Food Preparation Workers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- There are no formal education requirements for becoming a food preparation worker.
- Training Required
- Most food preparation workers learn through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting several weeks. Trainees typically start by working under the supervision of an experienced worker, who teaches them basic kitchen duties. Training also may include basic sanitation and workplace safety regulations, as well as instructions on how to handle and prepare food.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 8% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Advancement opportunities for food preparation workers depend on their training and work experience. Many food preparation workers advance to assistant or line cook positions as they learn basic cooking skills.
- Median pay: How much do Food Preparation Workers make?
- $21,440 Annual Salary
- $10.31 per hour
Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers. Food preparation workers prepare cold foods, slice meat, peel and cut vegetables, brew coffee or tea, and perform many other food service tasks.
What do Food Preparation Workers do?
Food preparation workers typically do the following:
- Clean and sanitize work areas, equipment, utensils, and dishes
- Weigh or measure ingredients, such as meats and liquids
- Prepare fruit and vegetables for cooking
- Cut meats, poultry, and seafood and prepare them for cooking
- Mix ingredients for salads
- Store food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage
- Take and record the temperature of food and food storage areas
- Place food trays over food warmers for immediate service
Food preparation workers perform routine, repetitive tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers. To help cooks and other kitchen staff, they prepare ingredients for dishes by slicing and dicing vegetables and by making salads and cold food items. Other common duties include keeping salad bars and buffet tables stocked and clean.
Food preparation workers retrieve pots and pans, clean and store kitchen equipment, and unload and store food supplies. When needed, they retrieve food and equipment for cooks and chefs. In some kitchens, food preparation workers use a variety of commercial kitchen equipment, such as commercial dishwashers, blenders, slicers, or grinders.
In restaurants, workers stock and use soda machines, coffeemakers, and espresso machines to prepare beverages for customers.
Careers for Food Preparation Workers
- Deli clerks
- Deli slicers
- Food preparers
- Fruit and vegetable parers
- Salad makers
- Sandwich makers