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Food Preparation Workers picture    Food Preparation Workers image

Food preparation workers perform a variety of tasks such as preparing vegetables and meats, making salads, weighing and measuring ingredients and stirring sauces. They also arrange the food on serving dishes. Providing pots and pans for chefs and cooks is often part of the job. Those working in cafeterias and large restaurants often work in an assembly line. Also, they're responsible for cleaning work areas and equipment. Food preparation workers are employed in restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores and specialty food stores. They're supervised by chefs and cooks.

Responsibilities

  • Prepare various types of food including meats and vegetables
  • Assist cooks and kitchen staff with a variety of tasks
  • Arrange food on serving dishes
  • Load and run dishwashers
  • Stock shelves and refrigerators
  • Take care of salad bars and buffets
  • Remove trash
  • Prepare beverages
  • Prepare salad dressings and sauces
  • Distribute food to waitresses and waiters
  • Weigh or measure ingredients
  • Package take-out foods
  • Store food
  • Clean equipment, work areas and utensils
  • Inform supervisors when supplies are low
  • Inform supervisors when equipment is not working properly

Job Characteristics

Some restaurants and grocery stores, with food preparation facilities, include modern equipment, air conditioning and spacious work areas. Some restaurants, particularly those located in older buildings, often have small work areas and do not offer the quality work environment provided in newer restaurants. The quality of the work environment in restaurants may vary by the quality and the type of food being served.

They must work quickly, be efficient and work well as part of a team. Good manual dexterity is also important. Food preparers often deal with pressure during busy periods. Standing for long periods of time is also part of the job. In addition, part-time and full-time positions are provided. Variable work schedules are typically available.

Employment Outlook

In 2006 there were approximately 902,000 food preparation jobs and about 44% of the employees worked part-time. Two-thirds of food preparation workers, cooks and chefs worked in restaurants and other food services and drinking establishments. The number of positions for food preparation workers is projected to be plentiful due to the continued growth of the food services industry. The employment of food preparation workers is expected to grow faster than the average of all occupations.

The growth in employment in the industry will occur due to a growing population and the convenience of eating at restaurants and purchasing carry-out meals from a variety of places. Also, a large number of workers leave the occupation and have to be replaced.

Seasonal employment is provided by resorts. Those employed in upscale restaurants typically work more hours per day due to the amount of time required to prepare the ingredients in advance.

The demand for food preparation workers in the meals-to-go business, including meals prepared for grocery stores and specialty food stores is projected to growth faster than average. There has also been an increase in demand for healthier, made-from-scratch meals. However, during economic recessions, people usually eat at restaurants less often which decreases the demand for food preparation employees.

The median annual earnings for food preparation workers in 2006 was $17,410. Those that work full-time often receive benefits. In addition, in some large restaurants and hotels, kitchen workers are members of a union.

Food Preparation Worker Training, Certification, and Licensing

A high school diploma is usually not required. Most food preparation employees receive on-the-job training. The training includes food handling and preparation, basic sanitation and workplace safety. A number of high school and vocational schools provide courses in food safety and food handling procedures. Some school districts, in partnerships with state departments of education offer on-the-job training and summer workshops for cafeteria workers who desire to become cooks. In addition, those that show skills and leadership abilities may advance into supervisory positions. Some also advance into jobs as cook assistants or line cook positions.

Resources

Major Employers

The primary employers for food preparation workers are grocery stores with food preparation facilities, full-service restaurants and limited-service eating venues.

Schools for Food Preparation Workers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Food Preparation Workers

