Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support Workers

Occupation:Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Workers
Category:Sales and Service

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 assist workers who prepare or serve food and beverages. They are employed by restaurants, cafés, hotels, fast food outlets, cafeterias, hospitals and other establishments.

Job duties:
Food counter attendants and food preparers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Take customers' orders.
  • Clean, peel, slice and trim foodstuffs using manual and electric appliances.
  • Use deep fryer, grill, oven, dispensers and other equipment to prepare fast food items such as sandwiches, hamburgers, fries, salads, ice cream dishes, milkshakes and other beverages.
  • Portion, assemble, and wrap food or place it directly on plates for service to patrons, and package take-out food.
  • Use equipment to prepare hot beverages such as 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 perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Wash and peel vegetables and fruit.
  • Wash work tables, 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 perform other duties to assist cook and kitchen staff.
Food service helpers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Clear and clean tables and trays in eating establishments.
  • Bring clean dishes, flatware and other items to serving areas and set tables.
  • Replenish condiments and other supplies at tables and in serving areas.
  • Remove dishes before and after courses.
  • Perform other duties such as scraping and stacking dishes, carrying linen to and from laundry area and running errands.
Dishwashers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • 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

To work in these jobs, 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 secondary 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.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Workers may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common.

The median employment income for 24% of Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $23,043. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support Workers9,750Weak growth345Moderate
Minimum: $11.00
Median: $11.05
Maximum: $16.00
Minimum: $1,692
Median: $10,593
Maximum: $30,311
Occupations in Sales and Service102,605Decline slightly5,260Moderate
Minimum: $10.70
Median: $12.50
Maximum: $21.17
Minimum: $2,949
Median: $16,629
Maximum: $45,086
Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
Percent employed full-time44%59%
Percent self-employed0%6%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentFood Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton14%$13,11213%$32,974
Annapolis Valley13%$11,29613%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeFood Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support WorkersCompared to: All Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
Median Age2437
GenderFood Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Sales and Service
% Employed% Employed
EducationFood Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers, and Related Support WorkersCompared to: All Sales and Service
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school30.2%$6,28518.8%$9,486
High school46.4%$11,23540.4%$12,982
Trades certificate4.3%$14,5638.0%$18,797
College certificate or diploma12.2%$15,44019.9%$19,514
University certificate or diploma0.8%$14,3711.6%$18,279
Bachelor's degree5.4%$13,34610.0%$20,807
University advanced certificate or diploma0.2%x0.5%$15,716
Master's degree0.1%$14,3680.8%$20,769
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry0.1%x0.1%$17,368
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Tourism Talent
2089 Maitland Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2Z8
Tel: (800) 948-4267
Fax: (902) 422-0184

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.