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Fast Food Worker: Career Information

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Job Description:

Working in a fast food restaurant isn't glamorous and it can hardly be considered skilled work. However, there is flexibility in scheduling work time which makes it a perfect job for high school students who can earn money and gain valuable customer service experience. Fast food workers take and fill customers' orders for food and drinks. They assemble some items, for example sandwiches and salads. They also collect payment. In addition, they maintain dining areas which includes clearing and cleaning tables, emptying trash cans and washing or vacuuming floors.

Employment Facts:

There were about 2,682,000 fast food workers employed in the United States in 2010. As compared to other occupations, a disproportionally large number of them were teenagers.

Since fast food restaurants are usually open seven days a week, employees can have flexible schedules. That is something that appeals greatly to many people, particularly students. The downside is that these schedules often include working on weekends and holidays. Please note that although some restaurants are open 24 hours a day, child labor laws prohibit minors from working late at night or early in the morning. In addition there are restrictions as to the number of hours a teenager may work during the school week. Some states also require that those under age 18 have employment / age certificates, commonly known as working papers.

Educational Requirements:

Preparation for this occupation typically involves only short term on-the-job training.

Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?

Other Requirements:

Fast food workers need good customer service skills since most of what they do all day is serve the public. That means always being polite and respectful. You must be able to keep your cool when customers aren't as nice as you'd like. If you want a job in a fast food restaurant, get ready to stand on your feet throughout your shift. For this you need good physical stamina which will also enable you to lift heavy items and clean work areas. Team work is important to the functioning of these establishments so you must be able to work well with others.

Job Outlook:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth for fast food workers will be as fast as the average for all occupations through 2020. Due to a high rate of turnover, there will be more job openings in this field than in most others.

Why Do You Need to Know About Job Outlook?

Earnings:

Fast food workers, in 2011, earned median hourly wages of $8.76. This translates into $18,230 annually (US).

Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much a fast food worker currently earns in your city.

A Day in a Fast Food Worker's Life:

On a typical day a fast food worker's tasks might include:

  • Greeting customers and taking and delivering orders from behind a counter
  • Keeping work areas clean and stocked with supplies
  • Making sure napkins, cups, lids, straws and condiments are available to customers
  • Maintaining cleanliness in dining area
  • Receiving payments from customers, including processing credit and debit cards

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/food-and-beverage-serving-and-related-workers.htm (visited December 05, 2012).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/35-3021.00 (visited December 05, 2012).

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