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Food Preparation Workers jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 2030 $18,950
Birmingham 2030 $18,950
Huntsville 1390 $19,070
Montgomery 1240 $19,220
Mobile 920 $18,990
Foley 580 $21,780
Fairhope 580 $21,780
Daphne 580 $21,780
Opelika 480 $18,510
Auburn 480 $18,510
Tuscaloosa 400 $19,680
Florence 290 $18,210
Muscle Shoals 290 $18,210
Dothan 140 $19,210
Gadsden 100 $18,520
Decatur N/A $18,820
Anniston N/A $20,550
Oxford N/A $20,550
Jacksonville N/A $20,550
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 2520 $23,300
Fairbanks 720 $27,380
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mesa 8110 $21,350
Phoenix 8110 $21,350
Scottsdale 8110 $21,350
Tucson 1220 $22,500
Prescott 490 $20,640
Flagstaff 400 $19,770
Kingman 310 $19,100
Lake Havasu City 310 $19,100
Yuma 170 $19,030
Sierra Vista 150 $21,860
Douglas 150 $21,860
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 2570 $19,090
North Little Rock 2570 $19,090
Little Rock 2570 $19,090
Hot Springs 180 $19,040
Jonesboro 160 $19,160
Pine Bluff 110 $18,540
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 40020 $23,400
Long Beach 40020 $23,400
Los Angeles 40020 $23,400
Oakland 17580 $25,630
Hayward 17580 $25,630
San Francisco 17580 $25,630
Carlsbad 10450 $22,980
San Diego 10450 $22,980
Ontario 8490 $22,580
Riverside 8490 $22,580
San Bernardino 8490 $22,580
San Jose 5640 $25,390
Sunnyvale 5640 $25,390
Santa Clara 5640 $25,390
Roseville 5410 $22,600
Sacramento 5410 $22,600
Arcade 5410 $22,600
Arden 5410 $22,600
Stockton 2170 $20,820
Lodi 2170 $20,820
Fresno 1890 $23,150
Oxnard 1880 $24,290
Thousand Oaks 1880 $24,290
Ventura 1880 $24,290
Santa Rosa 1840 $27,030
Bakersfield 1520 $22,860
Santa Barbara 1380 $23,060
Santa Maria 1380 $23,060
Santa Cruz 1190 $22,530
Watsonville 1190 $22,530
Visalia 980 $22,570
Porterville 980 $22,570
Arroyo Grande 940 $25,090
San Luis Obispo 940 $25,090
Paso Robles 940 $25,090
Vallejo 910 $22,770
Fairfield 910 $22,770
Modesto 900 $23,740
Salinas 840 $24,080
Napa 790 $25,610
Redding 340 $24,390
Yuba City 310 $22,440
Chico 290 $21,560
Merced 230 $21,710
Madera 140 $24,630
El Centro 130 $25,120
Corcoran 100 $22,350
Hanford 100 $22,350
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 5160 $21,700
Denver 5160 $21,700
Lakewood 5160 $21,700
Boulder 880 $23,690
Colorado Springs 760 $21,140
Fort Collins 650 $23,000
Greeley 310 $19,160
Pueblo 210 $22,790
Grand Junction 180 $23,790
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 2450 $23,840
West Hartford 2450 $23,840
Hartford 2450 $23,840
Stamford 2350 $27,020
Norwalk 2350 $27,020
Bridgeport 2350 $27,020
New Haven 1890 $26,380
Waterbury 920 $21,730
Danbury 810 $23,080
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 220 $19,770
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fort Lauderdale 16300 $22,160
West Palm Beach 16300 $22,160
Miami 16300 $22,160
Tampa 8670 $21,060
Clearwater 8670 $21,060
St. Petersburg 8670 $21,060
Orlando 6660 $21,790
Sanford 6660 $21,790
Kissimmee 6660 $21,790
Jacksonville 5900 $23,880
Cape Coral 2900 $21,390
Fort Myers 2900 $21,390
Sarasota 2710 $22,070
North Port 2710 $22,070
Bradenton 2710 $22,070
Melbourne 1620 $22,050
Palm Bay 1620 $22,050
Titusville 1620 $22,050
Deltona 1620 $22,150
Daytona Beach 1620 $22,150
Ormond Beach 1620 $22,150
Naples 1440 $25,840
Immokalee 1440 $25,840
Marco Island 1440 $25,840
Lakeland 1390 $19,580
Winter Haven 1390 $19,580
Port St. Lucie 1180 $20,890
Ferry Pass 860 $20,920
Brent 860 $20,920
