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Kitchen Helper and Food Assembler

Kitchen helpers and assemblers assist cooks in restaurants and institutions by keeping the kitchens clean and by performing a variety of food preparation tasks.

Also Known As

Assembly Line Worker, Dishwasher, Dishwasher Attendant, Food Assembler, Food Preparer, Food Service Attendant, Salad / Sandwich Maker, Warewashing Attendant

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: Kitchen Helpers (6641.2) 
  • 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) 
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.

Kitchen Helpers
2006 NOC : 6641.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group


Interest in handling to remove trash and clear kitchen garbage containers, and to unpack and store supplies in refrigerators, cupboards and other storage areas


Interest in comparing to wash and peel vegetables and fruit, clean work tables, cupboards and appliances, and sweep and mop floors


Interest in assisting cook and kitchen staff

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 19, 2021

Kitchen helpers keep the kitchens in food service establishments clean and tidy. In general, they:

  • Sweep and scrub floors
  • Remove garbage
  • Clean kitchen equipment
  • Scrape food from plates and wash food trays
  • Stack dishes in dishwashers
  • Clean flatware
  • Wash pots and pans
  • Store clean items

In some establishments, kitchen helpers also:

  • Receive and store supplies
  • Stock cupboards, refrigerators and salad bars
  • Clean food preparation and storage areas
  • Assist in basic food preparation

Food preparers prepare or cook partially prepared foods in restaurants. In general, they:

  • Prepare ingredients (for example, wash and slice vegetables)
  • Partially cook food in advance of orders
  • Assemble and measure ingredients to fill orders
  • Package take-out foods
  • Pass incomplete orders to other workers to finish
  • Help line cooks prepare food orders

Food preparers also may:

  • Bake or reheat some items and finish desserts
  • Clean food preparation and storage areas
  • Stock refrigerators and salad bars
  • Tell supervisors when supplies are getting low or equipment is not working properly

Sandwich, salad and dessert makers prepare salads, sandwiches and desserts in commercial eating establishments and institutions such as hospitals. In general, they:

  • Use manual or electric appliances to clean, peel, slice and trim foodstuffs to prepare sandwich fillings and salads, and desserts such as ice cream and fruit dishes
  • Portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to patrons
  • Keep records of the quantities of food used
  • Help other kitchen staff whenever necessary

Food assemblers often work on assembly lines putting food trays together in hospitals, cafeterias, airline kitchens and similar establishments. In general, they:

  • Portion food in consistent serving sizes in an appropriate, safe and attractive manner
  • Use tongs, forks and scoops to remove portions from containers (which may be heated or cooled) and place the food on plates
  • Add condiments, garnishes, cutlery and napkins to complete each food tray
  • Place food trays over food warmers for immediate service or in refrigerated storage cabinets, if necessary
  • Deliver food trays and snacks to nursing units or directly to patients
  • Distribute menus and collect diet sheets
Working Conditions
Updated May 19, 2021
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers work shifts and often work weekends and holidays. They are on their feet most of their shift and may have to carry trays of food dishes and glassware weighing up to 20 kilograms. They may be exposed to:

  • Cool temperatures in refrigeration and freezer units
  • Heat from dishwashing and cooking equipment
  • Cleaning agents
  • Noise and slippery flooring (especially near dishwashers)

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers sometimes work under time pressures and must be careful to avoid cuts from sharp utensils and burns from hot appliances. They usually take their breaks between peak serving times.

Traits & Skills
Updated May 19, 2021

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers need:

  • An interest in food preparation
  • To be healthy
  • To be organized and able to multi-task
  • High standards of personal hygiene
  • A neat and tidy appearance
  • The ability to work steadily under pressure
  • The ability to work quickly and effectively as part of a team

They should enjoy handling food and equipment, having clear rules and methods for their work, and working with people.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occupations
NOC code: 6711

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between May 18, 2022 and May 19, 2022.

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.
Take customers' orders
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Client focus
Portion and wrap foods
Package take-out food
Prepare, heat and finish simple food items
Personal Suitability: Reliability
Serve customers at counters or buffet tables
Clean and sanitize kitchen including work surfaces, cupboards, storage areas, appliances and equipment
Receive, unpack and store supplies in refrigerators, freezers, cupboards and other storage areas
Educational Requirements
Updated May 19, 2021
  • Minimum Education Varies

There are no minimum education requirements for kitchen helpers and food assemblers. However, food safety training is a definite asset when looking for employment, and related education is generally required for advancement.

In Alberta, food safety courses are offered by:

Visit the Government of Alberta website or contact 780-427-7164 for a listing of approved food safety training options.

The Government of Alberta awards a Food Sanitation and Hygiene Certification to those who complete approved training and achieve at least 70% on a provincial exam. Food facilities generally employ at least 1 person who is certified. Where 6 or more people are working on site, at least 1 person present must be certified. Where fewer people are working on site, the certified person may be absent.

Food preparation is taught in some high school Career and Technology Studies courses and there is a formal apprenticeship program for cooks. In addition, post-secondary programs are designed to help people enter and progress in the field of food preparation.

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

Lethbridge College

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 19, 2021
  • Certification Not Regulated

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

However, Tourism HR Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council or CHHRC) offers voluntary certifications related to food services that are recognized across Canada. Certification training is accessible from the emerit website.

Employment & Advancement
Updated May 19, 2021

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers work in all types of restaurants from quick service (fast food) outlets and base camps to formal dining rooms. They also work in public institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes. Part-time work is common.

Experienced kitchen helpers and food assemblers may advance to assistant cook and cook positions (for more information, see the Food Service Helper or Cook occupational profiles), or to supervisory positions. However, supervisory positions may be limited in number, and advancement is generally easier and faster for those who have a high school diploma and are willing to take further education.

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: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Wage & Salary
Updated May 19, 2021

Kitchen helpers and food assemblers often are paid just above minimum wage. (As of June 26, 2019, the minimum wage in Alberta is $15.00 per hour for most workers. For more information, see Minimum Wage.) Salaries are generally highest in hospitals and nursing homes but advancement prospects are limited (for more information, see the Food Service Supervisor occupational profile).

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

2019 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
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.

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
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 May 19, 2021

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 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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