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Short order cooks prepare foods in restaurants, diners, coffee shops and other eateries that focus on fast service and quickly prepared meals. They're also employed at hospitals, schools and other institutions. Most of the time they're responsible for cooking several orders at the same time.

Typically, short order cooks prepare simple items such as hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled sandwiches, eggs, bacon and other breakfast foods. They focus on foods that only require a short amount of time to prepare. In addition, small restaurants and eateries sometimes require short order cooks to perform other duties such as washing plates, utensils and equipment, taking food orders from customers and working with the cash register.

Responsibilities

  • Prepare food items for cooking
  • Cook, grill and fry foods
  • Cook several orders at a time without allowing food to burn or get over cooked
  • Coordinate the completion time of foods which are served together
  • Keep track of meal orders
  • Stock kitchen with clean pans, pots and utensils
  • Keep the kitchen area and equipment clean
  • Carve meats and prepare sandwiches
  • Stock the kitchen with food items and various ingredients

Job Characteristics

Some restaurants include modern equipment, air conditioning and good ventilation. However, often kitchens become quite warm. Some restaurants, particularly those located in older buildings, often include smaller work areas and do not offer the quality work environment provided in newer restaurants.

Short order cooks need to be precise with their work, meet deadlines, be proficient at organizing and be able to work effectively under pressure during the busy periods. They must also keep track of the orders placed by waitresses and be effective with time management. Working quickly is a major part of the occupation. A good sense of taste is also important in the profession. They must also be able to stand on their feet for long periods of time.

Short order cooks typically work at least forty hours per week, however there are part-time positions. Evening, day and morning shifts are available. Many short order cooks have rotating shifts. Sometimes working on weekends and holidays is required.

Employment Outlook

Many short order cooks begin their careers in small restaurants in order to gain experience before applying for positions at larger establishments. After acquiring experience, some operate their own restaurant. Some short order cooks acquire additional training at technical schools, community colleges or culinary institutes and become cooks or chefs at upscale restaurants.

The rate of growth for short order cook positions is expected to grow at the average rate for all other occupations through 2014. Employment opportunities are expected due to the popularity of fast service restaurants and the high turnover rate in the occupation.

In 2006, there were 195,495 short order cook jobs in the nation. The median salary for short order cooks in 2006 was $17,880. The middle 50 percent earned from $14,960 to $21,820. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12,930 and the highest paid 10 percent earned over $26,110. Benefits are often provided to full-time cooks, however benefits vary by employer. In addition, the majority of cooks are provided with free meals.

Short Order Cook Training

Short order cook positions typically require little education or training. However, some employers prefer to hire cooks that have a high school diploma. Training in cooking procedures at vocational schools increases the chances for employment. In addition, most states ask for a certificate of health which asserts the employee does not have any communicable diseases.

Typically, short order cooks begin their employment in restaurants as dishwashers, dining room attendants or kitchen helpers. They're training is provided on-the-job. The training includes various types of cooking procedures, the fundamentals of sanitation and workplace safety as well as food handling and preparation. Those with experience and skills have opportunities to advance in their career and acquire a position that includes complicated cooking techniques or obtain a supervisory job.

Resources

Major Employers

The major employers include restaurant chains, coffee shops, hospitals and schools.

Schools for Short Order Cooks are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Short Order Cooks

