What Does A Food Service Worker Do?
Food service workers refer to those who work in the food and beverage industry. Their main tasks include preparing food, greeting customers and cleaning their workstations. They serve as frontline workers for cafeterias, restaurants and other food establishments. The specific work of a food service worker actually depends on the environment where they are working in.
Fast food restaurants, for example, typically hire combined food preparation and serving workers. Their work involves getting customers’ orders, receiving payment and preparing the food and beverages ordered. Those who man the counter are also responsible for filling glasses and cups with beverages as well as making other short orders like fries and hash browns. If they work as bus staff or as attendants in cafeterias or other dining rooms, the focus of their work is in cleaning the tables and setting these for customers and taking out the used dishes to the kitchen for washing. They also help bring dishes, condiments and food to the customers. Bus staff that work in bars ensure that the glasses are washed and all bar equipment are cleaned.
Restaurants and other food establishments also have hosts and hostesses who are responsible for greeting customers and escorting them to their tables. They manage reservations and see to it that guests are directed to tables that are suited to the number of people in their group and their preferences. They also take reservations by phone, put guests on waiting lists and answer customer concerns and accommodate requests. There are also food service workers working in the nonrestaurant setting. Their job is to deliver room service meals to hotel guests or to the sick confined in hospitals.
No matter where they work, food service workers are expected to look and be clean. They are expected to wear well-pressed and neat uniforms, keep their hair tied and their fingernails clean. They must also keep their workstations clean all the time. Thus, this means cleaning their equipment and their work area before the establishment opens, during their entire shift and at closing time.
Assisting customers is also part and parcel of the work of food service workers. They must listen to customers’ orders carefully so that if the latter have any special requests on how their food should be prepared (i.e. no sauce or less salt), for example, they can relay this to the kitchen staff so the right order can be served. They also see to it that any requests that the customers may have for additional servings and other needs are immediately addressed. If there are concerns that the client has that the food service worker cannot address, they bring this to the attention of the manager. This requires keen listening and excellent customer service skills. Food service workers must also see to it that their service stations supplies are well-stocked so that there won’t be any problems when there are already customers in the establishment. Because they often work as part of a team, food service workers must also make sure that they are flexible and able to blend with the other workers in the establishment.