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Career Profile: Fast Food and Counter Workers

Perform duties such as taking orders and serving food and beverages. Serve customers at counter or from a steam table. May take payment. May prepare food and beverages.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 3,455,500 people employed as fast food and counter workers in the United States. The median annual salary is $23,900. Entry level employees earn approximately $17,940 per year and senior employees earn approximately $31,960 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

  • Communicate with customers regarding orders, comments, and complaints.
  • Accept payment from customers, and make change as necessary.
  • Notify kitchen personnel of shortages or special orders.
  • Prepare and serve cold drinks, or frozen milk drinks or desserts, using drink-dispensing, milkshake, or frozen custard machines.
  • Select food items from serving or storage areas and place them in dishes, on serving trays, or in take-out bags.
  • Replenish foods at serving stations.
  • Perform personnel activities such as supervising and training employees.
  • Take customers' orders and write ordered items on tickets, giving ticket stubs to customers when needed to identify filled orders.
  • Distribute food to servers.
  • Set up dining areas for meals and clear them following meals.
  • Add relishes and garnishes to food orders, according to instructions.
  • Deliver orders to kitchens, and pick up and serve food when it is ready.
  • Arrange tables and decorations according to instructions.
  • Plan, prepare, and deliver meals to individuals with special dietary needs.
  • Scrub and polish counters, steam tables, and other equipment, and clean glasses, dishes, and fountain equipment.
  • Arrange reservations for patrons of dining establishments.
  • Perform cleaning duties such as sweeping, mopping, and washing dishes, to keep equipment and facilities sanitary.
  • Balance receipts and payments in cash registers.
  • Request and record customer orders, and compute bills using cash registers, multi counting machines, or pencil and paper.
  • Serve food, beverages, or desserts to customers in such settings as take-out counters of restaurants or lunchrooms, business or industrial establishments, hotel rooms, and cars.
  • Prepare daily food items, and cook simple foods and beverages, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, pizza, or coffee, using proper safety precautions and sanitary measures.
  • Clean and organize eating, service, and kitchen areas.
  • Monitor and order supplies or food items and restock as necessary to maintain inventory.
  • Brew coffee and tea, and fill containers with requested beverages.
  • Serve customers in eating places that specialize in fast service and inexpensive carry-out food.
  • Collect and return dirty dishes to the kitchen for washing.
  • Wash dishes, glassware, and silverware after meals.
  • Wrap menu item such as sandwiches, hot entrees, and desserts for serving or for takeout.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
3,455,500
Annual Openings:
804,600
Increase in Openings by 2030:
15%
Annual Salary Range:
$17,940 - $31,960
Education Requirements:
Some high school