Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupation Profiles


The Food Preparation and Serving Related occupation profiles below include specific information about the nature of the work; average earnings; underlying training and education; related occupations; and corresponding academic programs.

Discover your next career opportunity in the food service industry. Whether looking for a first job or building on experience in food preparation, waiting tables, or cooking, find all you need to advance in the culinary world.

Fast Facts: As of 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 11,438,550 employed in the Food Preparation and Serving Related occupational group earning the mean annual income of $20,220.

Highest Paid

Lowest Paid


What’s Hot: It was once said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” With the proliferation of the Food Network and other ‘food for thought’ TV programming, it’s no wonder that “Chefs and Head Cooks” top the Best Paid list at ($42,410) and the very exclusive “Cooks, Private Household” occupation with a membership of only 960 employees averages $31,020 in the Food Preparation and Serving Related group.

What’s Not:Cooks, Fast Food” ($17,620) and “Combined Food Preparation & Serving Workers (including Fast Food)” ($17,400) are neither making rich sauces nor rich incomes in topping the Least Paid list. “Counter Attendants, Cafeteria, Food Dishwashers” ($17,750) are also included in this category. Perhaps, the public should consider that better tips are welcome here…

Sources: In addition to specific citations noted, supplementary source materials include the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.