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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 $20,544.00
  • Avg. Wage $13.22
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
Also Known As

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

NOC & Interest Codes
The Food Service Helper is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Food Service Helpers
NOC code: 6641.3

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.

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 28, 2017

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

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 service helpers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6711: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations occupational group earned on average from $11.90 to $15.11 an hour. The overall average wage was $13.22 an hour. For more information, see the Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Tourism
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:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

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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