Food Preparation Workers

General Information


Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.

Workplace at a Glance

What you can expect to experience while on the job

  • Responsibility
  • Exposure to job hazards
  • Physical activity
  • Decision making
  • Repetitiveness
  • Level of competition
  • Time pressure

Industry areas

  • Restaurants and Other Eating Places
  • Food and Beverage Stores (4451 and 4452 only)
  • Special Food Services

Job Outlook

Employment of food preparation workers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Population and income growth are expected to result in greater consumer demand for food at a variety of dining places, including restaurants and grocery stores. In response, more restaurants and food establishments are expected to open. Many of these establishments will require food preparation workers to wash and cut ingredients, clean work areas, and store and retrieve supplies. In addition, consumers continue to prefer fresh meals made from scratch, and chefs and cooks in various food service venues will require the assistance of food preparation workers to prepare these more labor-intensive meals. Some restaurants and cafeterias customize their food orders from wholesalers and distributors in an effort to lower costs. For example, they may order prewashed, precut, or preseasoned ingredients, such as meat or vegetables. Employment growth of food preparation workers will be moderated at these dining establishments.

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Average Salary



State-by-state Salary

Gray states indicate no data available

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Most Common Education Levels

People in this career achieve this level of education.

  • High school 44%
  • Less than high school 37%
  • Post-master's certificate 13%
  • Bachelor's degree 3%
  • Some college 0%
  • Master's degree 0%
  • Doctoral degree 0%
  • Associate's degree 0%
  • Post baccalaureate 0%
  • Post-doctoral training 0%
  • First professional degree 0%
  • Post-secondary certificate 0%


  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Administration and Management
  • Production and Processing
  • Education and Training
  • Public Safety and Security

Skills at a Glance

Skills helpful in this career

  • Verbal skills
  • Critical thinking & problem solving
  • Equipment operation & maintenance
  • Math & science skills
  • Technology design & control
  • Leadership
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