Summary Report for:
35-2012.00 - Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria
Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
Sample of reported job titles: Cook, Cook (Dinner), Cook (Elementary School), Dietary Cook, Dinner Cook, First Cook, Food and Nutrition Services Assistant, Food Service Specialist, Lead Cook, School Cook
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Clean, cut, and cook meat, fish, or poultry.
- Cook foodstuffs according to menus, special dietary or nutritional restrictions, or numbers of portions to be served.
- Clean and inspect galley equipment, kitchen appliances, and work areas to ensure cleanliness and functional operation.
- Apportion and serve food to facility residents, employees, or patrons.
- Direct activities of one or more workers who assist in preparing and serving meals.
- Wash pots, pans, dishes, utensils, and other cooking equipment.
- Compile and maintain records of food use and expenditures.
- Take inventory of supplies and equipment.
- Bake breads, rolls, and other pastries.
- Train new employees.
- Monitor use of government food commodities to ensure that proper procedures are followed.
- Monitor menus and spending to ensure that meals are prepared economically.
- Determine meal prices, based on calculations of ingredient prices.
- Plan menus that are varied, nutritionally balanced, and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.
- Requisition food supplies, kitchen equipment, and appliances, based on estimates of future needs.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Blast freezers — Blast chillers
- Cappuccino or espresso machines — Cappuccino makers
- Carbonated beverage dispenser — Carbonated beverage dispensers
- Cash registers
- Commercial use barbeque ovens — Braziers
- Commercial use blenders — Blenders
- Commercial use broilers — Broilers; Salamanders
- Commercial use coffee grinders — Commercial coffee grinders
- Commercial use coffee or iced tea makers — Commercial coffeemakers
- Commercial use combination oven — Commercial use combination ovens
- Commercial use convection ovens — Commercial kitchen convection ovens; Convection ovens
- Commercial use cutlery — Chefs' knives; Oyster knives; Paring knives; Serrated blade knives (see all 6 examples)
- Commercial use deep fryers — Electric deep-fat fryers; Gas-powered deep-fat fryers
- Commercial use dishwashers — Commercial dishwashers
- Commercial use food choppers or cubers or dicers — Food dicers
- Commercial use food grinders — Meat grinders
- Commercial use food processors — Food processors
- Commercial use food slicers — Bread slicers; Food slicers
- Commercial use food warmers — Steam tables
- Commercial use graters — Box graters; Food shredders
- Commercial use griddles — Griddles
- Commercial use grills — Grills
- Commercial use heat lamps — Infrared heat lamps
- Commercial use high pressure steamers — Pressurized steam cookers
- Commercial use hot dog grills — Hot dog cookers
- Commercial use juicers — Juice extractors
- Commercial use microwave ovens — Commercial microwave ovens
- Commercial use mixers — Commercial stand mixers; Mixers
- Commercial use ovens — Conveyor ovens
- Commercial use pasta machines — Pasta machines
- Commercial use pizza ovens — Pizza ovens
- Commercial use ranges — Electric stoves; Gas stoves
- Commercial use rice cookers — Rice cookers
- Commercial use rotisseries — Rotisserie ovens
- Commercial use scales — Portion scales
- Commercial use steamers — Commercial kitchen steamers; Steam kettles
- Commercial use toasters — Toasters
- Commercial use waffle irons — Waffle makers
- Commercial use woks — Woks
- Desktop computers
- Domestic apple corer — Apple corers
- Domestic double boilers — Double boilers
- Domestic electric skillets — Tilt skillets
- Domestic garbage disposals — Disposal units
- Domestic garnishing tools — Parisian cutters
- Domestic kitchen or food thermometers — Meat thermometers; Refrigerator thermometers
- Domestic kitchen tongs — Kitchen tongs
- Domestic knife sharpeners — Knife sharpeners
- Domestic mandolin — Mandolines
- Domestic sifter — Sifters
- Domestic strainers or colanders — Sieves; Strainers
- Domestic trash compactors — Garbage compactors
- Domestic whipped cream maker — Cream whippers
- Fire blankets — Fire suppression blankets
- Fire extinguishers — Kitchen fire extinguishers
- Ice cream machines — Commercial ice cream machines
- Ice dispensers — Ice-making machines
- Ice shaver machines or accessories — Ice shaving or crushing equipment
- Non carbonated beverage dispenser — Juice dispensers
- Personal computers
- Point of sale POS terminal — Point of sale POS computer terminals
- Touch screen monitors
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — GNOME Gnutrition *
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software; Meals Plus software
- Point of sale POS software — PCS Revenue Control Systems FASTRAK School Meal Software
- Spreadsheet software — IBM Lotus 1-2-3; Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Detailed Work Activities
- Plan menu options.
- Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
- Cook foods.
- Clean food preparation areas, facilities, or equipment.
- Prepare breads or doughs.
- Prepare foods for cooking or serving.
- Record operational or production data.
- Monitor food services operations to ensure procedures are followed.
- Clean tableware.
- Cut cooked or raw foods.
- Maintain food, beverage, or equipment inventories.
- Inspect facilities, equipment or supplies to ensure conformance to standards.
- Serve food or beverages.
- Train food preparation or food service personnel.
- Coordinate activities of food service staff.
- Determine prices for menu items.
- Spend Time Standing — 85% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Time Pressure — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 67% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 65% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 49% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 63% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With External Customers — 27% responded “Very important.”
- Physical Proximity — 44% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 52% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 63% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 40% responded “Very important results.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 31% responded “Some freedom.”
- Level of Competition — 34% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 40% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 39% responded “Some freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 26% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 33% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 34% responded “Every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|47||Less than high school diploma|
|46||High school diploma or equivalent|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: RC
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$11.27 hourly, $23,440 annual|
|Employment (2012)||409,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Average (8% to 14%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||134,600|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Cooks . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.