Food service workers are workers who perform manual food service work as they go about serving meals. Part of their duties also involves the cleaning up of work areas and dietary items. They perform other work duties as is required by their supervisors. In general this work involves helping with the preparation and serving of a selection of foods.
Food service workers are often found working in healthcare settings such as hospitals, community centers and retirement homes. It is their job to make sure that all food that is prepared in these facilities is up to standards. All of the meals they prepare are nutritious and safe.
Food service workers are required to have the minimum of a high school diploma followed by training in this industry. Certification or licensing is required by all states for this type of work. Workers must obtain health certificates from the State Department of Public Health that certifies that the individual is free from any diseases that can easily be communicated to other people. This will be determined following a physical examination and blood tests. The purpose of doing this is to ensure the protection and safety of the public.
Food service workers include waiters and waitresses, counter attendants, dining room attendants, hosts and hostesses, kitchen assistants, banquet servers and fast food workers. Anyone who has a job that deals with the serving of food in any capacity could be considered to be a food service worker.
While there are no specific education or experience requirements for this job, continuing education is strongly encouraged. There are some online continuing education courses for food service workers that are cost effective and make it such that taking time off of work is not required.
One option to help further your skills and increase your chances of finding a better job in the industry is to earn a Food Services Worker Certificate. Successful completion of such a certificate will provide you with the opportunity to work towards the Culinary Management diploma program. Some of the subjects you would cover in working towards this certificate include nutrition, nutrition and special diets, culinary skills and techniques, baking and pastry arts, safe food handling (theory and practical) and kitchen management.
Communication skills and an outgoing personality are very important for a food service worker. This is especially pertinent for those who seek employment in healthcare settings. Some online continuing education courses for food service workers will include communication as a part of the program. The same can be said for some in-person training programs taken at a local college. General principles of human communication will be looked at, as well as listening skills, intercultural communication and verbal interaction. Workers will be taught effective techniques for communication with patients, residents, customers, co-workers and supervisors.
People who choose to work in the food service industry must have lots of energy and physical stamina because they will spend many hours on their feet. They must have a thorough understanding of the practices surrounding food preparation, food service and the principles governing food sanitation. They must know how to care for and use food service utensils and equipment and they must understand the potential health hazards that exist.