Pensacola 860 $20,920
Tallahassee 820 $19,930
Crestview 790 $22,240
Destin 790 $22,240
Fort Walton Beach 790 $22,240
Ocala 730 $19,480
Gainesville 710 $19,860
Panama City 620 $22,850
The Villages 420 $19,710
Punta Gorda 340 $21,430
Vero Beach 340 $23,170
Sebastian 340 $23,170
Sebring 180 $20,680
Homosassa Springs 170 $21,190
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 17180 $19,280
Atlanta 17180 $19,280
Sandy Springs 17180 $19,280
Savannah 1490 $20,770
Athens 1100 $18,660
Clarke County 1100 $18,660
Macon 780 $19,060
Warner Robins 740 $18,870
Albany 640 $17,830
Valdosta 540 $18,060
Gainesville 350 $19,350
Brunswick 340 $19,600
Rome 310 $19,000
Dalton 180 $19,210
Hinesville 70 $19,910
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 5650 $22,040
Lahaina 1020 $28,980
Wailuku 1020 $28,980
Kahului 1020 $28,980
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 1210 $19,190
Idaho Falls 680 $18,080
Coeur d'Alene 560 $20,020
Pocatello 160 $21,860
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 1360 $20,020
Urbana 880 $20,610
Champaign 880 $20,610
Bloomington 690 $20,110
Springfield 600 $21,420
Decatur 550 $19,360
Rockford 510 $20,970
Carbondale 340 $21,580
Marion 340 $21,580
Kankakee 260 $20,230
Danville 160 $20,040
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 8100 $19,620
Anderson 8100 $19,620
Carmel 8100 $19,620
Fort Wayne 1210 $19,100
Muncie 590 $18,120
Bloomington 470 $21,790
Goshen 450 $21,740
Elkhart 450 $21,740
Lafayette 360 $19,930
West Lafayette 360 $19,930
Terre Haute 340 $19,890
Kokomo 270 $19,950
La Porte 190 $24,830
Michigan City 190 $24,830
Columbus N/A $18,450
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 1190 $20,330
Des Moines 1190 $20,330
Cedar Rapids 560 $22,000
Iowa City 330 $20,860
Cedar Falls 330 $21,780
Waterloo 330 $21,780
Dubuque 240 $19,070
Ames 150 $22,820
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 2760 $18,710
Topeka 1010 $19,050
Lawrence 780 $20,100
Manhattan 200 $19,810
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lexington 1130 $21,010
Fayette 1130 $21,010
Bowling Green 400 $18,790
Fort Knox 150 $19,550
Elizabethtown 150 $19,550
Owensboro N/A $19,280
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 8920 $18,180
Metairie 8920 $18,180
Baton Rouge 6480 $18,140
Lafayette 4130 $18,030
Shreveport 3080 $17,950
Bossier City 3080 $17,950
Lake Charles 1900 $18,190
Monroe 1270 $18,520
Hammond 1110 $17,910
Thibodaux 890 $18,510
Houma 890 $18,510
Alexandria 800 $18,330
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 1840 $22,890
South Portland 1840 $22,890
Bangor 780 $21,880
Auburn 360 $21,030
Lewiston 360 $21,030
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 8450 $21,890
Towson 8450 $21,890
Columbia 8450 $21,890
Lexington Park N/A $20,370
California N/A $20,370
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 1390 $22,830
New Bedford 370 $24,230
Gardner 350 $21,740
Leominster 350 $21,740
Pittsfield 230 $23,440
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 9120 $22,340
Detroit 9120 $22,340
Warren 9120 $22,340
Grand Rapids 1730 $23,330
Wyoming 1730 $23,330
Ann Arbor 1200 $22,300
Lansing 1010 $22,030
East Lansing 1010 $22,030
Portage 650 $21,260
Kalamazoo 650 $21,260
Saginaw 590 $21,660
Niles 390 $20,750
Benton Harbor 390 $20,750
Jackson 330 $20,660
Battle Creek 270 $19,620
Monroe 240 $19,440
Muskegon 200 $21,270
Bay City 100 $21,820
Midland N/A $18,990
Flint N/A $22,170
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud 400 $20,050
Rochester 310 $23,670
Mankato N/A $26,380
