A food service worker assists in the preparation and serving of food items in restaurants and other food establishments. You can expect to work as part of a team who will be greeting customers and taking their orders as soon as they enter the food establishment. You will also be relaying these orders to the kitchen staff who will prepare it.
Aside from attending to customers, you will also be assigned to prepare such food items as sandwiches and coffee depending on the restaurant’s menu. You will also be filling drinking cups with soda, coffee and other beverages. You may also be tasked with serving customers with their orders. If you work in a fast food setting, you will also be receiving customers’ payments. Food service workers who work in restaurant settings are also tasked with clearing and setting tables to get them ready for the next customers.
Since you will be working in the food and beverage industry, you are expected to keep your workstation clean. You may also have to clean spills made by customers. Most of the cleaning that you will be doing will be made before and after the establishment opens, although you will still be expected to maintain cleanliness in your area all throughout your shift.
To succeed as a food service worker, you need to genuinely love working with people. You will be interacting with customers most of the time so providing them with excellent customer service skills is a must so they will continue to patronize and recommend the establishment you work in. You also need to possess excellent communication skills since you need to be able to get orders and relay them correctly to those who will be preparing the food. You also need to be physically fit and healthy for this job since you will be on your feet most of the time and will be carrying loaded trays and cleaning your work area.
Why Become A Food Service Worker
The salary isn’t the main motivation for entering this job since most are paid just a little higher than the federal minimum wage. However, the job is fairly easy to get since it does not have any minimum educational requirements. It is also a good source of part-time work for those who want to augment their income with another job or those who are still trying to complete their college degree. There are also good job opportunities in this field in the next few years.
Food service workers are hired by restaurants (both full service and fast food), cafeterias and other food establishments. Half of them work part-time. Due to the long-operating hours of these establishments, working during evenings, weekends and holidays is common. School cafeteria food service workers on the other hand, may have more regular hours and work only when school is in operation. Food service workers experience a high rate of injuries and illnesses compared to other occupations since they may have to deal with hot ovens, knives and slippery floors. They could get cut and burned if they are not careful. To minimize these risks, they are often required to wear aprons and gloves and wear nonslip footwear.
Food Service Worker Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of food and beverage serving workers is $20,020 which translates to an average of $9.63 per hour. Nonrestaurant food servers were paid the highest among the workers under this category, receiving a mean annual wage of $22,400 or 10.77 per hour. They are followed by bartenders who got $21,770 a year or $10.46 per hour and then by waiters and waitresses who got $20,880 annually or $10.04 per hour. Fast food and counter workers, meanwhile, were paid $18,980 or $9.13 per hour.
Food Service Worker Career Outlook
The job outlook for food and beverage serving workers is expected to be positive in the next few years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that for the period covering 2012 to 2022, the employment growth is projected to rise 12 percent, a rate that is about as fast as the national average. Among these workers, the best job opportunities can be found in nonrestaurant food service companies that are set to experience a 20 percent growth rate in the same time period. The demand for these workers will be fueled by the growing population which will result to more restaurants and food businesses opening all over the country.
Food Service Worker Degree
There are no strict degree requirements for those wishing to work as food service workers. However, employers typically provide on-the-job training to new employees before they start. Some also give employees instructional booklets or put their training materials online for the new hires to study. In most cases, however, they learn the skills they need to do the job by observing and working with more experienced employees.