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Career and Education Opportunities for Fast Food Cooks in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be a fast food cook, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 5,760 people are currently employed as fast food cooks in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 17% to 6,740 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fast food cooks are expected to grow by about 7.5%. In general, fast food cooks prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus.

A person working as a fast food cook can expect to earn about $9 hourly or $18,830 per year on average in Washington and about $8 per hour or $16,880 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for fast food cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Washington, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: cook, pizza baker, and pizza maker.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a fast food cook. Given that the most common education level for fast food cooks is less than a high school diploma, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a fast food cook if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fast Food Cook

Fast Food Cook video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, fast food cooks prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus. They also duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.

Fast food cooks clean food preparation areas and utensils. They also clean and restock workstations and display cases. Equally important, fast food cooks have to maintain sanitation and safety standards in work areas. They are often called upon to verify that prepared food meets requirements for quality and quantity. Finally, fast food cooks operate large-volume cooking equipment such as grills, deep-fat fryers, or griddles.

Every day, fast food cooks are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for fast food cooks to cook the exact number of items ordered by each customer, working on several different orders simultaneously. They are often called upon to measure ingredients required for specific food items being prepared. They also read food order slips or receive verbal instructions as to food required by patron, and ready and cook food in line with instructions. They are sometimes expected to cook and package batches of food. Somewhat less frequently, fast food cooks are also expected to schedule efforts and equipment use with managers, using data related to daily menus to to direct cooking times.

And finally, they sometimes have to cook and package batches of food.

Like many other jobs, fast food cooks must be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly and want to innovate to meet new challenges.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle 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.
  • 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.
  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Personal Chef. Prepare meals in private homes.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fast Food Cook Training

The Art Institute of Seattle - Seattle, WA

The Art Institute of Seattle, 2323 Elliott Ave, Seattle, WA 98121-1622. The Art Institute of Seattle is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,250 students and an admission rate of 77%. The Art Institute of Seattle has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.