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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 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
Huntsville 730 $21,820
Mobile 560 $18,390
Montgomery 60 $21,230
Auburn N/A $18,610
Opelika N/A $18,610
Decatur N/A $19,850
Gadsden N/A $20,530
Dothan N/A $20,740
Foley N/A $22,050
Daphne N/A $22,050
Fairhope N/A $22,050
Tuscaloosa N/A $22,240
Hoover N/A $22,770
Birmingham N/A $22,770
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 250 $32,130
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Phoenix 1070 $22,090
Scottsdale 1070 $22,090
Mesa 1070 $22,090
Tucson 110 $23,780
Yuma N/A $21,820
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pine Bluff N/A $18,470
Conway N/A $22,970
North Little Rock N/A $22,970
Little Rock N/A $22,970
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Los Angeles 7690 $23,780
Long Beach 7690 $23,780
Anaheim 7690 $23,780
Riverside 2320 $25,000
San Bernardino 2320 $25,000
Ontario 2320 $25,000
Hayward 2310 $27,540
Oakland 2310 $27,540
San Francisco 2310 $27,540
Carlsbad 1840 $23,410
San Diego 1840 $23,410
Sacramento 1500 $23,650
Arden 1500 $23,650
Arcade 1500 $23,650
Roseville 1500 $23,650
Sunnyvale 1290 $25,540
San Jose 1290 $25,540
Santa Clara 1290 $25,540
Ventura 490 $26,850
Oxnard 490 $26,850
Thousand Oaks 490 $26,850
Fresno 330 $24,230
Santa Rosa 290 $24,370
Porterville 140 $23,130
Visalia 140 $23,130
Napa 140 $28,100
Paso Robles 120 $25,730
San Luis Obispo 120 $25,730
Arroyo Grande 120 $25,730
Salinas 110 $24,920
Chico 90 $23,680
Stockton 70 $24,230
Lodi 70 $24,230
Santa Barbara 60 $30,190
Santa Maria 60 $30,190
Vallejo 40 $26,680
Fairfield 40 $26,680
Modesto N/A $23,300
Madera N/A $25,430
El Centro N/A $25,550
Santa Cruz N/A $25,980
Watsonville N/A $25,980
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 430 $22,330
Lakewood 430 $22,330
Denver 430 $22,330
Colorado Springs 270 $22,630
Fort Collins N/A $19,100
Pueblo N/A $23,250
Greeley N/A $23,630
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Haven 130 N/A
East Hartford N/A $22,810
West Hartford N/A $22,810
Hartford N/A $22,810
Danbury N/A $23,120
Stamford N/A $24,490
Norwalk N/A $24,490
Bridgeport N/A $24,490
Waterbury N/A $25,590
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 1970 $22,830
Fort Lauderdale 1970 $22,830
West Palm Beach 1970 $22,830
St. Petersburg 1950 $24,300
Clearwater 1950 $24,300
Tampa 1950 $24,300
Orlando 450 $23,000
Kissimmee 450 $23,000
Sanford 450 $23,000
Jacksonville 420 $21,730
Marco Island 250 $28,230
Immokalee 250 $28,230
Naples 250 $28,230
Gainesville 190 $23,820
Bradenton 90 $24,260
Sarasota 90 $24,260
North Port 90 $24,260
Cape Coral 80 $24,060
Fort Myers 80 $24,060
Panama City 70 $20,570
Melbourne 70 $24,960
Titusville 70 $24,960
Palm Bay 70 $24,960
Daytona Beach 50 $20,830
Deltona 50 $20,830
Ormond Beach 50 $20,830
Port St. Lucie 40 $22,460
Winter Haven N/A $20,510
Lakeland N/A $20,510
Pensacola N/A $27,560
Ferry Pass N/A $27,560
Brent N/A $27,560
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 4500 $21,420
Sandy Springs 4500 $21,420
Atlanta 4500 $21,420
Savannah 210 $19,950
Macon 150 $19,330
Valdosta N/A $18,060
Albany N/A $18,730
Brunswick N/A $20,730
Warner Robins N/A $21,540
Clarke County N/A $21,590
Athens N/A $21,590
Gainesville N/A $22,780
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 650 $25,150
Lahaina N/A $26,810
Wailuku N/A $26,810
Kahului N/A $26,810
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pocatello 80 $18,270
Coeur d'Alene 50 $20,950
Boise City N/A $22,160
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Danville 40 $22,820
Kankakee N/A $19,340
Peoria N/A $20,370
Rockford N/A $20,990
Carbondale N/A $21,150
Marion N/A $21,150
Decatur N/A $23,210
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Indianapolis 410 $21,440
Anderson 410 $21,440
Carmel 410 $21,440
Bloomington 150 $17,940
Fort Wayne 80 $19,980
Goshen N/A $18,610
Elkhart N/A $18,610
Kokomo N/A $22,880
West Lafayette N/A $23,380
Lafayette N/A $23,380
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Iowa City 170 $20,070
Waterloo 150 $18,060
Cedar Falls 150 $18,060
Cedar Rapids 130 $19,460
Des Moines N/A $20,080
West Des Moines N/A $20,080
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 440 $19,290
Topeka N/A $18,140
Manhattan N/A $20,520
Lawrence N/A $21,140
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette N/A $18,730
Lexington N/A $18,730
Fort Knox N/A $19,420
Elizabethtown N/A $19,420
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 1850 $19,780
New Orleans 1850 $19,780
Lafayette 540 $18,980
Baton Rouge 540 $19,270
Bossier City 360 $18,960
Shreveport 360 $18,960
Alexandria 110 $21,240
Lake Charles 80 $19,380
Monroe N/A $17,960
Thibodaux N/A $19,400
Houma N/A $19,400
Hammond N/A $21,500
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Portland 630 $22,990
South Portland 630 $22,990
Bangor 420 $21,210
Auburn N/A $20,840
Lewiston N/A $20,840
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Baltimore 2010 $21,090
Towson 2010 $21,090
Columbia 2010 $21,090
Lexington Park N/A $26,960
California N/A $26,960
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 330 $31,900
New Bedford 60 $29,940
Leominster N/A $20,820
Gardner N/A $20,820
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 1880 $21,470
Detroit 1880 $21,470
Dearborn 1880 $21,470
East Lansing 520 $19,870
Lansing 520 $19,870
Battle Creek 50 $20,340
Saginaw 40 $21,890
Bay City N/A $19,040
Flint N/A $19,310
Portage N/A $21,690
Kalamazoo N/A $21,690
Muskegon N/A $22,000
Wyoming N/A $22,080
Grand Rapids N/A $22,080
Monroe N/A $22,220
Niles N/A $22,610
Benton Harbor N/A $22,610
Ann Arbor N/A $23,600
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
St. Cloud N/A $21,830
Rochester N/A $23,700
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pascagoula 500 $21,100
Biloxi 500 $21,100
Gulfport 500 $21,100
Jackson 490 $19,560
Hattiesburg N/A $23,010
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Springfield 160 $20,280
Columbia 50 $18,670
Jefferson City N/A $19,350
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 970 $22,030
Missoula 220 $23,050
Great Falls N/A $22,800
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 1090 $20,140
Grand Island 210 $24,230
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 1640 $29,260
Henderson 1640 $29,260
Las Vegas 1640 $29,260
Reno 190 $26,320
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 310 $22,050
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 380 $24,660
Atlantic City 340 $24,130
Hammonton 340 $24,130
Vineland 170 $20,230
Bridgeton 170 $20,230
Ocean City N/A $21,210
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 370 $24,080
Santa Fe 240 N/A
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 740 $20,360
Troy 380 $21,010
Albany 380 $21,010
Schenectady 380 $21,010
Utica 270 $20,250
Rome 270 $20,250
Syracuse 200 $20,150
Ithaca 150 $34,030
Elmira 90 $21,630
Binghamton N/A $19,630
Watertown N/A $19,770
Fort Drum N/A $19,770
Glens Falls N/A $20,060
Buffalo N/A $20,360
Niagara Falls N/A $20,360
Cheektowaga N/A $20,360
Kingston N/A $23,830
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 380 $18,800
Durham 180 $26,960
Chapel Hill 180 $26,960
Asheville 160 $22,970
Wilmington 110 $18,960
Burlington 80 $19,140
Greenville 70 $21,000
Jacksonville N/A $17,300
Fayetteville N/A $17,760
Rocky Mount N/A $17,920
Goldsboro N/A $17,970
Salem N/A $18,190
Winston N/A $18,190
High Point N/A $18,410
Greensboro N/A $18,410
Hickory N/A $18,590
Lenoir N/A $18,590
Morganton N/A $18,590
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck N/A $25,110
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 1970 $22,040
Dayton 1180 $20,570
Akron 600 $19,970
Toledo 570 $19,590
Canton 370 $20,940
Massillon 370 $20,940
Lima 250 $19,480
Elyria N/A $20,490
Cleveland N/A $20,490
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 1170 $18,260
Tulsa 330 $19,970
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bend 80 $25,430
Redmond 80 $25,430
Medford 60 $21,170
Eugene N/A $23,100
Salem N/A $23,640
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lancaster 340 $22,680
Hanover 160 $19,710
York 160 $19,710
Wilkes 60 $23,980
Scranton 60 $23,980
Barre 60 $23,980
Hazleton 60 $23,980
Johnstown 40 $18,420
Erie N/A $18,250
Pittsburgh N/A $18,440
Altoona N/A $18,820
Carlisle N/A $20,200
Harrisburg N/A $20,200
Williamsport N/A $21,250
Chambersburg N/A $21,740
Waynesboro N/A $21,740
East Stroudsburg N/A $23,280
Reading N/A $23,410
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 750 $17,590
Carolina 750 $17,590
San Juan 750 $17,590
Ponce N/A $17,410
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 1070 $18,260
Mauldin 670 $19,540
Greenville 670 $19,540
Anderson 670 $19,540
Beaufort 410 $18,820
Bluffton 410 $18,820
Hilton Head Island 410 $18,820
Charleston 320 $19,020
North Charleston 320 $19,020
Florence N/A $18,570
Spartanburg N/A $21,590
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 570 $19,770
Rapid City 270 $22,130
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Murfreesboro 2730 $19,270
Franklin 2730 $19,270
Davidson 2730 $19,270
Nashville 2730 $19,270
Knoxville 670 $20,420
Johnson City N/A $18,440
Morristown N/A $18,990
Jackson N/A $21,250
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dallas 6210 $22,360
Fort Worth 6210 $22,360
Arlington 6210 $22,360
Houston 4250 $23,210
Sugar Land 4250 $23,210
The Woodlands 4250 $23,210
Austin 2080 $21,660
Round Rock 2080 $21,660
San Antonio 1510 $20,070
New Braunfels 1510 $20,070
El Paso 910 $19,050
Corpus Christi 740 $22,550
College Station 320 $20,550
Bryan 320 $20,550
Amarillo 280 $19,710
Beaumont 270 $18,480
Port Arthur 270 $18,480
Wichita Falls 210 $19,360
Tyler 210 $23,090
Odessa 190 $23,970
Brownsville 120 $18,660
Harlingen 120 $18,660
Killeen 110 $18,090
Temple 110 $18,090
Abilene 40 $20,260
Waco N/A $18,360
Lubbock N/A $19,450
Denison N/A $19,880
Sherman N/A $19,880
Longview N/A $20,670
McAllen N/A $21,000
Edinburg N/A $21,000
Mission N/A $21,000
Laredo N/A $21,710
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Clearfield 190 $27,690
Ogden 190 $27,690
Salt Lake City N/A $24,600
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 260 $26,570
Burlington 260 $26,570
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond N/A $18,450
Harrisonburg N/A $19,070
Lynchburg N/A $20,720
Roanoke N/A $20,940
Staunton N/A $21,310
Waynesboro N/A $21,310
Charlottesville N/A $23,420
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tacoma 2480 $24,030
Seattle 2480 $24,030
Bellevue 2480 $24,030
Spokane 150 $24,050
Spokane Valley 150 $24,050
Tumwater 130 $28,270
Olympia 130 $28,270
Bellingham 80 $23,630
Longview 40 $28,890
Wenatchee N/A $23,200
Kennewick N/A $23,240
Richland N/A $23,240
Anacortes N/A $25,350
Mount Vernon N/A $25,350
Silverdale N/A $25,730
Bremerton N/A $25,730
Yakima N/A $26,760
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Morgantown 150 $19,740
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Waukesha 470 $22,590
West Allis 470 $22,590
Milwaukee 470 $22,590
Madison 200 $28,180
Green Bay 180 $19,320
Oshkosh 70 $22,260
Neenah 70 $22,260
Fond du Lac N/A $17,940
Wausau N/A $18,250
Beloit N/A $19,120
Janesville N/A $19,120
Appleton N/A $19,940

Most Popular Industries for :
Short Order Cooks

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 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
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Programs
  • Art of Cooking (D)
  • Culinary Arts (AS)
  • Baking & Pastry (AS)
  • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
  • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
  • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
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Santa Ana
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Programs
  • Culinary Arts Professional
  • Culinary Arts Specialist
  • Baking and Pastry Specialist
  • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
  • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
  • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
  • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
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Clovis
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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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