Food Preparation and Serving Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food Career Video



Performs duties which combine preparing and serving food and nonalcoholic beverages.

This career is part of the Hospitality and Tourism cluster Restaurants and Food/Beverage Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Communicates with customers regarding orders, comments, and complaints.
  • Accepts payment from customers, and makes change as necessary.
  • Requests and records customer orders, and computes bills using cash registers, multi counting machines, or pencil and paper.
  • Prepares daily food items, and cooks simple foods and beverages, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, pizza, or coffee, using proper safety precautions and sanitary measures.
  • Cleans and organizes eating, service, and kitchen areas.
  • Monitors and orders supplies or food items and restocks as necessary to maintain inventory.
  • Serves customers in eating places that specialize in fast service and inexpensive carry-out food.
  • Collects and returns dirty dishes to the kitchen for washing.
  • Washes dishes, glassware, and silverware after meals.
  • Notifies kitchen personnel of shortages or special orders.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Car Hop -- Serves food and refreshments to patrons in cars.
  • Deli Clerk (Delicatessen Clerk) --
  • Deli Worker (Delicatessen Worker) --
  • Dietary Aide --
  • Food Service Assistant --
  • Food Service Worker -- Duties include responsibility for instructing subordinate food service workers in dining hall techniques and methods; for maintaining high standards of cleanliness; and for assuring that patrons are served in a pleasant and courteous manner.
  • Prep Cook (Preparation Cook) -- Assists in the preparation of meals by chopping vegetables, making salads, and putting together entrees.
  • Sandwich Artist -- Greets and serves guests, prepares food, maintains food safety and sanitation standards, and handles or processes light paperwork.
  • School Cafeteria Cook --
  • Server --