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Fast food cook

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Summary of occupation

Fast food cooks prepare a restricted range of food in fast food restaurants. They inspect and wash raw ingredients then prepare and cook the food according to pre-set menus and customers’ requirements. In smaller establishments, these cooks may take orders and wash cooking equipment, kitchen surfaces and cutlery. They can find work all over WA, from busy Perth cafes, fish and chip shops in coastal towns, to roadhouses and hotels in regional areas.

ANZSCO description: Prepares a restricted range of foods in a fast food establishment.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Short Order Cook
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A short order cook needs:

  • to be able to work efficiently in high-pressure situations
  • a high level of personal hygiene and the ability to follow strict safety standards
  • to be reliable and flexible
  • good people skills, with an ability to work well in teams
  • good hand-eye coordination.
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Working conditions

Fast food cooks work in the kitchens of fast food restaurants, food courts, canteens and cafes that can be noisy, cramped and hot. They are required to produce meals very quickly, so their work environment can also be very busy and stressful. They often work long hours during early morning, evening and weekend shifts.

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Salary details

On average, fast food cooks can expect to earn between $679.90 and $799 per week ($35 354.80 and $41 599 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a fast food cook develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.​

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Tools and technologies

Fast food cooks use cooking utensils such as knives, tongs, pots, pans, mixing spoons and bowls. They often also use industrial ovens, grills and fryers, as well as large electrical mixers. Since hygiene standards are very important, these cooks are usually required to wear hats or hair nets, gloves and enclosed non-slip shoes. They are frequently required to wear uniforms

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a fast food cook without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in hospitality.

The Certificate II in Hospitality (Kitchen Operations) and Certificate II in Kitchen Operations are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship in hospitality (commercial cookery) or hospitality (asian cookery). These traineeships take nine months to complete and are available as a school-based traineeship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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