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Food Expeditor Duties and Responsibilities

Food expeditors work in all types of kitchens, from casual dining establishments to five-star restaurants offering the finest cuisine. Regardless of the menu, all food expeditors share core tasks:

Maintain Verbal Communication Food expeditors call out orders to chefs, check on the status of dishes, and call for waitstaff when food is ready to serve.

Keep Staff Well-Informed Food expeditors alert the waitstaff when the kitchen is out of a specific ingredient and relay special food requests from the waitstaff to the kitchen.

Monitor Portion Control Food expeditors are responsible for the food portions of finished dishes, ensuring they adhere to restaurant standards.

Meet Presentation Standards Food expeditors inspect every plate to make sure the proper garnishes have been applied and that dishes are free of smudges and spills before being delivered to the customer.

Keep Kitchen Areas Clean Food expeditors maintain cleanliness and order in all cooking, prep, and food storage areas, keeping these areas neat, well organized, and stocked with ingredients.

Adhere to Sanitation Standards Food expeditors make sure all kitchen and waitstaff follow sanitation standards keeping themselves, their tools, and their work areas clean and presentable.

Assist All Staff Food expeditors pitch in to help all staff as needed—cooking and prepping food, serving plates of food, and assisting with management tasks restaurant-wide.

Address Customer Complaints Food expeditors serve as a face for the kitchen staff, addressing customer complains and finding solutions that will satisfy customers.


Food Expeditor Skills and Qualifications

Food expeditors are professionals who work well in a fast-paced environment while managing multiple tasks and staff members. Employers look for candidates who can handle a high-pressure work environment, seeking out those who display the skills needed to succeed as a food expeditor:
  • Communication - to relay information between dining and kitchen areas, and to assist customers
  • Leadership ability - food expeditors keep kitchen staff working within deadlines, give orders to waitstaff, and manage issues as they arise in the kitchen and dining areas
  • Time management - to ensure that all dishes in an order are ready to serve at the same time and at the right temperature
  • Customer service - food expeditors may be needed to serve food to customers and speak with customers who are unhappy
  • Detail-oriented - food expeditors must spot even the smallest imperfections and every plate of food served to customers must meet all restaurant standards
  • Multi-tasking - food expeditors maintain composure while managing multiple staff members, food orders, and kitchen duties

Food Expeditor Education and Training

Employers look for food expeditors who have a high school education or an equivalent degree. Specialized culinary training is not required, though it can give candidates an edge over others applying for the same job. Primarily, employers seek food expeditors who have previous restaurant work experience. Food expeditors receive a one- to two-week training period where they perform the job under the supervision of a head chef or manager. Food expeditors are required to learn the entire restaurant menu and all restaurant protocols in the first few weeks of employment.

Food Expeditor Salary and Outlook

In 2016, the median salary for food service managers of all types was $50,820 annually and $24.43 hourly, according to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 300,000 food service manager jobs were available in 2016, a number that is projected to rise by nine percent through 2026. This rate is the same as the national job growth average. Data from PayScale show that food expeditors, a specific branch of the food service manager career path, earn a median hourly wage of $14.67. Depending on the restaurant or kitchen, food expeditors may be offered benefits packages that provide health insurance coverage, though this is not a standard practice. Food expeditors often receive free meals as a benefit of the job, but some professionals do not receive any additional benefits.

Helpful Resources

Food expeditors can find job opportunities and career guidance with these resources:

National Restaurant Association - Visit this website to find restaurant job opportunities, information about food service conferences, news for restaurant workers, and study guides.

Kitchen Expedition - Celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme created this in-depth guide to kitchen expedition for food expeditors who want to learn tricks and tips for success.

Specialty Food Association - Find information about food shows and events, learn about kitchen and dining products, and discover learning guides at the Specialty Food Association website.

Leadership Lessons From a Chef: Finding Time to Be Great - Learn how to manage kitchen staff members, focus your goals as a food expeditor, and master kitchen leadership with this book.

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