Food Preparation and Serving Occupations

Employment of food preparation and serving related occupations is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations, a gain of about 1.2 million jobs. Population and income growth are expected to result in greater consumer demand for food at a variety of dining places, including restaurants and grocery stores.

Food preparation and serving related occupations is the lowest paid occupational group, with a median annual wage of $20,810.


Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.

Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served. They direct kitchen staff and handle any food-related concerns.


Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods, which may include soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.

Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers

Food and beverage serving and related workers perform a variety of customer service, food preparation, and cleaning duties in restaurants, cafeterias, and other eating and drinking establishments.

Food Preparation Workers

Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers. Food preparation workers prepare cold foods, slice meat, peel and cut vegetables, brew coffee or tea, and perform many other food service tasks.

Food Service Managers

Food service managers are responsible for the daily operation of restaurants or other establishments that prepare and serve food and beverages. They direct staff to ensure that customers are satisfied with their dining experience, and they manage the business to ensure that it is profitable.

Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

Additional Food Preparation and Serving Occupations


Dishwashers clean dishes, utensils, kitchens, and food preparation equipment.

First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers

First-Line Supervisors of Food Preparation and Serving Workers directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers who prepare and serve food.

View all Careers in alphabetical order

Browse other Careers categories: