9 Popular Food Preparation Jobs

Food Preparation involves Back of House entry-level workers that cook, bake, or otherwise prepare food, including an Expeditor that typically checks quality/appearance and acts as a liaison between Front & Back of House. If you are looking to grow a career in Food Service & Preparation, you will find popular positions detailing education, experience, skills, salary expectations, and requirements below.


Cook

A Cook prepares meals and food items using recipes developed by the firm or location where they work. They are responsible for completing all tasks necessary to guarantee that a meal is properly cooked and served within a set time range. Their responsibilities include ensuring that food amounts and presentation fit corporate standards, quickly resolving client order issues, and adhering to food health and safety rules.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED; professional training from a culinary school is beneficial.

Licensing Requirements: ServSafe Manager Certification and Food Handler’s Permit.

Experience: Cook positions typically require 2 years of related experience.

Skills: Communication, Interpersonal Skills, Manual Dexterity, Organizational Skills, and Time Management

Salary (Nationwide): A Cook makes an average base pay of $23K per year or $12 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$31,000$2,583$596$15
75th Percentile$27,000$2,250$519$13
Average$23,979$1,998$461$12
25th Percentile$20,500$1,708$394$10
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Cook-Salary



Line Cook

A Line Cook is responsible for food preparation and will cook assigned foods during service and adhere to mandatory food safety standards and guidelines. They combine the efforts of the Chef to produce recipes and new menu items. Their day-to-day responsibilities include chopping vegetables, breaking down meat into serving sizes, making sauces, and dividing herbs before meal service.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED; professional training from a culinary school is beneficial.

Experience: Line Cook positions typically require a minimum of 1-2+ years experience in a similar role.

Skills: Attention to Detail, Communication, Cooking Experience, Interpersonal Skills, Organizational Skills, and Time Management

Salary (Nationwide): A Line Cook makes an average base pay of $27K per year or $13 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$34,000$2,833$653$16
75th Percentile$30,500$2,541$586$15
Average$27,104$2,258$521$13
25th Percentile$23,000$1,916$442$11
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Line-Cook-Salary



Prep Cook

A Prep Cook assists kitchen staff with food and ingredient preparation to ensure that the kitchen remains efficient in creating and delivering dishes to customers. Their responsibilities include organizing and labeling storage items, chopping ingredients, and sanitizing their workstation during and after service.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED; professional training from a culinary school is beneficial.

Experience: Prep Cook positions typically don’t require proven experience, however, experience Prep Cook’s require no additional on-the-job training.

Skills: Attention to Detail, Communication, Manual Dexterity, Organizational Skills, and Time Management

Salary (Nationwide): A Prep Cook makes an average base pay of $25K per year or $12 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$32,500$2,708$625$16
75th Percentile$29,000$2,416$557$14
Average$25,676$2,139$493$12
25th Percentile$22,000$1,833$423$11
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Prep-Cook-Salary



Baker

A Baker, also known as a Pastry Chef, is responsible for preparing baked goods for customers. They may be in charge of a large team of employees or work independently. Their general responsibilities include developing recipes, ordering ingredients, and coordinating baking schedules to produce bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, and other goods.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED; professional training from a culinary school is beneficial.

Licensing Requirements: ServSafe Manager Certification and Food Handler’s Permit.

Experience: Baker positions typically require a minimum of 2 years of baking experience.

Skills: Attention to Detail, Communication, Management, Planning Skills, Problem Solving, and Time and Resource Management

Salary (Nationwide): A Baker position makes an average base pay of $27K per year or $13 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$34,500$2,875$663$17
75th Percentile$30,000$2,500$576$14
Average$27,380$2,281$526$13
25th Percentile$23,000$1,916$442$11
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Baker-Salary



Kitchen Staff

The Kitchen Staff frequently assists head cooks, line cooks, management, and waitstaff with various aspects of meal preparation. Their responsibilities include basic food prep, meal presentation, proper food storage, cleaning, and kitchen setup and breakdown.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED.

