A food counter assistant works behind the counter in cafes, self-service restaurants and fast food outlets, serving food and drink for eating on the premises or taking away.
You could be:
standing behind the counter, taking food orders face to face or on the phone and passing them to the kitchen
taking orders via a drive-through booth and inputting them into a computerised till
serving hot and cold food to customers as they move along the counter
heating up food in a microwave or serving it from large pots on a hot plate
making sandwiches, burgers, salads, tea or coffee
clearing and wiping the tables in the eating area and keeping the work area clean and tidy
loading and unloading the dishwasher
making sure there are enough trays, cutlery and condiments (sugar, milk, sauces) available
working the till, adding totals, taking money and giving change.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2021 the National Minimum Wage is £4.62 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17, £6.56 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £8.36 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage is £8.91 for workers aged 23 and over.
You work shifts, including early mornings, evenings and weekends.
Part time work is common.
It can be hectic and noisy, especially at peak times.
You might have to wear a uniform, or protective clothes such as apron, gloves, hat or hairnet.
Training is usually on the job. You learn about health and safety, using kitchen equipment, preparing food, using cash tills and taking orders.
Anyone with a job involving the handling of food must complete a relevant food safety and hygiene course.
There are SVQs which you can do while working, such as Food and Beverage Service or Food and Drink Operations (Food Sales and Service Skills) at SCQF Level 5 and Hospitality Services at SCQF Level 4 or 5.
There is often a high turnover of staff, and so there are usually a lot of vacancies.
After gaining experience you can apply for jobs as supervisor or manager.
Some fast food chains run their own training schemes.