Summary Report for:
51-3093.00 - Food Cooking Machine Operators and Tenders
Operate or tend cooking equipment, such as steam cooking vats, deep fry cookers, pressure cookers, kettles, and boilers, to prepare food products.
Sample of reported job titles: Cook, Fryer Operator, Kettle Fry Cook Operator, Machine Operator, Master Cook, Mogul Operator, Peeler Operator, Processing Operator, Processor, Retort Operator
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
- Tend or operate and control equipment such as kettles, cookers, vats and tanks, and boilers, to cook ingredients or prepare products for further processing.
- Set temperature, pressure, and time controls, and start conveyers, machines, or pumps.
- Clean, wash, and sterilize equipment and cooking area, using water hoses, cleaning or sterilizing solutions, or rinses.
- Observe gauges, dials, and product characteristics, and adjust controls to maintain appropriate temperature, pressure, and flow of ingredients.
- Listen for malfunction alarms, and shut down equipment and notify supervisors when necessary.
- Remove cooked material or products from equipment.
- Turn valves or start pumps to add ingredients or drain products from equipment and to transfer products for storage, cooling, or further processing.
- Measure or weigh ingredients, using scales or measuring containers.
- Read work orders, recipes, or formulas to determine cooking times and temperatures, and ingredient specifications.
- Collect and examine product samples during production to test them for quality, color, content, consistency, viscosity, acidity, or specific gravity.
- Notify or signal other workers to operate equipment or when processing is complete.
- Record production and test data, such as processing steps, temperature and steam readings, cooking time, batches processed, and test results.
- Admit required amounts of water, steam, cooking oils, or compressed air into equipment, such as by opening water valves to cool mixtures to the desired consistency.
- Pour, dump, or load prescribed quantities of ingredients or products into cooking equipment, manually or using a hoist.
- Place products on conveyors or carts, and monitor product flow.
- Activate agitators and paddles to mix or stir ingredients, stopping machines when ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Operate auxiliary machines and equipment, such as grinders, canners, and molding presses, to prepare or further process products.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Bucket conveyors — Bucket belt conveyors
- Commercial use food grinders — Grinders
- Conveyor feeders — Electromagnetic vibratory feeders
- Cooking machinery — Boilers; Continuous baking ovens; Vacuum batch cookers; Water immersion retorts (see all 11 examples)
- Filling machinery — Canners
- Floor or platform scales — Ingredient scales
- Forming machine — Molding machines; Molding presses
- Hand trucks or accessories — Hand trucks
- Hoists — Chain hoists
- Roasting machinery — Hot oil roasting equipment; Roasting equipment
- Sifting machinery — Combination feeders
- Smoking machinery — Smoke generators; Smoking equipment
- Steaming machinery — Steam air retorts; Steam kettles; Steam retorts; Water spray retorts
- Water hoses
- 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.
- 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.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- 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.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- 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.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- 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).
- 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.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- 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.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- 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.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- 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.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- 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.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- 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.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
- Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
- Collect samples of materials or products for testing.
- Monitor instruments to ensure proper production conditions.
- Record operational or production data.
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Adjust temperature controls of ovens or other heating equipment.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate coolant flow.
- Operate cooking, baking, or other food preparation equipment.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Operate mixing equipment.
- Inspect food products.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Clean work areas.
- Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
- Operate pumping systems or equipment.
- Sterilize food cooking or processing equipment.
- Lift materials or workpieces using cranes or other lifting equipment.
- Signal others to coordinate work activities.
- Move products, materials, or equipment between work areas.
- Contact With Others — 63% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 46% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Standing — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 39% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Time Pressure — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 63% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 46% responded “Very important results.”
- Physical Proximity — 40% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 49% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 42% responded “Very important.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 34% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 72% responded “40 hours.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 32% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 35% responded “Some freedom.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 30% responded “High responsibility.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 43% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Consequence of Error — 24% responded “Serious.”
- Degree of Automation — 33% responded “Moderately automated.”
- Exposed to High Places — 32% responded “Never.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 32% responded “Never.”
|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|
|Not available||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Not available||Less than high school diploma|
|Not available||Some college, no degree|
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.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- 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.
- 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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- 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.
- 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)||$13.26 hourly, $27,590 annual|
|Employment (2014)||38,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Little or no change (-1% to 1%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||8,300|
|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 and tobacco processing workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.