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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.

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) 
  • 2021 NOC: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations (65201) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Food Service Helpers

2006 NOC: 6641.3

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Updated May 18, 2021

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 moving tables or scraping and stacking dishes in the kitchen

Food and beverage service runners or assistants assist servers in delivering food orders from the kitchen to the appropriate tables and responding to customer requests. Runners also may perform duties similar to those of dining room attendants.

Caterer helpers assist caterers with presenting or serving 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 May 18, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
Updated May 18, 2021

Food service helpers need:

  • An interest in learning about food and beverage service
  • A cheerful, positive attitude
  • Good health and personal hygiene
  • The ability to work quickly with attention to detail
  • The ability to work well in a team environment

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations

2016 NOC: 6711

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 102 most recent Alberta job postings, collected on Mar 30, 2023.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Experience: Will train
Tasks: Take customers' orders
Tasks: Portion and wrap foods
Tasks: Prepare, heat and finish simple food items
Tasks: Stock refrigerators and salad bars
Tasks: Package take-out food
Tasks: Clean and sanitize kitchen including work surfaces, cupboards, storage areas, appliances and equipment
Tasks: Use manual and electrical appliances to clean, peel, slice and trim foodstuffs
Tasks: Keep records of the quantities of food used
Tasks: Receive, unpack and store supplies in refrigerators, freezers, cupboards and other storage areas
Educational Requirements
Updated May 18, 2021
  • Minimum Education Varies

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

All staff involved in the sale and service of liquor in licensed premises (for example, owners, managers and supervisors, retailers, bartenders and servers, greeters and hosts, and security staff) must have ProServe Liquor Staff Training. This is a provincial government training program designed to ensure liquor service and sales activities are conducted with integrity and in a socially responsible manner. ProServe is available online, as a self-directed program of home study using a video and a manual, or by seminar.

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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated May 18, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 18, 2021

Food service helpers are employed in restaurants, formal dining rooms and other retail eating and drinking establishments. 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 6711: Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 1070 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated May 18, 2021

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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations

2016 NOC: 6711
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 6711 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $13.00 $17.78 $15.12 $15.00
Overall $14.32 $19.00 $16.05 $15.70
Top $15.40 $25.00 $18.04 $16.76

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
Educational Services
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Health Care & Social Assistance
Retail Trade
Accommodation & Food Services
Information, Culture, Recreation

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 May 18, 2021

Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals website:

emerit website:

National Restaurant Association [United States]website:

Restaurants Canada website:

Tourism HR Canada website:

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

Updated Mar 31, 2021. 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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