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Grill Cook Duties and Responsibilities

The exact responsibilities of grill cooks can vary depending on the type of food being grilled and the restaurant where they work. However, based on our research of current job listings, grill cooks typically perform these core duties:

Cook on the Grill The grill cook's primary task is preparing food on the grill. Grill cooks typically cook meat, but they may also be responsible for grilling other kinds of foods, like vegetables, depending on the restaurant's menu. The grill cook monitors the meat's temperature to ensure it is cooked safely.

Plate Food After the food is cooked, the grill cook is responsible for plating it and making it look good. Customers want their food to look appetizing, so the grill cook prepares food in an attractive manner.

Prepare Ingredients Before the food is cooked, grill cooks are responsible for preparing ingredients. This usually takes place before the restaurant opens and continues throughout the day as the grill cook uses ingredients.

Clean the Grill After the restaurant closes, and even throughout their shift, grill cooks are responsible for cleaning the grill. This involves scrubbing off remaining food and washing the general area. Cleanliness is of utmost importance in the kitchen, and the grill cook is responsible for making sure customers stay healthy.

Train New Grill Cooks When needed, experienced grill cooks may train new grill cooks when they are hired. This involves training them on how to use the kitchen equipment, prepare food, and cook food to healthy standards.


Grill Cook Skills and Qualifications

Grill cooks are quick on their feet and manage their time with maximum efficiency. They manage their grill and often cook multiple items at once. Grill cooks typically don't need any formal education more than a high school diploma or GED, but employers may require some level of experience in a relevant field. Successful grill cook candidates should also have the following skills:
  • Grill management - grill cooks should know everything that is on their grill and how long everything has been cooking to prevent over and undercooking
  • Menu memorization - knowing everything on the menu and how to prepare it is essential to the grill cook's role. Successful grill cooks should be able to memorize the menu in a short period of time
  • Physical stamina - grill cooks spend their entire shift on their feet, and they should be able to do that with ease. They typically also need to lift things up to 40 pounds
  • Time management - grill cooks need to manage their time efficiently to get food out to customers quickly. They should also use time management to keep food cooking appropriately
  • Communication skills - since grill cooks work with several different people at once, they need to be skilled communicators. They should also be skilled at conflict management to ensure interpersonal problems don't interrupt the kitchen's flow

Grill Cook Education and Training

Grill cooks don't need any formal education other than a high school diploma. However, grill cooks should go through restaurant-specific training to learn how to use the grill and other kitchen equipment.

Grill Cook Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), grill cooks make a median wage of $10.99 per hour. On the low end of the scale, grill cooks make less than $8.47 per hour, and on the high end, grill cooks make more than $16.29. Grill cooks may be eligible for company benefits, depending on time with the company and part- or full-time status. If they are eligible for benefits, grill cooks typically receive minimal health insurance as well as vacation and sick days. Over the next 10 years, grill cooks can expect to experience job growth of 6 percent. Customers will always eat out, so the demand for more grill cooks is always present.

Helpful Resources

If you want to become a grill cook, consider looking more into these helpful resources that we have compiled for you:

Fast Food QSR Professionals - this is a LinkedIn group for fast-food professionals looking to network or swap ideas. With nearly 1,000 members, this group provides a safe space for all fast-food workers who want to excel in their field

QSR - this magazine features a huge selection of articles relating to the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry and includes resources you can use to further your career

Amazing Ribs - dedicated to the science of barbeque and grilling, this is the perfect website for meat-cooking enthusiasts, and you are sure to learn something you can take back to the grill with you

Leadership Lessons from a Chef: Finding Time to Be Great - chef and author Charles Carroll helps you learn how to lead in the kitchen. As a grill cook, you may be asked to step up and lead the other cooks, and this book can help you find a method that works for you and your kitchen

Remarkable Service - offering a unique and comprehensive insight into the restaurant world, this is a helpful resource for anyone who works in a restaurant. Cooking is all about providing good service, and this book helps you understand more about that

100+ Interesting Facts About Meat - If you think you know about meat, think again. Seriously Smoked has over 100 interesting facts about meat that every cook should know.

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