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Short Order Cooks jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Mobile 320 $18,540
Auburn 170 $17,910
Opelika 170 $17,910
Fairhope 40 $22,940
Foley 40 $22,940
Daphne 40 $22,940
Montgomery N/A $18,560
Tuscaloosa N/A $20,190
Gadsden N/A $20,440
Birmingham N/A $21,040
Hoover N/A $21,040
Huntsville N/A $21,430
Dothan N/A $21,960
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage N/A $31,290
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 780 $22,790
Scottsdale 780 $22,790
Mesa 780 $22,790
Tucson 130 $22,800
Prescott 40 $19,060
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pine Bluff 100 $17,690
Jonesboro 60 $18,170
Conway N/A $18,250
Little Rock N/A $18,250
North Little Rock N/A $18,250
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 8200 $23,310
Los Angeles 8200 $23,310
Long Beach 8200 $23,310
Carlsbad 2710 $22,860
San Diego 2710 $22,860
Oakland 2630 $26,460
Hayward 2630 $26,460
San Francisco 2630 $26,460
Sacramento 2090 $22,960
Arden 2090 $22,960
Arcade 2090 $22,960
Roseville 2090 $22,960
Ontario 1620 $23,480
Riverside 1620 $23,480
San Bernardino 1620 $23,480
San Jose 1070 $23,960
Sunnyvale 1070 $23,960
Santa Clara 1070 $23,960
Fresno 750 $21,590
Ventura 540 $25,700
Oxnard 540 $25,700
Thousand Oaks 540 $25,700
Santa Rosa 300 $22,260
San Luis Obispo 170 $24,580
Paso Robles 170 $24,580
Arroyo Grande 170 $24,580
Bakersfield 160 $24,280
Salinas 150 $27,100
Chico 140 $23,080
Visalia 110 $22,370
Porterville 110 $22,370
Vallejo 60 $20,380
Fairfield 60 $20,380
Redding 30 $21,650
El Centro 30 $23,100
Santa Maria N/A $21,800
Santa Barbara N/A $21,800
Modesto N/A $22,430
Yuba City N/A $23,320
Lodi N/A $23,710
Stockton N/A $23,710
Santa Cruz N/A $24,320
Watsonville N/A $24,320
Napa N/A $24,470
Madera N/A $24,890
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 630 $22,390
Lakewood 630 $22,390
Denver 630 $22,390
Colorado Springs 250 $24,430
Pueblo 40 $23,460
Fort Collins N/A $19,790
Greeley N/A $22,230
Boulder N/A $23,060
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Stamford 880 $24,080
Norwalk 880 $24,080
Bridgeport 880 $24,080
Hartford 300 $20,730
West Hartford 300 $20,730
East Hartford 300 $20,730
Danbury N/A $22,590
New Haven N/A $22,840
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 1940 $21,420
Fort Lauderdale 1940 $21,420
West Palm Beach 1940 $21,420
Tampa 1280 $21,390
Clearwater 1280 $21,390
St. Petersburg 1280 $21,390
Kissimmee 710 $21,980
Orlando 710 $21,980
Sanford 710 $21,980
Jacksonville 550 $20,800
Naples 240 $27,850
Immokalee 240 $27,850
Marco Island 240 $27,850
Gainesville 190 $22,780
North Port 180 $24,880
Sarasota 180 $24,880
Bradenton 180 $24,880
Fort Myers 120 $23,190
Cape Coral 120 $23,190
Melbourne 90 $24,600
Titusville 90 $24,600
Palm Bay 90 $24,600
Ocala 70 $20,300
Lakeland 70 $20,700
Winter Haven 70 $20,700
Daytona Beach 50 $20,690
Deltona 50 $20,690
Ormond Beach 50 $20,690
Port St. Lucie 30 $23,690
Tallahassee N/A $18,670
Panama City N/A $18,770
Sebring N/A $19,040
Sebastian N/A $22,740
Vero Beach N/A $22,740
Destin N/A $23,870
Crestview N/A $23,870
Fort Walton Beach N/A $23,870
Brent N/A $27,930
Pensacola N/A $27,930
Ferry Pass N/A $27,930
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sandy Springs 3640 $20,340
Atlanta 3640 $20,340
Roswell 3640 $20,340
Savannah 240 $18,540
Macon 120 $18,110
Valdosta 40 $17,510
Albany N/A $18,090
Brunswick N/A $18,240
Warner Robins N/A $20,390
Athens N/A $21,530
Clarke County N/A $21,530
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lahaina N/A $20,490
Wailuku N/A $20,490
Kahului N/A $20,490
Urban Honolulu N/A $27,860
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Coeur d'Alene 70 $19,380
Pocatello N/A $17,920
Boise City N/A $20,600
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rockford 180 $21,550
Danville 60 $22,100
Kankakee N/A $18,790
Champaign N/A $19,100
Urbana N/A $19,100
Marion N/A $19,370
Carbondale N/A $19,370
Peoria N/A $19,790
Decatur N/A $22,350
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 350 $19,900
