Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Workers

(NOC 6711)

in All Sales and Service

Food counter attendants and food preparers prepare, heat and finish cooking simple food items and serve customers at food counters. Kitchen helpers, food service helpers, and dishwashers’ clear tables, clean kitchen areas, wash dishes, and perform various other activities to help workers who prepare or serve food and beverages. They work for restaurants, cafés, hotels, fast food outlets, cafeterias, hospitals, and other businesses.

Job Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Stable employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 350 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Sales and Service

  • Estimate -505 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 6125 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

From March until June, dining rooms, bars, and other drinking establishments were ordered to close. Restaurants could continue to sell delivery or take-out meals. Many food counter attendants were laid off as a result. As of November 2020, dining rooms in the Halifax region were forced to close for a second time due to community spread of the virus. This is expected to result in a temporary increase in the number of unemployed food counter attendants. Food counter attendants are common in take-out and drive-thru type businesses, which were better suited to adapt to the closure of dining rooms than table service restaurants. As a result, the percentage of workers laid off in this occupation was somewhat lower than other food service occupations (like servers), with several thousand remaining employed throughout the pandemic. Many food counter attendants who had been laid off were rehired when bars and dining rooms could reopen in early June. However, occupancy and physical distancing restrictions often reduce the amount of revenue a business can generate, which may negatively affect staffing levels.

Prior to COVID-19, this occupation was characterized by many vacancies, strong employment growth, and occasional difficulty in filling positions. High turnover is a major contributor of job opportunities in this occupation. This occupation is also common in long-term care facilities, schools, and universities, which provides a degree of employment stability relative to occupations exclusive to table service restaurants. Going forward, employment in this occupation will be linked to the health of the food services industry overall. Many restaurants have indicated an inability to recover financially from the closure in the spring. Those normally reliant on seasonal summer revenue were particularly hard-hit by the decline in tourism, and the risk remains high that travel restrictions persisting into 2021 will slow or prevent a full recovery.

The median employment income for the 22% of Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $23,043. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$12.95

Median

$16.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$1,692

Minimum

$10,593

Median

$30,311

Maximum

Compared to: All Sales and Service

Hourly Pay

$12.55

Minimum

$18.36

Median

$22.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,949

Minimum

$16,629

Median

$45,086

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Food counter attendants and food preparers prepare, heat and finish cooking simple food items and serve customers at food counters. Kitchen helpers, food service helpers, and dishwashers’ clear tables, clean kitchen areas, wash dishes, and perform various other activities to help workers who prepare or serve food and beverages. They work for restaurants, cafés, hotels, fast food outlets, cafeterias, hospitals, and other businesses.

Job duties

Food counter attendants and food preparers:

  • Take customers' orders.
  • Clean, peel, slice and trim food using manual and electric appliances.
  • Use deep fryer, grill, oven, dispensers, and other equipment to prepare fast food items like sandwiches, hamburgers, fries, salads, ice cream dishes, milkshakes, and other drinks.
  • Portion, assemble, and wrap food or place it directly on plates for service to customers, and package take-out food.
  • Use equipment to prepare hot drinks like coffee and tea specialties.
  • Serve customers at counters or buffet tables.
  • Stock refrigerators and salad bars and keep records of the quantities of food used.
  • May receive payment for food items purchased.

Kitchen helpers:

  • Wash and peel vegetables and fruit.
  • Wash worktables, cupboards, and appliances.
  • Remove trash and clean kitchen garbage containers.
  • Unpack and store supplies in refrigerators, cupboards, and other storage areas.
  • Sweep and mop floors and complete other duties to help cook and kitchen staff.

Food service helpers:

  • Clear and clean tables and trays in eating companies.
  • Bring clean dishes, flatware, and other items to serving areas and set tables.
  • Restock condiments and other supplies at tables and in serving areas.
  • Remove dishes before and after courses.
  • Perform other duties like scraping and stacking dishes, carrying linen to and from laundry area, and running errands.

Dishwashers:

  • Wash dishes, glassware, flatware, pots and pans using dishwasher or by hand.
  • Place dishes in storage area.
  • Scour pots and pans and may clean and polish silverware.

Sample job titles

  • barista
  • bartender helper
  • bus boy/girl
  • cafeteria worker
  • dining room attendant
  • dishwasher
  • fast-food preparer
  • food counter attendant
  • food service worker
  • kitchen helper

Skills

You should have good health, physical stamina, and manual dexterity. You must also be able to work on your own and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements

  • Some high school education is usually required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.

Other considerations

Work in these jobs tends to be seasonal, with employment levels peaking in the summer months. Food service workers are often expected to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

By the numbers

Quick look

12,915

employed in 2016

40.7%

employed full-time

1.0%

self employed

69.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
30.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
23.9

median age

Compared to: All Sales and Service

102,605

employed in 2016

56.4%

employed full-time

5.8%

self employed

60.1%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
39.9%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
37

median age

Where will I likely work?

45.1%

Halifax

15.9%

North Shore

14.2%

Cape Breton

12.6%

Annapolis Valley

12.2%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

76.1%

Accommodation and food services

12.9%

Health care and social assistance

5.1%

Retail trade

1.1%

Public administration

1.1%

Educational services

What is the age of Employment?

53.0%

15-24

14.0%

25-34

11.0%

45-54

11.0%

55-64

9.0%

35-44

2.0%

65+

Compared to: All Sales and Service

30.0%

15-24

17.2%

45-54

17.2%

25-34

16.1%

55-64

13.8%

35-44

Top levels of education

44.8%

High school

$11,235 median annual income
32.2%

Less than high school

$6,285 median annual income
11.7%

College Diploma

$15,440 median annual income
5.4%

Bachelor

$13,346 median annual income
4.1%

Trade Certification

$14,563 median annual income

Compared to: All Sales and Service

39.8%

High school

$15,705 median annual income
19.7%

Less than high school

$9,866 median annual income
19.5%

College Diploma

$20,644 median annual income
9.9%

Bachelor

$21,262 median annual income
8.0%

Trade Certification

$21,234 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile

Contacts

Nova Scotia Tourism Talent
Halifax, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.