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Food Service Helper

Food service helpers clear tables and assist workers who serve food and beverages in restaurants and other food service establishments.

  • Avg. Salary $23,040.00
  • Avg. Wage $16.44
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 44,800
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Busboy/girl, Caterer Helper, Dining Room Assistant/Attendant, Food Runner

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Food Service Helpers (6641.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Food Counter Attendants, Kitchen Helpers and Related Occupations (G961) 
  • 2011 NOC: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (6711) 
  • 2016 NOC: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (6711) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Food Service Helper is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Food Service Helpers

Interest in handling to clear tables and trays in eating establishments, to bring clean dishes, flatware and other items to serving areas, to remove dishes before and after courses, and to perform duties such as scraping and stacking dishes and carrying linen to and from laundry areas


Interest in comparing to clean tables and trays, and to replenish condiments and other supplies at tables and serving areas


Interest in assisting other staff by running errands

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 28, 2017

Dining room assistants help food and beverage servers in restaurants and formal dining establishments. In general, they:

  • clear and reset tables
  • wipe tables or remove and replace soiled table linens
  • carry dirty dishes to the dishwashing area
  • serve water or bread products to customers
  • ensure that each table has supplies (for example, sugar, cream, butter)
  • bring out trays of food
  • serve coffee
  • clean up spilled food and broken dishes.

Dining room assistants must be quick to help food and beverage servers whenever their assistance is needed. During less busy periods between mealtimes, they may:

  • stock cabinets
  • spot-clean walls
  • dust
  • vacuum
  • perform other tasks, such as scraping and stacking dishes in the kitchen.

Food and beverage service runners or assistants deliver food orders from the kitchen to the appropriate tables and respond to customer questions. Runners also may perform duties similar to those of dining room attendants.

Caterer helpers assist caterers with the service of food and refreshments at social functions and banquets. In general, they:

  • arrange tables and decorations according to instructions
  • prepare simple foods and beverages
  • distribute food to servers
  • collect and return dirty dishes to the kitchen
  • either scrape and wash dishes or pack for transporting and washing at the caterer's establishment
  • collect and pack tablecloths and accessories for transport.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Food service helpers usually work lunch or dinner shifts, sometimes in split shifts. They often work weekends and holidays. At busy mealtimes they are constantly on their feet and under pressure to work quickly. They may be required to lift items weighing up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Food service helpers need to possess:

  • interest in learning about food and beverage service
  • cheerful, positive attitude
  • good health and personal hygiene
  • ability to work well in a team environment.

They should enjoy handling dishes, having clear rules and organized methods, and working with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 28, 2017

There are no standard education requirements for food service helpers. They are trained on the job.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Cypress College - Culinary Campus

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 28, 2017

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Food service helpers are employed in restaurants and formal dining rooms. Most food service helpers are students employed in part-time positions.

When dining room attendants have learned food and beverage service skills by observing experienced food and beverage servers and obtaining appropriate training (for example, food safety courses), they may advance to food and beverage server positions. For more information, see the Food and Beverage Server occupational profile.

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6711: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the Accommodation and Food Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Accommodation and Food Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 40,700 Albertans are employed in the Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related occupations occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 977 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As food service helpers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for food service helpers. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 28, 2017

In most restaurants, food and beverage servers contribute a portion of their tips to a tip pool, which is divided and distributed among other food and beverage service workers, including dining room attendants.

Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $18.76 $15.44 $15.00
Overall $15.00 $23.08 $16.44 $15.33
Top $15.00 $31.26 $18.51 $16.90

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Retail Trade
Health Care & Social Assistance
Educational Services
Accommodation & Food Services
Information, Culture, Recreation
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals website:

emerit website:

National Restaurant Association [United States]website:

Restaurants Canada website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 28, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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