Salary and Outlook
According to the US Department of Labor, there are 821,200 people employed as food preparation workers in
the United States.
The median annual salary is $26,100.
Entry level employees earn approximately $18,460 per year and senior employees earn approximately $37,000
Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.
- Portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to patrons.
- Take and record temperature of food and food storage areas, such as refrigerators and freezers.
- Prepare a variety of foods, such as meats, vegetables, or desserts, according to customers' orders or supervisors' instructions, following approved procedures.
- Place food trays over food warmers for immediate service, or store them in refrigerated storage cabinets.
- Package take-out foods or serve food to customers.
- Stock cupboards and refrigerators, and tend salad bars and buffet meals.
- Wash, peel, and cut various foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to prepare for cooking or serving.
- Carry food supplies, equipment, and utensils to and from storage and work areas.
- Distribute food to waiters and waitresses to serve to customers.
- Cut, slice or grind meat, poultry, and seafood to prepare for cooking.
- Remove trash and clean kitchen garbage containers.
- Receive and store food supplies, equipment, and utensils in refrigerators, cupboards, and other storage areas.
- Weigh or measure ingredients.
- Inform supervisors when equipment is not working properly and when food and supplies are getting low, and order needed items.
- Assist cooks and kitchen staff with various tasks as needed, and provide cooks with needed items.
- Add cutlery, napkins, food, and other items to trays on assembly lines in hospitals, cafeterias, airline kitchens, and similar establishments.
- Use manual or electric appliances to clean, peel, slice, and trim foods.
- Scrape leftovers from dishes into garbage containers.
- Load dishes, glasses, and tableware into dishwashing machines.
- Make special dressings and sauces as condiments for sandwiches.
- Mix ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads, vegetable salads, and pasta salads.
- Operate cash register, handle money, and give correct change.
- Keep records of the quantities of food used.
- Vacuum dining area and sweep and mop kitchen floor.
- Assemble meal trays with foods in accordance with patients' diets.
- Distribute menus to hospital patients, collect diet sheets, and deliver food trays and snacks to nursing units or directly to patients.
- Stir and strain soups and sauces.
- Butcher and clean fowl, fish, poultry, and shellfish to prepare for cooking or serving.
- Prepare and serve a variety of beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
- Clean and sanitize work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, or silverware.
- Store food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage.