Expand mobile version menu

Food Preparation Worker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Performs a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.

This career is part of the Hospitality & Tourism cluster Restaurants, Food and Beverage Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Cleans and sanitizes work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, or silverware.
  • Stores food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage.
  • Prepares a variety of foods, such as meats, vegetables, or desserts, according to customers' orders or supervisors' instructions, following approved procedures.
  • Takes and records temperature of food and food storage areas, such as refrigerators and freezers.
  • Washes, peels, and cuts various foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to prepare for cooking or serving.
  • Places food trays over food warmers for immediate service, or stores them in refrigerated storage cabinets.
  • Portions and wraps the food, or places it directly on plates for service to patrons.
  • Weighs or measures ingredients.
  • Mixes ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads, vegetable salads, and pasta salads.
  • Receives and stores food supplies, equipment, and utensils in refrigerators, cupboards, and other storage areas.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Line Cook -- Holds down one station on a restaurant line and can be expected to perform a range of duties related to the station.
  • Prep Cook -- Assists in the preparation of meals by chopping vegetables, making salads, and putting together entrees.
  • Food Preparer --
  • Fruit and Vegetable Parer --