What Is a Kitchen Hand?

What Is a Kitchen Hand?

Finding a Job

March 4, 2021


The kitchen hand plays a key role in supporting the day-to-day upkeep of the kitchen. They work under a manager or supervisor at various dining establishments. In this role, you need to collaborate with your coworkers and leadership staff to make sure operations run smoothly for all members in the kitchen.

In this article, we talk about what a kitchen hand is, their responsibilities, average salary and the skills required to be successful in this role.

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What is a kitchen hand?

A kitchen hand is accountable for the maintenance of the kitchen for the dining establishment where they work. They also clean and operate equipment, and help prepare customers’ orders when it’s busy. A kitchen hand can work at a fast-food chain, fine dining or catering business.

Working in this position is valuable if you plan on making a career in the food service or hospitality industry. You’ll often need to work irregular hours to ensure that food is carefully selected, prepared and served to customers. Also, you’ll need to take time to get food service certifications and handle the lifting of heavy equipment that needs to be used by others working in the kitchen. Make sure that you still plan to earn a high school diploma or GED to show proof of your education and that you’re trainable for this position.

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Kitchen hand responsibilities

You’ll need to list the duties you performed on your resume to put yourself in a position to advance your career. It’s advised that you be selective in what you add to your resume and consider how you want to highlight previous roles.

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Review the list of job responsibilities of a kitchen hand that you can put on your resume:

  • Maintain and clean all kitchen equipment and comply with all restaurant cleaning procedures.
  • Keep stock of all food items located in the kitchen and move items into the kitchen area when necessary.
  • Work with a head chef to help cook food for customers and comply with food preservation guidelines.
  • Clean the kitchen following the closing shift to meet government and restaurant sanitation requirements.
  • Organize and store dishes, mop floors, clean all kitchen surfaces and take out the trash.
  • Wash all food equipment at the applicable water temperature and chemical levels.
  • Prepare the kitchen by washing fruits and vegetables, defrost meat and make sauces that complement dishes on the menu.
  • Manage the quality control processes for all kitchen equipment perform minor repairs.
  • Purchase ingredients from local food markets and resupply inventory of food items.
  • Call in repairs for kitchen equipment when applicable.

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Average salary for kitchen hands

A kitchen hand’s salary can vary depending on the size of their employer, the amount of experience they have in their respective industry and the geographical location in which they work:

The average salary in the U.S.: $23,900 per year

Salaries range from $14,500 to $45,500 per year. For the most up-to-date information from Indeed, please click on the salary link above.

Skills required to become a kitchen hand

Check out the list of skills required for you to excel in this role and make you eligible for promotion:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Transferrable skills
  • Customer service
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A kitchen hand must have impeccable communication skills to collaborate with their coworkers in the kitchen. You’re going to be receiving and conveying information about the current situation and the solution that needs to be enacted to achieve assigned goals by leadership.

You need to empathize with your coworkers during times of adversity, so you can lend them the support that can benefit them and the customers that you’re serving. It’s also useful to possess these skills when you’re giving constructive criticism about food and kitchen preparation processes. This way, you’re making it clear about the importance of keeping the place clean for when the state health inspector comes in to examine the cleanliness of your establishment.


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Working in a kitchen means that you must employ your problem-solving skills to assist your coworkers to prepare meals that can be memorable to customers. It requires you to speak with your supervisor about a problem that’s either communicated to you or one you discovered.

For a kitchen hand, you may need to make a last-second run to the market to replenish the supply of ingredients crucial to the success of the specific dish or buy cleaning supplies to prepare for the upcoming health inspection. In other words, your ability to solve problems makes you a highly desired employee and determines the type of impact you have on a business.

Time management

Time management is essential in any industry, but you’ll need to learn through experience how to navigate uncertainty and multiple tasks with urgent deadlines. For example, you may encounter a scenario where you make preparations given to you by the head chef, clean the kitchen and take stock of your current inventory of supplies to ensure that you’re ready to serve customers for the night and the days ahead.

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You should set a deadline to complete each task before moving to the next one, so you can effectively execute them while following specified procedures. You should ask questions about procedures you need to abide by to see where you can increase your performance and save time when you’re working on other tasks.

Transferrable skills

The skills you learn as a kitchen hand can be transferable to other positions. It’s useful to obtain these skills to increase your job prospects and chances to receive a call for an interview. However, you want to add the necessary skills that align with your previous work experience and the education you received.

Some transferrable skills that you can list on your resume include teamwork, creativity, leadership and ambition. The ability to work with a team, creatively solve problems and lead other people can be great points that can separate you from the rest of the applicants attempting to get the same job as you can.

Customer service

Customer service is a primary function of employees working in the foodservice and hospitality industry. Each action you take whether if it’s cleaning. Food preparation or buying supplies and ingredients directly impacts the experience customers have when they eat at your establishment. Understanding the impact you have on customers can help you be self-motivated and collaborate with your team to reach the performance benchmark set out by the head chef.