Food preparation workers work in cafeterias and restaurants under the direction of cooks, chefs, and food service managers. They prepare cold foods, slice meat, peel and cut vegetables, brew coffee or tea, and more. When needed, they retrieve food, clean and put away equipment, and unload deliveries. They may also use kitchen equipment, such as dishwashers, blenders, slicers, or grinders. Some food preparation workers stock and operate soda machines, coffeemakers, and espresso machines. The work is often strenuous. Workers may stand for hours at a time cleaning or preparing ingredients. Some may be required to lift and carry heavy pots or supplies. In fast-paced kitchens, staff must work together to ensure dishes are prepared quickly and properly. Kitchens have many potential safety hazards and food preparation workers have a high rate of minor injuries. To reduce risks, workers often wear gloves, aprons, and nonslip shoes. About half of food preparation workers work part time early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holiday shifts are common. Those working in school cafeterias generally have more regular hours, with time off during school vacations. Seasonal employment is also available. Food preparation workers typically learn through on-the-job training that covers how to handle and prepare food, as well as basic sanitation and workplace safety regulations. No formal education or previous work experience is required.
What they do:
Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.
On the job, you would:
Clean and sanitize work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, or silverware.
Store food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage.
Portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to patrons.
Safety and Government
public safety and security
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
changing what is done based on other people's actions
looking for ways to help people
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
communicate by speaking
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer based training software
Data base user interface and query software
MicroBlast Recipe Wizard for Windows
high school diploma/GED or no high school diploma/GED usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.