Experience: Kitchen Staff positions typically require a minimum of 1+ year of experience in the food service industry.

Skills: Customer Service, Interpersonal Skills, Multitasking, Organizational Skills, and Time Management

Salary (Nationwide): A Kitchen Staff member makes an average base pay of $24K per year or $12 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$31,000$2,583$596$15
75th Percentile$27,000$2,250$519$13
Average$24,383$2,031$468$12
25th Percentile$21,000$1,750$403$10
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Kitchen-Staff-Salary



Food Service

Food Service worker is responsible for the entire meal preparation process and ensures that every meal is of the highest quality. Their primary responsibilities include cleaning the stovetop for cooks, adhering to food safety regulations, assisting cooks with meal preparation, and creating simple dishes. They must also help in keeping the kitchen orderly and clean.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED.

Licensing Requirements: ServSafe Manager Certification and Food Handler’s Permit.

Experience: Food Service positions require 6+ months of industry experience.

Skills: Attention to Detail, Communication, Customer Service, and Organizational Skills.

Salary (Nationwide): A Food Service Worker makes an average base pay of $24K per year or $12 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$31,500$2,625$606$15
75th Percentile$26,000$2,167$500$12
Average$24,049$2,004$462$12
25th Percentile$20,500$1,708$394$10
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Food-Service-Salary



Grill Cook

A Grill Cook, also known as a Grillardin or Grill Chef, prepares meals for customers using electric, gas, or fire grills. Their duties include preparing ingredients, notifying waitstaff when orders are ready, and cleaning the grill at the end of each shift. They also keep an eye on inventory to ensure that they have enough supplies at all times.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED.

Experience: Grill Cook positions typically require 0-1+ years of experience, preferably as a cook with a focus on grilling.

Skills: Communication, Customer Service, Interpersonal Skills, Multitasking, Organizational Skills, and Time Management

Salary (Nationwide): A Grill Cook makes an average base pay of $26K per year or $13 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$31,500$2,625$605$15
75th Percentile$29,000$2,416$557$14
Average$26,013$2,167$500$13
25th Percentile$22,500$1,875$432$11
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Grill-Cook-Salary



Expeditor

A Food Expeditor works in restaurants to ensure a smooth flow from the front to the back of the house. They control the kitchen’s tempo to ensure that all dishes are appropriately prepared and served at the proper temperatures. They also make sure that each table receives all of their food at the same time.

Education/Degree Level: Minimum of a high school diploma or GED.

Licensing Requirements: Food Handler’s Permit may be required.

Experience: Food Expeditor positions typically require 0-1+ years of relevant restaurant experience prior to hiring.

Skills: Attention to Detail, Communication, Customer Service, Leadership, Multitasking, Organizational Skills, and Time Management

Salary (Nationwide): An Expeditor makes an average base pay of $33K per year or $16 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$52,000$4,333$1,000$25
75th Percentile$39,500$3,291$759$19
Average$33,521$2,793$644$16
25th Percentile$23,500$1,958$451$11
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Expeditor-Salary



Chef

A Chef or head Cook supervises the preparation and cooking of food at restaurants and other establishments. Chefs keep a kitchen running smoothly by managing the kitchen staff to prepare food as quickly and as deliciously as possible, keeping records, ordering inventory, and enforcing food safety standards.

Education/Degree Level: Culinary Degree is preferred.

Experience: Chef positions typically have 5+ years of real-world experience combined with their education.

Skills: Attention to Detail, Customer Service, Interpersonal Skills, Leadership, Multitasking, Organizational Skills, and Time Management

Salary (Nationwide): A Chef makes an average base pay of $31K per year or $15 per hour.

 Annual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Top Earners$43,000$3,583$826$21
75th Percentile$35,500$2,958$682$17
Average$31,514$2,626$606$15
25th Percentile$25,000$2,083$480$12
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Chef-Salary


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