Kitchen staffs populate the restaurant, educational, correction and outdoor camp and retreat sectors. In these settings, crews satisfy the pallets and appetites of shoppers, casual diners, campers, students and others needing or wanting meals. The kitchen staff job description reveals the diversity of duties and skills involved this occupation.
Job Overview: What Does a Kitchen Staff Worker Do?
The kitchen staff supports the preparation and service of food. These workers usually perform multiple tasks during a shift. Generally, these run the gambit of cleaning, food preparation and serving guests. To work on a kitchen crew requires the exercise of reading, math, customer service and physical skills.
Kitchen Staff Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities
- Prepare foods to be cooked in accordance with recipes and allergies and dietary restrictions of guests
- Place trash bags in receptacles prior to food service and during meals as necessary
- Wash cups, plates, utensils, pots, pans, cooking utensils and other kitchen equipment
- Sweep and mop kitchen and dining areas
- Wipe and sanitize tables, counters, cooking surfaces and equipment
- Supply buffet contains
- Organize place settings for guests at tables
- Plate salads, entrees and other meals or foods
- Serve meals or food and beverage orders to guests
- Fill cups with ice and beverages or water
- Track inventory of ingredients, supplies, meals, beverages and food stocks and notify chef or kitchen manager of inventory status
- Clean refrigerators and remove outdated or otherwise unsafe, unsanitary or risky food, beverages or ingredients
- Remove trash, leftover food, dishes, napkins and table linens upon departure of guests
- Clean and refill beverage pitchers
Kitchen Staff Job Essential Skills
Concentration. Kitchen staff members must pay attention to completely clean eating and cooking areas. Concentration skills promote safe handling of knives, stoves, food and other kitchen supplies and prevention of contaminated food and diners suffering from allergic reactions.
First Aid. Workers in kitchens need skills and knowledge in treating burns, scraps, cuts and other minor injuries. These mishaps may occur outside the kitchen, especially in outdoor camps.l
Interpersonal. A kitchen staff functions as a team. Members must exhibit the ability to accept roles, help other staff members and handle any conflicts. Those staff workers at youth camps must also demonstrate a willingness to help and exercise patience with children. In dining settings, interpersonal skills also include providing courteous service and assisting diners with finding seats or carrying food and drinks.
Listening. Chefs and kitchen managers instruct kitchen staff members on preparation of food, fulfillment of special orders and tasks to be performed such as trash removal and cleaning. Staff members must listen to guests in order to comprehend and relay to cooks orders, any special requests and food allergies.
Math. Math skills for kitchen staff members include measuring oils, liquids, sugar, butter and other ingredients for recipes. Kitchen staff workers also need the ability to read thermometers and clocks.
Physical. The duties of kitchen staff members include constant walking, lifting items of various weights and standing. Strength and stamina help staff members meet these physical demands and perform these physical tasks. Dexterity and coordination are necessary for kitchen staff to deliver plates and entrees to patrons.
Reading. Kitchen staff members, especially those who assist with meal preparation must, have literacy skills to understand instructions in recipes. Reading abilities also help staff workers have awareness of warnings, potential hazards in the job and directions for staff and dining guests to exit the premises in case of emergencies.
Becoming a Kitchen Staff Member
In many instances, kitchen staff jobs afford entry-level experience in the labor field overall or in the restaurant or food service industry. Some jurisdictions require those handling food to possess a food handling certificate that demonstrates their knowledge of food safety and sanitation standards and ability to handle food accordingly.
Education & Training
Though usually not required, a high school education is desirable to hold a kitchen staff job. Some employers may require applicants to have at least one year or some other limited period of post-secondary education. Whether in high school or beyond, classes in food service, sanitation, culinary arts and restaurant operations may afford valuable knowledge to kitchen staff. Candidates should also take and perform well in math classes.
Normally, employers will train their kitchen staff workers in sanitation, food handling and the layout of the kitchen and dining area. Where the jurisdiction requires a food handling certificate, workers can receive instruction and training online through organizations such as ServSafe and Food Handler Classes. Even when certification is not a mandate, it can prove to be an asset to those seeking these positions.
Some employers, especially those affiliated with a religious organization or order, may orient new workers into the belief system or principles of the organization.
Kitchen staff members should, but are not necessarily required, to have prior work experience in a kitchen setting. The experience may include jobs as dishwashers, servers in cafeterias or restaurants and line cooks.
Prior employment or volunteering in camps can prove especially helpful in landing some kitchen staff jobs. Owners or operators of camps run kitchens and seek candidates who understand the challenges of an outdoor retreat or similar establishment. These obstacles include the remoteness of many locations and the lack of outdoor electricity or passable roads and paths in certain areas of the camp. Kitchen staff may have to perform duties outside of the kitchen, which might include assistance in searching for lost campers.
As kitchen staff members can work in a variety of settings, the particular setting will guide the work schedules. Many camps open only during warm weather periods and either not operate in winter or host only particular weekend events during that time. In these places, kitchen staff work during day times or early evenings when meals are prepared and served. Some camps may require kitchen staff to reside on or near the grounds when the camp operates.
Kitchen staff workers in restaurants, nursing homes, corrections or detention facilities and commercially-run cafeterias likely have evenings and weekend shifts. In restaurants and for-profit cafeterias especially, kitchen workers can have part-time jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that roughly half of “Food Preparation Workers” held part-time positions in 2014.
Schools normally operate during daytimes and weekdays. As a result, kitchen staff members in school cafeterias avoid evening and weekend shifts. Further, most schools operate nine to ten months per year, closing in the summer.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of “Food Preparation Workers” should rise by six percent through 2024. Much of the growth will occur with restaurants opening, especially in well-populated areas.
Kitchen staff workers may find relatively fewer positions with camps or facilities run by nonprofits or schools, given the limited sources of revenues. In particular, kitchens run by religious groups or other nonprofits depend on donations or fees for camp attendance.
Employment on a kitchen staff can prove as valuable, sometimes entry-level experience for those pursuing careers in the restaurant or food industry, including those who may aspire to own a restaurant.
Kitchen staff workers summon their stamina, strength, concentration, ability to relate positively with others, reading and math skills in support of cooking for and serving diners. In many settings, especially camps, staff members need experience or familiarity with the environment and challenges that accompany the setting.
As with many entry-level kitchen or food preparation jobs, kitchen staff positions can springboard their holders into careers as managers of kitchens, restaurants or cafeterias and even into ownership of food service establishments.