Front of house workers may be the face of your restaurant, but it’s the back of house staff that delights guest’s palettes and satisfies their cravings.
Lead cooks, prep cooks, and other food-preparing professionals are the backbones of your establishment, serving up food that attracts customers and keeps them coming back. It’s no surprise that roughly 86% of diners browse a restaurant’s menu before deciding to visit, according to a survey of 6,000 diners across the country.
With such an important role to play, each restaurant cook should clearly understand their responsibilities. That’s why we created this handy guide. Today’s menu includes what goes into:
- A lead cook job description
- A line cook job description
- A prep cook job description
- A fry cook job description
To whip up an incredible restaurant cook job description, just keep reading!
The Key Ingredients in a Restaurant Cook Job Description
Before you craft the job description, have a clear goal (or two) in mind. A well-written job description takes a two-pronged approach. It attracts quality candidates to apply for the role. At the same time, it discourages underqualified or unserious applicants from applying.
While the cook job description you create should be tailored to your unique restaurant, four essential elements deserve a place in the description. Let’s explore them together.
First things first, specify the name of the position. Prevent confusion by putting forth a simple yet descriptive name for the role. We’ve seen lots of interesting labels on job boards. But the unique and quirky titles often make candidates unsure about whether or not they should apply.
When crafting the job title, put yourself in the applicant’s shoes. Are they more likely to search “line cook” or “culinary creative” as they hunt for a new job?
Your job title should be uncomplicated and accurate to the role. These short and sweet job titles will give you an idea:
- Experienced Lead Cook for Upscale Eatery
- Restaurant Prep Cook
- Kitchen Team Member
- Line Cook (1+ Year Experience)
No matter which way you want to find kitchen staff—whether you’re posting the role on a job board, scouting candidates out by word of mouth or utilizing a modern hiring solution— simplicity is key. Let’s move onto the next portion of the cook job description.
The job summary is the next essential ingredient in a restaurant cook job description. While the job title looks similar to those of other restaurants, the summary should be unique to your establishment. The summary serves to:
- Briefly note the main elements of the role
- Explain why a candidate would be interested in applying
Take this opportunity to share a core value of your restaurant and why it’s a great place to work. Also, touch on employee expectations. Give readers a sense of your brand and what you stand for so they can assess whether they are a good fit with company culture.
This summary from an upscale Mexican-inspired restaurant touches on the ambiance they strive to create for guests, the types of dishes they create and the attitude that a line cook should bring to the table:
Remember, the summary is just a glimpse into your restaurant. It’s more like an appetizer than a main course. In the next section, you’ll be able to provide a full picture of the role.
Duties & Responsibilities
Now onto a detailed look at the employee’s day-to-day responsibilities, this section should paint a clear picture of cook duties at your restaurant. Before writing out the duties and responsibilities, consider the question—“What does a [lead/line/prep] cook do at this establishment?”
It’s helpful to get a range of perspectives as you compose a list of duties and expectations. Talk to managers, head chefs and cooks who are currently in the role you are hiring for to find out what the job entails from their perspective.
Need some ideas? Read these typical cook duties to inspire your own job responsibilities section:
- Prepare a variety of meals, following our recipes for consistently high-quality meals
- Be familiar with and adhere to standard cooking methods, quality standards and kitchen practices
- Garnish and plate meals, ensuring a clean and appealing presentation
- Comply with sanitization and food handling standards and maintain a clean and organized work station. (Because health and wellness are on consumer’s minds, emphasize this point)
Skills & Qualifications
The job title is clear, and the summary is unique, and the job duties are comprehensive. Now, it’s time to ensure candidates are skilled and qualified for the role.
Picture the ideal candidate. What skills do they possess, and what attitude do they approach the job with? Also, what qualifications are non-negotiable? Are there physical requirements the job entails? Jot down answers to these questions, and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a stellar section.
To enhance this section’s organization, you can split this into two categories—hard skills and soft skills. Take a look at the examples below.
- Strong organizational skills
- Problem solver
- Ability to work well under pressure
- Experience working in a restaurant kitchen
- Hold a current food handler’s license
- Knowledge of proper cooking techniques
- Ability to utilize machines, including a fryer, broiler, grill and more
Be sure to include physical requirements in this section as well. Because cook duties often include lifting heavy items and standing for long periods, it’s important to let applicants know about this expectation.
Sample Cook Job Descriptions
Now that we’ve walked through the core elements of a cook job description, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice. The samples below address the four important components we discussed to create clear and compelling job descriptions.
Order up! These four cook job descriptions are ready for your consumption.