North Mankato N/A $26,380
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 2640 $18,480
Pascagoula 880 $18,830
Biloxi 880 $18,830
Gulfport 880 $18,830
Hattiesburg 600 $18,260
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 590 $18,860
Joplin 370 $19,700
Columbia 320 $19,860
Jefferson City 180 $19,540
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 820 $20,450
Missoula 570 $20,120
Great Falls 240 $19,980
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Grand Island 390 $20,020
Lincoln N/A $21,470
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 9970 $23,590
Henderson 9970 $23,590
Las Vegas 9970 $23,590
Reno 1250 $18,550
Carson City N/A $22,240
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 330 $22,880
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 1410 $21,820
Atlantic City 1350 $20,900
Hammonton 1350 $20,900
Ocean City 580 $21,330
Bridgeton 390 $20,180
Vineland 390 $20,180
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 1910 $20,000
Santa Fe 540 $23,280
Farmington 400 $18,900
Las Cruces 250 $19,930
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Niagara Falls 2860 $20,210
Cheektowaga 2860 $20,210
Buffalo 2860 $20,210
Albany 2690 $22,280
Troy 2690 $22,280
Schenectady 2690 $22,280
Rochester 2640 $21,400
Syracuse 2190 $21,530
Utica 880 $20,200
Rome 880 $20,200
Binghamton 580 $19,970
Ithaca 490 $33,020
Kingston 450 $20,330
Glens Falls 410 $21,520
Watertown 340 $26,560
Fort Drum 340 $26,560
Elmira 300 $21,030
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 2860 $19,960
Asheville 1420 $20,280
Chapel Hill 1370 $22,520
Durham 1370 $22,520
High Point 1150 $18,390
Greensboro 1150 $18,390
Winston 820 $19,480
Salem 820 $19,480
Wilmington 540 $20,380
Fayetteville 530 $19,570
Morganton 490 $18,800
Hickory 490 $18,800
Lenoir 490 $18,800
Burlington 260 $19,490
Rocky Mount 250 $18,770
Greenville 240 $19,680
New Bern 210 $19,310
Goldsboro 170 $21,690
Jacksonville N/A $18,150
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 250 $27,130
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 4900 $20,100
Elyria 3930 $22,120
Cleveland 3930 $22,120
Dayton 1680 $19,430
Toledo 1580 $19,140
Akron 1200 $22,980
Massillon 770 $19,360
Canton 770 $19,360
Mansfield 480 $21,590
Lima 150 $21,310
Springfield 110 $21,070
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 3170 $19,380
Tulsa 2700 $19,760
Lawton 250 $19,430
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Eugene 1530 $22,790
Salem 1190 $21,850
Medford 840 $22,740
Redmond 620 $23,180
Bend 620 $23,180
Corvallis 270 $23,350
Grants Pass 200 $23,090
Albany 160 $23,500
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 5030 $22,910
Lancaster 1790 $20,230
Harrisburg 1640 $20,230
Carlisle 1640 $20,230
Wilkes 1240 $19,880
Scranton 1240 $19,880
Barre 1240 $19,880
Hazleton 1240 $19,880
Hanover 960 $21,400
York 960 $21,400
Erie 630 $20,040
Reading 620 $19,900
Williamsport 340 $19,570
Lebanon 340 $20,620
Chambersburg 280 $21,660
Waynesboro 280 $21,660
Johnstown 250 $19,340
State College 250 $21,640
Gettysburg 200 $19,960
Altoona 200 $20,430
East Stroudsburg 190 $21,230
Bloomsburg 130 $20,410
Berwick 130 $20,410
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
San Juan 5730 $17,820
Carolina 5730 $17,820
Caguas 5730 $17,820
Isabela 780 $17,880
Aguadilla 780 $17,880
Ponce 750 $17,930
Mayag´┐Żez 480 $17,850
Arecibo 440 $17,830
San German 220 $17,870
Guayama 120 $18,030
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 2520 $22,070
North Charleston 2520 $22,070
Greenville 2050 $19,220
