Industries & Professions /
Food Service Workers
Food service workers have a variety of job duties depending on the size and kind of food establishment in which they are employed. In small restaurants, sandwich shops, grills, diners, fast food outlets, and cafeterias, customers are usually looking for hot food and quick service. Informal waiters, servers, and lunchroom or coffee shop counter attendants work to satisfy patrons and give them the kind of attention that will make them repeat customers. They take customers' orders, serve food and beverages, calculate bills, and sometimes collect money. Between serving customers, waiters in small establishments may clear and clean tables and counters, replenish supplies, and set up table service for future customers. When business is slow, they spend some time cleaning the serving area and equipment such as coffee machines and blenders. Combined food preparation and serving workers work specifically at fast food establishments. They are the people who take food and drink orders from customers at the counter or drive-through window. They also bring the ordered items to the customers and take payment. During quiet periods at the restaurant, they may be responsible for such chores as making coffee, cooking french fries, or cleaning tables. Counter attendants in lunchrooms, coffee shops, and diners often do some simple cooking tasks, such as making sandwiches, salads, and cold drinks and preparing ice cream dishes. They also may have to help with such tasks as cleaning kitchen equipment, sweeping and mopping floors, and carrying out trash. Other workers in this category include cafeteria counter attendants, supervisors, canteen operators, and fountain servers.