Line Cook Job Description
Experienced Line Cook
At Lemon & Thyme, we bring the breezy, inviting and relaxing atmosphere of Greece to life. Our Mediterranean dishes, open dining patio and elegant ambiance create an exceptional guest experience. None of this could take place without our essential line cooks. As a line cook, you’ll be part of the Lemon & Thyme mission to “delight and amaze each guest.”
What You’ll Do:
- Whip up delectable meals from scratch as you adhere to our in house recipes
- Understand kitchen practices and quality standards and follow them to a tee
- Follow sanitization guidelines and food handling rules in your workspace and every area of the kitchen
- Ensure each meal you plate aligns with presentation standards
You Should Be:
Lemon & Thyme kitchen team members have a passion for cooking and an ability to work well together. If you’re able to thrive in a fast-paced environment and bring a great attitude to the table, you’ll fit right in. Other important qualifications you must possess include:
- Experience working in the restaurant or hospitality industry
- Ability to stand for long periods and lift items up to 50 pounds
What You Get:
Our line cooks are an integral part of our day-to-day operations. We appreciate each kitchen team member and offer a range of benefits to prove it. All line cooks receive a 30% discount at all Lemon&Thyme locations. You’ll also receive one free meal per shift and paid vacation time. If you have the skills and qualities to be a Lemon&Thyme line cook, apply today!
While the restaurant is fictional, this job description hits the main points that a real establishment should. It is clear and accurate so that readers are not left wondering, “What are the duties of a line cook?”
Prep Cook/ Fry Cook Job Description
Prep Cook or Fry Cook
Cuadrado Azul draws visitors from across the country looking to get a taste of our award-winning cuisine. Be a part of the experience by providing 5-star food for an amazing guest experience. We’re in search of those looking to grow, and we offer ample opportunities for employee growth and skill development. Come join us, expand your knowledge of cuisine and provide guests with world-class dining, transporting them to an oasis.
What are the duties of a prep cook (or fry cook) at Cuadrado Azul?
- Have a thorough knowledge of all food menus and recipes – including ingredients, preparation steps, and presentation
- Serve as a useful assistant to the chef preparing top tier dishes
- Maintain cleanliness of workstation and adhere to established health and safety standards
- Be a team player that pulls their weight to promote overall success
What should you bring to the table?
- 1 or more years of high volume culinary/hospitality experience
- Current food handler’s card and other certification required by law
- High school diploma or equivalent certification
- Flexible schedule and ability to work on late notice
- Ability to bend or kneel frequently
- Ability to stand for the entire shift
- Can lift and move up to 50 pounds when necessary
Cuadrado Azul is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All applicants will be considered for employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status.
This job description ends with an Equal Opportunity Employer statement. For more information on adding an EEO, click here.
Lead Cook Job Description
Experienced Lead Cook
Giotto’s is redefining the traditional Italian restaurant with an interactive concept that combines fine ingredients, an open kitchen concept and an easy-going atmosphere in a fast-casual setting. Hospitality and community are at the heart of our value system. We are seeking a knowledgeable lead cook to join our dedicated team!
- Supervise kitchen staff to ensure proper food handling and preparation methods are being followed
- Evaluate pantry, stock workstations, and ensure team members are adhering to work station protocols
- Monitor and adjust processes to ensure the kitchen team is meeting quality standards in a timely manner
- Serve as a resource for kitchen staff; answer questions about menu items and other relevant topics to keep staff informed
Skills & Qualifications:
The kitchen at Giotto’s should run like a well-oiled machine. That’s why you must be a strong leader who can keep the team on track and work out current kinks to improve processes. You should have:
- Three or more years of experience working in a kitchen environment
- Ability to juggle multiple responsibilities, including stocking stations, overseeing food prep, and more
- Attention to detail
- Food handler’s certification
Get ready to move! As a lead cook, you’ll be on your feet for your entire shift and responsible for moving boxes up to 50 pounds.
There you have it—four different job descriptions that each have their unique flair while remaining clear about the role. We hope you found these descriptions to your liking. Before we part ways, we’d like to leave you with a treat. Read on for the final course.
Find Quality Restaurant Cooks in a Flash
The search for high-quality candidates is time consuming. And after putting in all the effort, turn over rates remain high. If your hiring experience is more sour than sweet, consider utilizing an on-demand staffing service like Qwick.
Gone are the days of rushing to fill an empty shift or struggling to prepare for busy seasons. With Qwick, you post a shift detailing the role, responsibilities and time frame. Then, pre-vetted professionals in your area can view and accept the job. Qwick is an on-demand platform that allows restaurants to fill shifts in minutes.