Employment in food preparation and serving related occupations is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations, and gain about 1 million jobs. Population and income growth are expected to result in greater consumer demand for food at a variety of dining places, including restaurants and grocery stores.
Food preparation and serving related occupations is the lowest paid occupational group, with a median annual wage of $25,500 in May 2020.
BLS provides summary data, including employment projections, for food preparation and serving occupations not shown in the table on this page. That information is available on the Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail page.
|OCCUPATION||JOB SUMMARY||ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION||2020 MEDIAN PAY|
Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.
|No formal educational credential||$24,960|
|Chefs and Head Cooks||
Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$53,380|
Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods.
|See How to Become One||$27,250|
|Food and Beverage Serving and Related Workers||
Food and beverage serving and related workers take and prepare orders, clear tables, and do other tasks associated with providing food and drink to customers.
|No formal educational credential||$24,190|
|Food Preparation Workers||
Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers.
|No formal educational credential||$26,070|
|Waiters and Waitresses||
Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.
|No formal educational credential||$23,740|
The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.
Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.
Last Modified Date: Friday, May 14, 2021