standards in work areas.
  • Cook and package batches of food, such as hamburgers or fried chicken, which are prepared to order or kept warm until sold.
  • Prepare dough, following recipe.
  • Take food and drink orders and receive payment from customers.
  • Verify that prepared food meets requirements for quality and quantity.
  • Pre-cook items, such as bacon, to prepare them for later use.
  • Measure ingredients required for specific food items being prepared.
  • Mix ingredients, such as pancake or waffle batters.
  • Schedule activities and equipment use with managers, using information about daily menus to help coordinate cooking times.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
547,800
Annual Openings:
77,100
Increase in Openings by 2030:
-2%
Annual Salary Range:
$17,590 - $31,430
Education Requirements:
Some high school