Indianapolis 350 $19,900
Carmel 350 $19,900
Bloomington 180 $17,690
Fort Wayne 110 $19,100
Michigan City 90 $19,980
La Porte 90 $19,980
Muncie N/A $17,630
Elkhart N/A $21,560
Goshen N/A $21,560
Lafayette N/A $23,430
West Lafayette N/A $23,430
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 300 $22,770
Des Moines 300 $22,770
Cedar Rapids 190 $22,790
Iowa City 180 $18,670
Cedar Falls 110 $18,130
Waterloo 110 $18,130
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 420 $18,240
Topeka N/A $17,660
Manhattan N/A $18,780
Lawrence N/A $19,220
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette N/A $18,010
Lexington N/A $18,010
Fort Knox N/A $18,900
Elizabethtown N/A $18,900
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 1390 $20,260
Metairie 1390 $20,260
Baton Rouge 680 $18,440
Lafayette 390 $19,180
Shreveport 300 $18,520
Bossier City 300 $18,520
Thibodaux 200 $19,740
Houma 200 $19,740
Lake Charles 150 $18,740
Monroe N/A $17,680
Alexandria N/A $19,310
Hammond N/A $19,510
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 600 $19,050
Portland 600 $19,050
Bangor 300 $21,350
Auburn N/A $19,040
Lewiston N/A $19,040
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 3000 $21,840
Towson 3000 $21,840
Columbia 3000 $21,840
Lexington Park 70 $28,600
California 70 $28,600
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 260 $28,800
Pittsfield 180 $20,380
New Bedford 120 $24,650
Gardner N/A $20,070
Leominster N/A $20,070
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dearborn 1100 $19,580
Detroit 1100 $19,580
Warren 1100 $19,580
East Lansing 400 $19,110
Lansing 400 $19,110
Kalamazoo 250 $19,470
Portage 250 $19,470
Wyoming 200 $19,640
Grand Rapids 200 $19,640
Bay City 80 $18,580
Flint 80 $18,970
Saginaw 30 $22,070
Benton Harbor N/A $18,890
Niles N/A $18,890
Ann Arbor N/A $19,420
Battle Creek N/A $20,350
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud N/A $21,230
Rochester N/A $23,140
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Gulfport 510 $21,770
Pascagoula 510 $21,770
Biloxi 510 $21,770
Jackson 320 $20,790
Hattiesburg 80 $19,340
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 80 $18,080
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 120 $20,780
Billings N/A $21,370
Great Falls N/A $21,950
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 840 $19,010
Grand Island N/A $31,120
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 1720 $23,390
Henderson 1720 $23,390
Las Vegas 1720 $23,390
Reno 220 $24,040
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 560 $20,140
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 440 $22,970
Vineland 170 $20,790
Bridgeton 170 $20,790
Ocean City 70 $21,670
Hammonton N/A $23,400
Atlantic City N/A $23,400
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 660 $19,770
Farmington N/A $18,070
Las Cruces N/A $21,220
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheektowaga 1080 $20,320
Buffalo 1080 $20,320
Niagara Falls 1080 $20,320
Rochester 970 $19,880
Schenectady 450 $20,330
Albany 450 $20,330
Troy 450 $20,330
Syracuse 400 $20,400
Ithaca 260 $22,410
Rome 200 $19,030
Utica 200 $19,030
Glens Falls 150 $19,730
Kingston 130 $22,300
Watertown 70 $19,160
Fort Drum 70 $19,160
Binghamton N/A $19,050
Elmira N/A $21,060
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 410 $17,850
Wilmington 120 $18,160
Durham 90 $23,060
Chapel Hill 90 $23,060
Goldsboro 60 $17,550
Greenville 60 $19,560
Rocky Mount N/A $17,600
Fayetteville N/A $17,630
Greensboro N/A $17,810
High Point N/A $17,810
Winston N/A $18,000
Salem N/A $18,000
Morganton N/A $18,350
Hickory N/A $18,350
Lenoir N/A $18,350
Burlington N/A $19,130
Asheville N/A $21,710
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 100 $23,890
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 1750 $19,160
Elyria 1750 $19,160
Columbus 1230 $21,350
Dayton 1010 $19,970
Akron 400 $19,340
Massillon 350 $19,790
Canton 350 $19,790
Lima 190 $19,530
Toledo N/A $18,770
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 1130 $17,620
Tulsa 300 $18,950
