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Short Order Cook

What They Do

Cooks, Short order Career Video

About This Career

Prepares and cooks to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

This career is part of the Hospitality and Tourism cluster Restaurants and Food/Beverage Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Cleans food preparation equipment, work areas, and counters or tables.
  • Performs food preparation tasks, such as making sandwiches, carving meats, making soups or salads, baking breads or desserts, and brewing coffee or tea.
  • Performs general cleaning activities in kitchen and dining areas.
  • Restocks kitchen supplies, rotates food, and stamps the time and date on food in coolers.
  • Grills, cooks, and fries foods such as french fries, eggs, and pancakes.
  • Plans work on orders so that items served together are finished at the same time.
  • Takes orders from customers and cooks foods requiring short preparation times, according to customer requirements.
  • Grills and garnishes hamburgers or other meats, such as steaks and chops.
  • Completes orders from steam tables, placing food on plates and serving customers at tables or counters.
  • Orders supplies and stocks them on shelves.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Caterer — Provides food for business and social gatherings, such as at weddings, parties, celebrations, picnics, and business meetings.
  • Cook — Prepares and cooks a wide variety of foods in restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other health care institutions, central food commissaries, educational institutions and other establishments.
  • Deli Cook (Delicatessen Cook)
  • Grill Cook
  • Line Cook — Holds down one station on a restaurant line and can be expected to perform a range of duties related to the station.
  • Pizza Maker
  • Prep Cook (Preparation Cook) — Assists in the preparation of meals by chopping vegetables, making salads, and putting together entrees.
  • Snack Bar Cook
  • Food and Beverage Attendant


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733