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Career and Education Opportunities for Dining Room Attendants in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for dining room attendants. There are currently 19,790 working dining room attendants in Illinois; this should grow 17% to 23,170 working dining room attendants in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dining room attendants are expected to grow by about 5.5%. Dining room attendants generally facilitate food service.

The income of a dining room attendant is about $8 hourly or $17,010 per year on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $8 hourly or $16,740 per year on average. Dining room attendants earn less than people working in the category of Service generally in Illinois and less than people in the Service category nationally. Dining room attendants work in a variety of jobs, including: bar back, wait staff, and busboy.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a dining room attendant. The most common level of education for dining room attendants is less than a high school diploma. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a dining room attendant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dining Room Attendant

Dining Room Attendant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, dining room attendants facilitate food service. They also clean tables, carry dirty dishes, replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, and dishes; supply service bar with food, and serve water, butter, and coffee to patrons.

Dining room attendants clean and polish counters, shelves and equipment in food service areas and other areas of restaurants, and mop and vacuum floors. They also clean up spilled food, drink and broken dishes, and remove empty bottles and trash. Equally important, dining room attendants have to scrape and stack dirty dishes, and carry dishes and other tableware to kitchens for cleaning. They are often called upon to maintain adequate supplies of items such as clean linens and trays. They are expected to stock cabinets and serving areas with condiments, and refill condiment containers as needed. Finally, dining room attendants serve ice water and butter to customers.

Every day, dining room attendants are expected to be able to move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices. They need to control objects and devices with precise control. It is also important that they use lower back and abdominal strength.

It is important for dining room attendants to perform serving and stocking duties in establishments such as cafeterias or dining rooms so as to facilitate customer service. They are often called upon to wipe tables and seats with dampened cloths, and remove dirty tablecloths. They also fill beverage and ice dispensers. They are sometimes expected to set tables with clean linens and other supplies. Somewhat less frequently, dining room attendants are also expected to slice and pit fruit used to garnish drinks.

Dining room attendants sometimes are asked to carry linens to and from laundry areas. They also have to be able to mix and ready flavors for mixed drinks And finally, they sometimes have to carry linens to and from laundry areas.

Like many other jobs, dining room attendants must believe in cooperation and coordination and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Chef. Direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts. May participate in cooking.
  • Counter Clerk. Serve food to diners at counter or from a steam table.
  • Fast Food Cook. Prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus. Duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.
  • Food Service Aide. Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.
  • Host Coordinator. Welcome patrons, seat them at tables or in lounge, and help ensure quality of facilities and service.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Short Order Cook. Prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.
  • Waiter. Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dining Room Attendant Training

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Food Service, Waiter/Waitress, & Dining Room Management/Manager which graduated three and four students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year program in Food Service, Waiter/Waitress, & Dining Room Management/Manager which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.

ServSafe Alcohol: The ServSafe Alcohol program outlines effective responsible alcohol service practices for all front-of-the-house staff, including bartenders, waiters, hosts, busers, security and valets.

For more information, see the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation website.

LICENSES

RESTAURANT BUS HELPER

Licensing agency: Illinois Gaming Board
Address: Willard Ice Building, P.O. Box 19474, Springfield, IL 62794-9474

Phone: (312) 814-4700
Website: Illinois Gaming Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.