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Medford N/A $21,230
Eugene N/A $21,740
Salem N/A $22,830
Redmond N/A $25,150
Bend N/A $25,150
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1390 $18,850
Reading 460 $19,710
Carlisle 420 $21,370
Harrisburg 420 $21,370
Lancaster 350 $21,850
Hanover 190 $18,750
York 190 $18,750
Chambersburg 150 $19,150
Waynesboro 150 $19,150
State College 140 $21,330
Wilkes 140 $26,030
Scranton 140 $26,030
Hazleton 140 $26,030
Barre 140 $26,030
East Stroudsburg 130 $22,190
Williamsport 120 $20,360
Lebanon 30 $20,100
Johnstown N/A $17,840
Altoona N/A $17,940
Erie N/A $18,030
Gettysburg N/A $18,640
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 390 $17,370
Carolina 390 $17,370
San Juan 390 $17,370
Ponce N/A $17,590
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 910 $17,860
Anderson 700 $19,020
Mauldin 700 $19,020
Greenville 700 $19,020
North Charleston 700 $19,200
Charleston 700 $19,200
Spartanburg 130 $19,080
Florence N/A $17,680
Bluffton N/A $19,190
Hilton Head Island N/A $19,190
Beaufort N/A $19,190
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 370 $19,290
Rapid City 230 $21,250
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Murfreesboro 2170 $19,540
Davidson 2170 $19,540
Franklin 2170 $19,540
Nashville 2170 $19,540
Knoxville 530 $20,400
Morristown N/A $18,030
Johnson City N/A $18,490
Jackson N/A $18,960
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 7350 $20,230
Dallas 7350 $20,230
Fort Worth 7350 $20,230
The Woodlands 5430 $19,210
Sugar Land 5430 $19,210
Houston 5430 $19,210
Austin 2470 $19,630
Round Rock 2470 $19,630
New Braunfels 2010 $19,150
San Antonio 2010 $19,150
Corpus Christi 850 $20,690
El Paso 800 $18,730
Port Arthur 430 $18,020
Beaumont 430 $18,020
McAllen 390 $19,370
Edinburg 390 $19,370
Mission 390 $19,370
Bryan 340 $19,100
College Station 340 $19,100
Amarillo 270 $18,670
Wichita Falls 220 $18,760
Odessa 180 $20,810
Harlingen 140 $18,130
Brownsville 140 $18,130
Midland 140 $24,690
Abilene 90 $18,850
Waco N/A $18,180
Laredo N/A $18,310
Temple N/A $18,850
Killeen N/A $18,850
Tyler N/A $19,530
Lubbock N/A $19,580
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 190 $22,350
St. George N/A $21,010
Clearfield N/A $26,150
Ogden N/A $26,150
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 260 $25,490
Burlington 260 $25,490
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charlottesville 240 $25,290
Roanoke 80 $19,290
Lynchburg 60 $21,700
Richmond N/A $18,330
Waynesboro N/A $18,530
Staunton N/A $18,530
Harrisonburg N/A $18,950
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tacoma 2590 $24,450
Seattle 2590 $24,450
Bellevue 2590 $24,450
Spokane 240 $22,670
Spokane Valley 240 $22,670
Tumwater 150 $25,570
Olympia 150 $25,570
Bellingham 100 $22,000
Longview 60 $23,780
Kennewick N/A $22,300
Richland N/A $22,300
Wenatchee N/A $22,630
Bremerton N/A $23,770
Silverdale N/A $23,770
Mount Vernon N/A $24,560
Anacortes N/A $24,560
Yakima N/A $25,360
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Morgantown 120 $20,540
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Waukesha 870 $21,260
West Allis 870 $21,260
Milwaukee 870 $21,260
Green Bay 510 $19,110
Appleton 320 $18,330
Madison 190 $22,690
Janesville 80 $17,580
Beloit 80 $17,580
Wausau 80 $19,270
Fond du Lac 50 $19,310
Racine N/A $18,350
Eau Claire N/A $20,770
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Casper 40 $22,750

Most Popular Industries for :
Short Order Cooks

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

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Restaurant 128,520 76% $19,200
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 10,160 6% $18,840
Grocery Stores 7,970 4% $19,690
Hotel And Accomodation 5,970 3% $23,410
Gas Stations 5,930 3% $16,000
Nursing And Residential Care 2,600 1% $21,520
Non-profit 2,180 1% $19,070
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
 
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Short Order Cooks.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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