Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (NOC 6711)

About this job

Workers in this group include counter attendants, food preparers, kitchen helpers, food service helpers and dishwashers.

Counter attendants and food preparers:

  • take customer orders, accept payment and serve customers at food counters
  • may also prepare, heat and finish cooking simple food items

Kitchen helpers, food service helpers and dishwashers:

  • usually clear tables, clean kitchen areas and wash dishes
  • help workers who prepare or serve food and beverages

Workers in this group:

  • are hired by small, medium and large businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, hotels, fast food outlets, cafeterias and hospitals
  • must be able multi-task and remember customer orders
  • must have excellent customer service skills
Common job titles
  • attendant, hotel guest services
  • barista
  • bus boy / bus girl
  • dietary aide
  • dishwasher
  • expediter - food services

Duties

The responsibilities and duties of workers can overlap considerably depending on the business.

Food service counter attendants and food preparers:

  • use a cash register to take customer orders, accept payment and give change
  • answer customer questions about menu items and serve customers at counters or buffet tables
  • may also prepare food such as sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, milkshakes, ice cream dishes and beverages, including coffee-type drinks
  • clean, peel, slice and trim food items using manual and electric appliances
  • may also portion and wrap food or put it on plates for service to patrons and package take-out food
  • stock refrigerators, cupboards and salad bars
  • keep records of the quantities of food used
  • clean and sanitize kitchen areas including, work surfaces, cupboards and storage areas, as well as dispose of kitchen garbage
  • may use manual and electric appliances to clean, including operating a dishwasher
  • often clear and clean tables, trays and chairs
  • reset tables with clean tablecloths, napkins, silverware, glasses and dishes

Kitchen helpers:

  • wash work tables, meat blocks, cupboards, walls and appliances
  • unpack and store supplies in refrigerators, cupboards and storage areas and bring supplies from storage areas to work areas
  • help to wash, peel and prepare basic food items
  • may also separate and remove and clear kitchen garbage, sweep and mop floors, and perform other duties to assist cook and kitchen staff
  • clear and clean tables and trays in eating establishments
  • bring clean dishes, flatware and other items to serving areas and set tables
  • remove dishes before and after courses and perform other duties such as scraping and stacking dishes, carrying linen to and from laundry area and running errands
  • clean kitchen work areas, equipment, utensils and dishes
  • refill condiments and other supplies at tables and in serving areas
  • may also weigh, measure and prepare ingredients for complex dishes, stir and strain soups, and/or grind meats, poultry and seafood

Food service helpers:

  • clear and clean tables and trays in eating establishments
  • bring clean dishes, flatware and other items to serving areas and set tables
  • remove dishes before and after courses and perform other duties such as scraping and stacking dishes, carrying linen to and from laundry area and running errands
  • clean kitchen work areas, equipment, utensils and dishes
  • refill condiments and other supplies at tables and in serving areas
  • may also weigh, measure and prepare ingredients for complex dishes, stir and strain soups, and/or grind meats, poultry and seafood

Dishwashers:

  • wash dishes, glassware, flatware, pots and pans either with a dishwasher or by hand
  • place dishes in storage areas, sweep and scrub floors, sort and remove garbage and wash garbage cans
  • may also prepare individual place settings, clean and prepare food, keep kitchen work areas clean and orderly
  • load and unload trucks picking up or delivering food and supplies

Work environment

Food service counter attendants and food preparers work days, evenings weekends and holidays. Hours tend to be irregular but flexible and split shifts are common.

Food service counter attendants and food preparers typically stand for long periods of time and often carry heavy trays. They work in kitchens that are hot, humid and fast-paced.

New technology has reduced the manual nature of the job with machines that can do some of the food and coffee preparation. This often means that tasks require fewer people and less hands-on involvement from workers.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

There is a great deal of movement between jobs in this group.

Movement into other occupations within food preparation and service, such as cook or waiter, is possible with further training and experience. Individuals may also move into shift supervisor and management positions.

Additional resources

Additional resources are not currently available for this career.