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 and Tourism cluster Restaurants and Food/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 --