What Do Cooks, Fast Food Do?
Fast food establishments are needed to provide customers with quick, tasty food, so the cooks who work at these places need to be experienced enough to handle this responsibility. These cooks need to be thoroughly familiar with the limited menu of the restaurant and know how to prepare some basic items quickly. They also need to know how to utilize large-volume cooking equipment. There is not expected to be a whole lot of growth with this career field in the next decade, and the number of cooks needed is projected to remain fairly stagnant. Some states are expected to see the need for fast food cooks drops while other states expect to see substantial growth, so look into whatever state you live in to see if it is a career worth pursuing.
Cooks, Fast Food Skills and Abilities
Arguably, the most important talent a fast food cook can possess is knowing how to handle and prepare various menu items. However, you also need to possess customer service skills because you may need to interact with the customers from time to time. Coordination is crucial so that everyone in the kitchen knows what they are supposed to be doing. You also need to be able to monitor yourself and everything going on around you so that everything gets completed on time. In addition to these more mental skills, you also need to have certain physical abilities like being able to lift heavy objects and stay on your feet for long periods of time.
Cooks, Fast Food Duties
As a cook, you will be expected to do a lot more than simply cook food. You will also be in charge of ensuring that your work station remains clean and adheres to all state and city standards. You should know how to measure ingredients to make sure you are making everything exactly as it is supposed to be. You need to maintain inventory and request orders when more items are required. Additional tasks that will be expected of you include:
- Taking customer orders.
- Processing payments.
- Preparing bread.
- Coordinating timing of all food preparation activities.
- Ensuring quality of food and materials.
Cooks, Fast Food Tools and Technology
The types of machines you will come into contact with will vary depending on the type of establishment you are working in. You may need to know how to operate a soda dispenser or an espresso machine. You will also be expected to use a cash register from time to time. Certain types of software will also need to be utilized that may include RestaurantPlus PRO, Point of Sale software and Foodman Home-Delivery.
Education and Training for Cooks, Fast Food
Most people who become fast food cooks have a high school diploma or less. There is not much you will need in training beforehand because most establishments will train you when you are hired. However, if you are already coming with a certain level of cooking experience, that is certainly a plus.
Cooks, Fast Food Salary
The median wage for being a cook at a fast food restaurant tends to be around $8.91/hour. Those who are just entering the field can generally expect to earn $7.83/hour although the amount you earn may be closer to what your state’s minimum wage is. The highest percentile in this field is around $11.39/hour.
Cooks, Fast Food Jobs by Geography
In addition to restaurants, the industries that have the greatest demand for cooks include gas stations, grocery stores and amusement parks. The states with the highest employment levels for this position include California, Texas and Illinois. However, if you are interested in what states tend to pay the most, you should look into Alaska, Vermont and Washington.