Summary Report for:
35-2021.00 - Food Preparation Workers
Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.
Sample of reported job titles: Diet Aide, Dietary Aide, Dietary Assistant, Food Preparer, Food Service Aide, Food Service Worker, Nutrition Aide, Pantry Cook, Prep Cook (Preparation Cook), Slicer
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 and sanitize work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, or silverware.
- Store food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage.
- Prepare a variety of foods, such as meats, vegetables, or desserts, according to customers' orders or supervisors' instructions, following approved procedures.
- Take and record temperature of food and food storage areas, such as refrigerators and freezers.
- Wash, peel, and cut various foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to prepare for cooking or serving.
- Place food trays over food warmers for immediate service, or store them in refrigerated storage cabinets.
- Portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to patrons.
- Weigh or measure ingredients.
- Mix ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads, vegetable salads, and pasta salads.
- Receive and store food supplies, equipment, and utensils in refrigerators, cupboards, and other storage areas.
- Remove trash and clean kitchen garbage containers.
- Assist cooks and kitchen staff with various tasks as needed, and provide cooks with needed items.
- Carry food supplies, equipment, and utensils to and from storage and work areas.
- Use manual or electric appliances to clean, peel, slice, and trim foods.
- Inform supervisors when equipment is not working properly and when food and supplies are getting low, and order needed items.
- Make special dressings and sauces as condiments for sandwiches.
- Stir and strain soups and sauces.
- Butcher and clean fowl, fish, poultry, and shellfish to prepare for cooking or serving.
- Keep records of the quantities of food used.
- Load dishes, glasses, and tableware into dishwashing machines.
- Distribute food to waiters and waitresses to serve to customers.
- Operate cash register, handle money, and give correct change.
- Cut, slice or grind meat, poultry, and seafood to prepare for cooking.
- Distribute menus to hospital patients, collect diet sheets, and deliver food trays and snacks to nursing units or directly to patients.
- Stock cupboards and refrigerators, and tend salad bars and buffet meals.
- Add cutlery, napkins, food, and other items to trays on assembly lines in hospitals, cafeterias, airline kitchens, and similar establishments.
- Package take-out foods or serve food to customers.
- Prepare and serve a variety of beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
- Vacuum dining area and sweep and mop kitchen floor.
- Scrape leftovers from dishes into garbage containers.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Belt conveyors
- Cappuccino or espresso machines — Cappuccino machines; Espresso machines
- Carbonated beverage dispenser — Soda machines
- Commercial use blenders — Blenders
- Commercial use broilers — Charbroilers
- Commercial use coffee grinders — Coffee grinders
- Commercial use coffee or iced tea makers — Coffee brewing machines
- Commercial use cotton candy machines or accessories — Cotton candy machines
- Commercial use cutlery — Knives
- Commercial use deep fryers — Electric fryers
- Commercial use dishwashers — Commercial dishwashers; Dishwashing machines
- Commercial use dough machines — Dough mixers
- Commercial use food choppers or cubers or dicers — Choppers; Dicers
- Commercial use food grinders — Electric meat grinders
- Commercial use food processors — Food processors
- Commercial use food slicers — Bread slicers; Electric meat and cheese slicers; Tomato slicers
- Commercial use food warmers — Steam tables
- Commercial use griddles — Griddles
- Commercial use grills — Grills
- Commercial use measuring cups — Measuring utensils
- Commercial use microwave ovens — Commercial microwave ovens
- Commercial use mixers — Commercial stand mixers; Mixing machines
- Commercial use ovens — Brick ovens; Commercial cooking ovens
- Commercial use pizza ovens — Pizza ovens
- Commercial use popcorn machines — Popcorn machines
- Commercial use ranges — Commercial ranges
- Commercial use rotisseries — Electronic chicken rotisseries
- Commercial use scales — Combination slicers/electronic portion scales; Food scales; Point of sale POS interface scales; Thermal label printing scales
- Commercial use steamers — Pressureless steamers
- Commercial use toasters — Toasters
- Commercial use woks — Oriental ranges
- Ice dispensers — Ice machines
- Ice shaver machines or accessories — Snow cone machines
- Milkshake machines — Milkshake and smoothie machines
- Non carbonated beverage dispenser — Drink dispensers
- Personal computers
- Point of sale POS terminal — Point of sale POS systems
- Roasting machinery — Roasting equipment
- Slush machines — Frozen drink machines
- Soft serve machines — Frozen custard machines; Soft-serve ice cream machines
Technology used in this occupation:
- Data base user interface and query software — CBORD NetRecipe; Culinary Software Services ChefTec; MicroBlast Recipe Wizard for Windows; ValuSoft MasterCook (see all 11 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- 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).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
- 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Detailed Work Activities
- Process customer bills or payments.
- Cook foods.
- Arrange food for serving.
- Clean food preparation areas, facilities, or equipment.
- Present food or beverage information or menus to customers.
- Prepare foods for cooking or serving.
- Record operational or production data.
- Clean tableware.
- Stock serving stations or dining areas with food or supplies.
- Operate cash registers.
- Cut cooked or raw foods.
- Store supplies or goods in kitchens or storage areas.
- Serve food or beverages.
- Prepare hot or cold beverages.
- Clean food service areas.
- Assess equipment functioning.
- Package food or supplies.
- Move equipment, supplies or food to required locations.
- Mix ingredients.
- Measure ingredients.
- Remove trash.
- Assist chefs or caterers with food or drink preparation.
- Spend Time Standing — 97% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Contact With Others — 66% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Physical Proximity — 67% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 48% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Time Pressure — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 61% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 41% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 53% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
- Telephone — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 32% responded “Minor results.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Important.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 30% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 25% responded “Some freedom.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 25% responded “High responsibility.”
|Title||Job Zone One: Little or No Preparation Needed|
|Education||Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.|
|Related Experience||Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include taxi drivers, amusement and recreation attendants, counter and rental clerks, nonfarm animal caretakers, continuous mining machine operators, and waiters/waitresses.|
|SVP Range||(Below 4.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|54||Less than high school diploma|
|30||High school diploma or equivalent|
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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- 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.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- 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.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
- 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.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$9.40 hourly, $19,560 annual|
|Employment (2014)||874,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Average (5% to 8%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||298,300|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "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.
- Food preparation workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.
- American Culinary Federation (ACF) , 180 Center Pl. Way, St. Augustine, FL 32095. Phone: (800) 624-9458. Fax: (904) 825-4758.
- International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) , 2613 N. Parham Rd., 2nd Floor, Richmond, VA 23294-4442. Phone: (804) 346-4800. Fax: (804) 346-5009.
- National Restaurant Association (NRA) , 1200 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: (202) 331-5900.