Short Order Cook

Short-order cooks work in restaurants and coffee shops where the emphasis is on speedy service. They often work on more than one order simultaneously. Their duties may include anything from making sandwiches to cooking eggs to frying French fries.

Job Skills

Certain personal attributes are important for short-order cooks to possess. These include the ability to work quickly and efficiently, a well-developed sense of taste and smell, good personal hygiene, and a willingness to work with a team. Familiarity with a foreign language may also prove useful in communicating with other workers.


In 2002, short-order cooks earned a median hourly wage of $7.82. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $5.93 per hour, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $11.25 per hour. The highest median hourly earnings were found in full-service restaurants, and the lowest were found in limited-service eating places.

Training and Education

Most short-order cook positions require little, if any, training or education. Entry-level positions do not require a high-school diploma; however, a diploma could be beneficial for those interested in a career as a cook. Most short-order cooks are trained on the job. Training ranges from basic sanitation and safety, to food handling and cooking techniques.


Out of the nearly 3 million culinary jobs in 2002, about 227,000 people were employed as short-order cooks.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of short-order cooks is expected to increase at a rate faster than the average. As the pace of life continues to speed up for many people, they will continue to demand high-quality food served at a convenient pace.

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