Short Order Cook  What They Do

Just the Facts


Cook - Short Order Career Video



Prepares and cooks to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

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


A person in this career:

  • Grills, cooks, and fries foods such as french fries, eggs, and pancakes.
  • Cleans food preparation equipment, work areas, and counters or tables.
  • Takes orders from customers and cooks foods requiring short preparation times, according to customer requirements.
  • Grills and garnishes hamburgers or other meats, such as steaks and chops.
  • Restocks kitchen supplies, rotates food, and stamps the time and date on food in coolers.
  • Performs food preparation tasks, such as making sandwiches, carving meats, making soups or salads, baking breads or desserts, and brewing coffee or tea.
  • Plans work on orders so that items served together are finished at the same time.
  • Completes orders from steam tables, placing food on plates and serving customers at tables or counters.
  • Performs general cleaning activities in kitchen and dining areas.
  • Accepts payments, and makes change or writes charge slips as necessary.

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
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • 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
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Prep Cook (Preparation Cook) -- Assists in the preparation of meals by chopping vegetables, making salads, and putting together entrees.
  • Sandwich Artist -- Greets and serves guests, prepares food, maintains food safety and sanitation standards, and handles or processes light paperwork.