Food Service Attendant Job Description

Food service attendants typically work in restaurants, bars, and cafés, taking orders and preparing menus. This job involves answering customer queries, maintaining the cleanliness of the premises, and checking stock levels. Food service attendants usually work shifts in small teams under the guidance of a supervisor or manager. The hours for this job depend on the company, but they can vary from regular business hours to overnight or weekend work. Sometimes food service attendant roles are temporary or seasonal. Applicants should be excellent communicators, have great attention to detail, enjoy working as part of a team, and have good math skills.


Food Service Attendant Duties and Responsibilities

The type of organization a food service attendant works for determines their exact duties. Based on job listings we analyzed, those responsibilities typically involve:

Plan Meals

Food service attendants formulate menus depending on the required nutritional needs and plan meals accordingly, following the necessary instructions.

Prepare Food Items

Preparing ingredients and food items is a key part of a food service attendant’s job, as is assembling portions to fit the menu and making sure that food is correctly arranged on the plate or platter.

Ensure the Kitchen Is Clean

Food service attendants must adhere to health and safety regulations, so they ensure the food preparation areas remain clean and tidy at all times to maintain the appropriate sanitation guidelines.

Manage Food Inventory

From disposing of expired products to checking the stock of supplies, food service attendants manage the inventory of food items and order supplies when necessary.

Take Payments

Food service attendants often manage the cash registers, taking payments and processing card transactions as well as managing account books. For this aspect of the job, they carry out basic bookkeeping duties to ensure accurate records are kept.


Food Service Attendant Skills and Qualifications

Food service attendants should be able to demonstrate serving skills, the ability to work well as part of a team, and proficiency with basic math. Employers typically require a high school diploma as well as the following abilities:

  • Customer service – from delivering food to the right person to answering customer questions, customer service skills are key to this job
  • Mathematics – food service attendants need great math skills to manage inventory, operate cash registers, and perform basic bookkeeping duties
  • Attention to detail – this job requires the ability to inspect food items and equipment on a constant basis; attention to detail also ensures cleanliness standards and regulations are met
  • Teamwork – food service attendants must remain professional when working with customers and colleagues alike, as they regularly work with people from different backgrounds
  • Listening skills – food service attendants must follow instructions efficiently, so strong and active listening skills are essential to this role


Food Service Attendant Education and Training

The typical minimum requirement to become a food service attendant is a high school diploma, although some employers hire candidates without one. Some organizations use trial periods to give applicants a chance to demonstrate their skills and ability to follow instructions. If alcohol is served at the establishment, there may be an age requirement, but this varies by state. Resumes should display basic math and communication skills, and previous retail or food industry experience is advantageous.


Food Service Attendant Salary and Outlook

The median hourly salary for food service attendants is $9.81, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Food service attendants in the 10th percentile earn around $8.23 an hour, while the highest paid earn over $13.60 an hour. Many people in this job receive no health benefits, but most do receive medical coverage, and nearly 25 percent have dental coverage. The BLS predicts that this sector will grow 14 percent through 2026.


Helpful Resources

We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about working as a food service attendant:

Food and Beverage Industry Professionals Group – this informal LinkedIn group for networking with others in the food and beverage sector has more than 47,000 members. Designed to help people from around the world discuss trends and topics related to food service, this group is a great way to learn more about the industry

Food Service Worker Passbook – this book prepares readers for food service worker exams and offers guidance in subjects such as food preparation, sanitation, and storage

Food and Beverage Service – originally written for anyone looking to work their way up in the food and beverage service sector, this book has been updated to focus on the international nature of the hospitality industry. It covers a wide range of topics, including personal skills, service areas, menu knowledge, and specialized forms of service

The Food Service Blog – this blog covers a variety of subjects and offers a unique perspective on service, food trends, and distribution


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