Food service specialists help food service businesses and organizations that have in-house eateries to provide quality services to customers. They prepare or supervise the preparation of food, oversee hygiene standards, maintain kitchen equipment and inspect food supplies. Food service specialists work in restaurants, government agencies, military institutions, education systems and hotels.
Using the Skills
To succeed in the job, food service specialists require strong practical and teamwork skills. When baking or grilling, for instance, they use practical skills to operate cooking equipment. In many settings, these specialists work in teams that include chefs, butchers, bakers and cooks. As such, they need the ability to be effective group members. Other helpful attributes include manual dexterity, communication, interpersonal and math skills, and an interest in cooking.
Preparing and Serving Meals
Although the specific duties of food service specialists vary by workplace, they are generally responsible for preparing and serving meals. In military services such as the U.S Army, Air Force and Marine Corps, for example, specialists prepare a wide variety of meals in military kitchens. They then serve the meals to soldiers in dining halls, aboard a ship or aircraft, or in field sites. In restaurants, hotels and schools, food service specialists prepare food, take orders and serve meals to customers.
Maintaining Food Service Standards
Food service specialists ensure their workplaces meet federal, state and local food service codes, as well as institutional policies. They clean the kitchens and serving areas on a daily basis, prepare foods according to established procedures, and ensure fridges and other kitchen equipment are in sound working condition. When suppliers deliver food supplies, these specialists inspect them to ensure they meet the required quality standards. Other duties include maintaining the food supplies inventory and distributing cooking supplies to chefs.
Becoming the Specialist
Requirements for food service specialists vary by employer. Individuals who are looking to work for food service businesses need at least a high school diploma and some food service experience. Those aspiring to work in the military must pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery tests and complete a training program that includes basic combat training and classroom instruction. Specialists who gain vast work experience and earn an associate or bachelor's degree in food service management can become food service supervisors or managers. The International Food Service Executives Association offers a range of certifications, which food service specialists can obtain to enhance their career progression prospects.
- Careers in the Military: Food Service Specialists
- Go Army: Food Service Specialist (92G)
- United States Cost Guard: Food Service Specialist (FS)
- State of Oklahoma: Food service specialist
- My Majors: Food Service Specialist Career
- International Food Service Executives Association: IFSEA Certification Program
- Photo Credit 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images
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