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Dining Room And Cafeteria Attendants Career

Career Description

Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants facilitate food service. They clean tables,  carry dirty dishes, replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, glassware, and dishes; supply service bar with food, and serve water, butter, and coffee to patrons.

Common Work Tasks

  • Wipe tables and seats with dampened cloths, and replace dirty tablecloths
  • Set tables with clean linens, condiments, and other supplies.
  • Scrape and stack dirty dishes, and carry dishes and other tableware to kitchens for cleaning
  • Clean up spilled food, drink and broken dishes,  and remove empty bottles and trash
  • Perform serving, cleaning, and stocking duties in establishments such as cafeterias or dining rooms in order to facilitate customer service
  • Maintain adequate supplies of items such as clean linens, silverware, glassware, dishes, and trays
  • Serve ice water, coffee, rolls, and butter to patrons
  • Fill beverage and ice dispensers
  • Stock cabinets and serving areas with condiments, and refill condiment containers as necessary
  • Locate items requested by customers

Other Job Titles

Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendants are also known by other titles, including:

  • Cooks
  • Waiters and Waitresses
  • Food Preparation Workers
  • Servers

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  Most dining room and cafeteria attendants require little education or training to start because most skills are learned on the job. Training generally starts with basic sanitation and workplace safety and continues with instruction on food handling, preparation, and cooking procedures. Training in food handling,  sanitation, and health and safety procedures are mandatory in most jurisdictions for all workers.

      Dining room and cafeteria attendants must be efficient, quick, and work well as part of a team. Manual dexterity is helpful for cutting, chopping, and plating. These workers also need creativity and a keen sense of taste and smell. Personal cleanliness is essential because most States require health certificates indicating that workers are free from communicable diseases. Knowledge of a foreign language can be an asset because it may improve communication with other short order staff, vendors, and the short order’s clientele.


The median annual salary for a Dining Room and Cafeteria Attendant is $16,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $23,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $13,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of dining room and cafeteria attendants are:

  • Full-Service Restaurants - $16,620
  • Traveler Accommodation - $19,680
  • Limited-Service Eating Places - $16,060
  • Special Food Services - $18,580
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $19,800

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  N/A
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: N/A
  • Employment 2006 : N/A
  • Employment 2016:  N/A
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