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Details for 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.


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


  • 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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.
  • 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.
  • 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.



Related Careers

  • Bartenders
  • Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food
  • Cooks, Fast Food
  • Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria
  • Cooks, Short Order
  • Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Concession, and Coffee Shop
  • Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants and Bartender Helpers
  • Food Servers, Nonrestaurant
  • Waiters and Waitresses
Wages for this career
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