|License/Certification||Food safety certification|
|Key Skills||General math and comprehension skills; customer service and understanding of food service procedures|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||6% growth*|
|Mean Annual Salary (2015)||$19,710 (for food preparation and serving workers)*|
Fast food workers are responsible for serving customers in dining establishments that serve fast food or offer take out. Formal education is not required for this job. However, general math and comprehension skills are required. Workers are typically trained on-the-job by experienced employees or managers. Employees must learn about food safety, sanitation and health regulations. A food handler card or permit is also sometimes required.
Fast food workers are the initial contact between customers and fast food establishments. They are responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction, resolving customer complaints, and addressing any questions or comments that customers may have. Fast food workers perform many tasks. They take customers' orders, assemble the orders, and act as cashiers. Fast food is then served through drive-through windows or over counters in the restaurant. In some fast food restaurants, such as take-out establishments, workers may be responsible for serving food on dishes or trays.
Daily duties of fast food workers include making fresh coffee, replenishing supplies and condiments, maintaining inventory and taking food orders. They must maintain cleanliness in food service areas and throughout the food establishment. Duties may also include notifying kitchen staff of any food orders or food shortages.
Some fast food employees may have additional responsibilities, such as operating cooking equipment or preparing cold dishes and beverages. Workers often use drink-dispensing machines to serve milkshakes, frozen custards, frozen drinks and desserts. They may also be responsible for preparing fresh salads or soups.
Knowledge of governmental health regulations and food safety is required. Food handling and sanitation knowledge is also vital. Fast food workers should possess the ability to review and understand procedures, and general math skills are also necessary.
Some states may require fast food workers to hold a food worker or food handler permit. This permit, which may be required for employees who handle and prepare foods in commercial food establishments, is granted after employees complete a class, pass a test, and pay a small fee.
Fast food workers must be able to stand in a confined area for most of their work schedule. They must be able to stay alert and be able to exercise quick thinking. The ability to handle pressure and maintain an adequate energy level are skills that may make the fast food worker's job much easier. Fast food workers may work irregular hours, such as evenings, weekends or holidays.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, stated that food preparation and serving workers (which included fast food workers) could expect average employment growth from 2014-2024, at 6%. Because of high turnover rates, job prospects should be favorable for these professionals. Combined food preparation and serving workers made a mean annual salary of $19,710 in May 2015, according to the BLS.