Short Order Cook Vs. Line Cook

Short order cooks and line cooks both have different duties in the kitchens they work in. Here you can learn more information about each career options along with similar and different tasks each is responsible for.

Comparing Short Order Cooks to Line Cooks

Short order cooks and line cooks both work in the food service industry. Short order cooks typically work in restaurants or coffee shops where food is made and served quickly, while line cooks work in larger restaurants and only cook one part of a meal. Here you can compare these two food service professions to see which occupation may fit your needs.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Short Order Cook No formal education required $21,890 -5% (decline)
Line Cook No formal education required $24,140 14%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Short Order Cooks vs. Line Cooks

Short order cooks prepare quick meals at an establishment and typically work on many meals at one time. Line cooks work in a very different setting where they are assigned to a specific station where they complete one part of a meal. Both of these professions require individuals to be on their feet and work in a fast-paced environment. Communication is also needed as they typically work with other cooks when completing meals for customers.

Short Order Cook

Short order cooks typically prepare quickly-made foods, including sandwiches, eggs, and french fries. They must know the menu and how to prepare foods to service customers quickly. Short order cooks must have good customer service skills as they need to be able to listen to what a customer wants and cook their food accordingly. They also must have a good sense of taste and smell to cook meals that customers will enjoy.

Job responsibilities of a short order cook include:

  • Maintaining a clean kitchen
  • Weighing and measuring ingredients
  • Handling food according to safety regulations
  • Serving food to customers

Line Cook

Line cooks usually work in one area of a kitchen preparing one part of the meal. They might work with vegetables, grill meat, or fry foods. Line cooks must be able to use a variety of kitchen tools and equipment including grinders, grills, slicers, and blenders. They must know the sanitation regulations to ensure their food is safe for customers. They also need to have good hand-eye coordination as they might need to chop and cut food for the portion of the meals they are responsible for.

Job responsibilities of a line cook include:

  • Arranging and garnishing food on a plate
  • Keeping work areas clean
  • Cooking and handling food in a safe manner
  • Storing ingredients correctly

Related Careers

Individuals wanting to work as a short order cook may also be interested in a career as a baker, where they would be performing similar duties revolving around bread and pastries. Those interested in the duties of a line cook and willing to pursue more education might look into a career as a chef, leading a kitchen and ensuring other cooks are doing their part.

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