Mauldin 2050 $19,220
Anderson 2050 $19,220
Columbia 1240 $19,920
Spartanburg 790 $18,540
Beaufort 590 $19,250
Bluffton 590 $19,250
Hilton Head Island 590 $19,250
Florence 370 $18,620
Sumter 190 $18,080
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 1060 $21,360
Rapid City 420 $20,260
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Murfreesboro 6660 $20,790
Franklin 6660 $20,790
Davidson 6660 $20,790
Nashville 6660 $20,790
Knoxville 1740 $19,750
Morristown 360 $21,030
Johnson City 230 $20,400
Cleveland 180 $19,150
Jackson 170 $18,550
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 16370 $20,540
Fort Worth 16370 $20,540
Arlington 16370 $20,540
Houston 15770 $21,700
The Woodlands 15770 $21,700
Sugar Land 15770 $21,700
San Antonio 4970 $21,870
New Braunfels 4970 $21,870
Austin 4960 $22,840
Round Rock 4960 $22,840
El Paso 1700 $19,090
Edinburg 1430 $19,430
Mission 1430 $19,430
McAllen 1430 $19,430
Laredo 1090 $18,700
Bryan 1050 $21,150
College Station 1050 $21,150
Harlingen 920 $18,780
Brownsville 920 $18,780
Corpus Christi 760 $22,060
Odessa 710 $22,120
Waco 680 $19,270
Amarillo 670 $19,100
Killeen 650 $20,860
Temple 650 $20,860
Lubbock 620 $19,470
Port Arthur 570 $18,960
Beaumont 570 $18,960
Abilene 470 $18,960
Longview 470 $19,090
Tyler 380 $19,510
Wichita Falls 320 $22,260
Midland 280 $26,050
Sherman 180 $22,550
Denison 180 $22,550
San Angelo 170 $20,270
Victoria 150 $21,860
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 4060 $20,950
Orem 1040 $21,360
Provo 1040 $21,360
Ogden 720 $19,360
Clearfield 720 $19,360
St. George 430 $18,500
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 750 $23,170
Burlington 750 $23,170
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 2920 $19,850
Roanoke 1040 $19,080
Charlottesville 630 $22,770
Lynchburg 390 $18,890
Harrisonburg 330 $20,300
Radford 300 $18,750
Blacksburg 300 $18,750
Christiansburg 300 $18,750
Waynesboro 90 $22,170
Staunton 90 $22,170
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tacoma 12560 $25,660
Seattle 12560 $25,660
Bellevue 12560 $25,660
Spokane 1700 $23,800
Spokane Valley 1700 $23,800
Bellingham 1000 $24,240
Bremerton 810 N/A
Silverdale 810 N/A
Tumwater 660 $23,930
Olympia 660 $23,930
Richland 650 $23,730
Kennewick 650 $23,730
Wenatchee 480 $23,590
Yakima 440 $23,010
Anacortes 340 $29,530
Mount Vernon 340 $29,530
Longview 190 $23,230
Walla Walla 120 $26,290
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 290 $19,420
Beckley 250 $19,270
Morgantown 210 $21,940
Vienna 150 $19,620
Parkersburg 150 $19,620
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 2820 $19,890
Waukesha 2820 $19,890
Milwaukee 2820 $19,890
Madison 1270 $22,590
Green Bay 900 $21,000
Racine 430 $19,540
Appleton 270 $18,600
Eau Claire 240 $20,100
Janesville 210 $19,040
Beloit 210 $19,040
Sheboygan 200 $18,940
Oshkosh 190 $20,180
Neenah 190 $20,180
Fond du Lac 150 $18,510
Wausau 100 $18,620
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne 270 $19,290
Casper 230 $22,500

Most Popular Industries for :
Food Preparation Workers

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Restaurant 458,490 52% $17,830
Grocery Stores 142,460 16% $19,440
Education 67,850 7% $21,660
Nursing And Residential Care 66,480 7% $18,860
Hospital 37,330 4% $20,820
Hotel And Accomodation 19,660 2% $20,510
Government 16,670 1% $19,860
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 12,390 1% $19,800
Gas Stations 9,990 1% $16,500
Social Service 9,900 1% $18,390
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