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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

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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

Tasks

  • Clean and sanitize work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, or silverware. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Store food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Prepare a variety of foods, such as meats, vegetables, or desserts, according to customers' orders or supervisors' instructions, following approved procedures. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Take and record temperature of food and food storage areas, such as refrigerators and freezers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Wash, peel, and cut various foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to prepare for cooking or serving. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Place food trays over food warmers for immediate service, or store them in refrigerated storage cabinets. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to patrons. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Weigh or measure ingredients. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Mix ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads, vegetable salads, and pasta salads. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Receive and store food supplies, equipment, and utensils in refrigerators, cupboards, and other storage areas. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Remove trash and clean kitchen garbage containers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Assist cooks and kitchen staff with various tasks as needed, and provide cooks with needed items. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Carry food supplies, equipment, and utensils to and from storage and work areas. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Use manual or electric appliances to clean, peel, slice, and trim foods. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Inform supervisors when equipment is not working properly and when food and supplies are getting low, and order needed items. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Make special dressings and sauces as condiments for sandwiches. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Stir and strain soups and sauces. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Butcher and clean fowl, fish, poultry, and shellfish to prepare for cooking or serving. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Keep records of the quantities of food used. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Load dishes, glasses, and tableware into dishwashing machines. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Distribute food to waiters and waitresses to serve to customers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate cash register, handle money, and give correct change. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Cut, slice or grind meat, poultry, and seafood to prepare for cooking. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Distribute menus to hospital patients, collect diet sheets, and deliver food trays and snacks to nursing units or directly to patients. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Stock cupboards and refrigerators, and tend salad bars and buffet meals. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Add cutlery, napkins, food, and other items to trays on assembly lines in hospitals, cafeterias, airline kitchens, and similar establishments. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Package take-out foods or serve food to customers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Prepare and serve a variety of beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Vacuum dining area and sweep and mop kitchen floor. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Scrape leftovers from dishes into garbage containers. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Belt conveyors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Cappuccino or espresso machines — Cappuccino machines; Espresso machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Carbonated beverage dispenser — Soda machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use blenders — Blenders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use broilers — Charbroilers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use coffee grinders — Coffee grinders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use coffee or iced tea makers — Coffee brewing machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use cotton candy machines or accessories — Cotton candy machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use cutlery — Knives See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use deep fryers — Electric fryers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use dishwashers — Commercial dishwashers; Dishwashing machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use dough machines — Dough mixers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use food choppers or cubers or dicers — Choppers; Dicers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use food grinders — Electric meat grinders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use food processors — Food processors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use food slicers — Bread slicers; Electric meat and cheese slicers; Tomato slicers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use food warmers — Steam tables See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use griddles — Griddles See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use grills — Grills See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use measuring cups — Measuring utensils See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use microwave ovens — Commercial microwave ovens See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use mixers — Commercial stand mixers; Mixing machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use ovens — Brick ovens; Commercial cooking ovens See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use pizza ovens — Pizza ovens See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use popcorn machines — Popcorn machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use ranges — Commercial ranges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use rotisseries — Electronic chicken rotisseries See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use scales — Combination slicers/electronic portion scales; Food scales; Point of sale POS interface scales; Thermal label printing scales See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use steamers — Pressureless steamers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use toasters — Toasters See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Commercial use woks — Oriental ranges See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ice dispensers — Ice machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Ice shaver machines or accessories — Snow cone machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Milkshake machines — Milkshake and smoothie machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Non carbonated beverage dispenser — Drink dispensers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Point of sale POS terminal — Point of sale POS systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Roasting machinery — Roasting equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Slush machines — Frozen drink machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Soft serve machines — Frozen custard machines; Soft-serve ice cream machines See more occupations related to this tool.

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) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • 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. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • 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). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • 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. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Process customer bills or payments. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Cook foods. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Arrange food for serving. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Clean food preparation areas, facilities, or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Present food or beverage information or menus to customers. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare foods for cooking or serving. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Clean tableware. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Record operational or production data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Stock serving stations or dining areas with food or supplies. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate cash registers. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Cut cooked or raw foods. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Store supplies or goods in kitchens or storage areas. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Serve food or beverages. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Clean food service areas. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare hot or cold beverages. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Assess equipment functioning. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Package food or supplies. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Move equipment, supplies or food to required locations. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Mix ingredients. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Measure ingredients. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Remove trash. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Assist chefs or caterers with food or drink preparation. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Spend Time Standing — 97% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 66% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 67% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 57% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 48% responded “Very high responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 47% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 61% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 41% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 45% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 53% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 46% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 42% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 61% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 47% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 41% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 40% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 32% responded “Minor results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 30% responded “Less than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 25% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 25% responded “High responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

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)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
54   Less than high school diploma
30   High school diploma or equivalent Help
7   Doctoral degree

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Credentials

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Interests

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. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • 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. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • 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. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $9.40 hourly, $19,560 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 808,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 260,500
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "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.

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Job Openings on the Web

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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.

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