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Restaurant Kitchen Helper

Restaurant kitchen helpers typically work in the kitchens of restaurants, coffee shops, or cafeterias (cafeterias in schools, hospitals, large corporate buildings, museums, etc.). If you are a kitchen helper, you will have some clearly defined and repetitive tasks (e.g., chopping and cooking food items).


This job usually does not have an educational requirement.

Previous Experience

Previous experience working in a restaurant setting (e.g., dishwasher, bus boy/girl, etc.) is preferred.
Although many employers prefer that you have previous experience in the same or similar area of employment setting, it is strongly encouraged that you apply anyways.

Job Duties

  • Prepare a variety of food items for cooking.
  • Retrieve food items from the fridge or freezer.
  • Wash, peel, and/or cut food items, including fruits, vegetables, or certain types of meats.
  • Mix ingredients for salads.
  • Portion or wrap food items or dishes.
  • Store food in containers and in the fridge or freezer.
  • Weigh or measure ingredients (e.g., flour, salt, sugar, oil).
  • Re-fill kitchen condiment bottles and shakers.
  • Stack and store food supplies, equipment, or other utensils in the kitchen.
  • Wipe down kitchen surfaces using proper sanitizers.
  • Clean any used kitchenware (e.g., knives) or dishes.
  • Mop or sweep the kitchen floor, and collecting dirt and debris in a dustpan.
  • Empty out the dustpan in the garbage or squeeze out the mop into a bucket.
  • Take out trash bags from kitchen.
  • Your employer may also ask you to carry out additional duties than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

This job requires that you are able to work ‘Behind the Scene’. If you are working as a kitchen helper in the food service industry, you may not have to talk with customers on a regular basis, but you will be working near customers.  You may be required to speak with and interact with co-workers (e.g., cooks, wait staff) or take direction from supervisors.

Skills / Abilities

Oral Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to follow verbal instructions and ideas.

Manual Dexterity - This job requires the repeated and coordinated use of your arms, hands, wrists, and fingers to use kitchen utensils (e.g., knives, spatulas) for chopping food items.

Ability to follow Health and Safety Procedures - Working in the food service industry requires that you closely follow health and safety rules and procedures. You will need to be able to carry out these procedures and follow these rules for the safety of restaurant patrons and your employer. Cleanliness is an important part of following health and safety codes.

Environmental Demands

Location - Kitchens are located indoors, and while a restaurant may be a climate-controlled setting, kitchens tend to become quite hot due to the heat coming from the stoves, grills, etc. In addition, most kitchens will have a walk-in fridge/freezer, and there will be times you will need to get items from the fridge/freezer.

Noise Level - The noise level will be moderate to loud and may involve people shouting over the noise of grills, fryers, and boiling pots.

Lighting Level - Kitchens typically use florescent lighting.

Work Hours - This job may have short working shifts. Most restaurants are open from morning to evening, and will have varied hours depending on the type of restaurant you work in. For example, you may work in a restaurant that only serves breakfast and lunch, or a restaurant that only serves lunch and dinner. You will need to check with your supervisor for the schedule.

Amount of Movement - This job typically requires that you stand for long periods of time. You will need to be able to sit, stand, walk, bend, reach, lift, and carry items for this job. For example, you may need reach for a crate of fresh vegetables from the fridge, and carry them to the counter.

Cleanliness and Odors - This job setting can get messy as you will be cooking and food may splatter on you. You may also need to clean dishes or kitchenware. For health and safety reasons, you will be required to always wash your hands after touching certain food items (e.g., raw meats or vegetables) or after going to the bathroom. In addition, if you work in the kitchen, you will need to tolerate the smell of food cooking (e.g., raw meat cooking or certain types of sauces).

Work Attire - Work attire will typically be casual clothing, however, most employees working in a kitchen are required to wear hats or hairnets, aprons, and sometimes gloves. 

Structure and Predictability - This job will typically have a moderate degree of structure and predictability.  This means that you might complete the same tasks each day, or you may have different tasks each day.  These tasks might not be done in the same order each day.  You might not always know ahead of time how long each task will take to complete.  You might work in the same areas each day, and you might interact with the same people each day.

What's the Pace?

    • Steady:  In most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that you will always have some work to do.  When the work pace is steady, you are working at a level “5” on a scale of “1” (nothing to do) to “10” (extremely busy, rushed pace).

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