- Writing a proper line cook job description will help you find the best fit for the position, reducing staff turnover and ultimately leading to increased customer satisfaction.
- Paint a clear picture of your restaurant, how your kitchen team operates, and overall goals and responsibilities for the position.
- Narrow the applicant pool from the start by identifying qualifying criteria, such as education requirements, culinary training, and prior experience.
Line cooks are the lifeblood of your restaurant, responsible for virtually every dish that makes its way out of the kitchen and onto the table. From managing sophisticated kitchen equipment to mastering various cooking methods in order to churn out menu items as fast as orders come in, line cook duties are to the culinary arts as construction workers’ craftsmanship is to real estate development. As masterful as an executive chef’s vision may be, it’s the line cooks’ execution that provides the foundation for customer satisfaction.
The challenge with the line cook position is that it comes with traditionally high turnover. Recruiting a professional line cook in a timely fashion can be challenging, especially in a tight labor market, and keeping them can be even harder.
So what’s the best way to find line cooks and keep them? It comes down to finding a good natural fit, and that goal is best achieved by writing a line cook job description that clearly identifies line cook duties as they pertain to your restaurant’s operations, culture, and culinary goals.
At Pared, recruiting line chefs is one of our specialties. If you’re looking to fill staff shortages at your restaurant, there are four key elements to put into your line cook job description.
1. Describe Your Restaurant From the Lens of a Line Cook
The first part of your line cook job description should be about your restaurant as a whole. This portion will help prospective line cooks get a better understanding of your operation and whether the work environment and culinary demands meet their standards and skill level. You should answer the following questions:
Where are you located?
Commute times and transportation can be an important factor for prospective line cooks. While this element is somewhat out of your control, it’s best to clearly state where you’re located so that time isn’t wasted on either side if distance is a factor.
What type of restaurant are you?
Is your restaurant full service or fast casual? Have you received any awards? Do you have a noteworthy executive chef and sous chef? What type of food do you serve? Do you push any specific cooking methods, or have any signature food items or sauces where you place a particular focus? Pointing out these differentiators will help prospective line cooks determine off the bat if they think your restaurant is a fit for them.
What role will this line cook play in the kitchen?
Line cooks can be assigned to any number of roles, so if there’s a specific realm where you’d like this line cook to hold previous experience, you should identify this skillset up front.
2. Identify the Line Cook Duties
Defining clear goals, responsibilities, and expectations for potential line cooks is essential for finding the right fit. While every restaurant has different needs, many line cook duties will have a lot of overlap. We’ve combed through numerous job boards and found quite a few typical responsibilities for the line cook position:
- Ensure that prep areas are fully stocked with necessary ingredients, bringing ingredients from storage areas to work areas as needed
- Prepare meat, vegetables, sauces, and other baseline items in order to ensure dishes are prepared in a timely fashion during meal service
- Ensure that recipes are executed according to the ingredient lists and food preparation guidelines written, performing various cooking methods across chosen menu items
- Work alongside the culinary team to ensure efficient production of food items in a safe, sanitary work area
- Control food costs by managing portion control and minimizing food waste
Cleaning and sanitation
- Maintain a clean work station, playing a critical part in keeping the kitchen in compliance with required health and safety standards
- Maintain personal hygiene standards
- Monitor ingredients for quality and freshness
Additional line cook duties
- Stock inventory as needed
- Follow instructions provided by the executive chef or sous chef
- Maintain a professional attitude with fellow line chefs, sous chefs, executive chef, front of house management, and customers
These responsibilities are by no means exhaustive, but at the same time, aren’t necessarily hard and fast requirements of every line cook job description. At their core, line cooks are responsible for preparing food items in a timely fashion so that a party’s meal comes out hot, fresh, and high quality, all at once. Health and safety standards are essential across all restaurants, so it will be necessary to note these items in the line cook position in some form.
Furthermore, line cooks will inevitably be part of a team. The more you can mention that a professional line cook will succeed by cooperating with an executive chef, sous chef, front of house management, and even customers, the more that job seekers will understand that teamwork is as important as the cooking itself.
3. Specify Line Cook Qualifications
Whether you require a professional line cook with previous experience and a culinary school degree or are only looking for a first-time prep cook, you should clearly define your minimum standards for job seekers. Being direct in your standards for a line cook in terms of previous experience, credentials, and physical requirements will make it easier for all parties involved.
Here are a few requirements typically reserved for line cooks, according to what’s posted across numerous culinary job boards:
- Knowledge and proficiency in various cooking methods
- Familiarity with recipe execution
- Previous experience in a similar role
Education and certification
- High school diploma or GED
- Certificate in culinary arts or related field
- ServSafe Food Handler Certification
- Ability to stand for long periods of time
- Ability to lift objects of up to 50 pounds without assistance
- Ability to maintain a safe work area in an environment where open flames and sharp objects can pose safety hazards if not handled properly
Additional line cook requirements
- Strong communication and organizational skills
- Strong ability to multitask, perform under pressure, and meet tight deadlines
- Ability to work positively and productively in a team environment and maintain composure in stressful situations
Your specific requirements for previous experience, culinary school, and physical standards will vary, but try to include numbers where appropriate. This practice will eliminate some gray areas for job seekers, leaving you with a higher concentration of qualified line cooks to choose from.
4. Decide What to Pay a Line Cook
Money is going to come up at some point in the hiring process, so you might as well be as transparent as possible up front. If your wages are competitive, you’ll have more qualified job seekers vying for a line cook position at your restaurant. If your pay isn’t competitive enough, you’ll waste both your time and the time of the job seekers who interview only to turn you down due to money.
You may want to list an hourly range for your line cook, dependent on experience. Hourly wages vary by city, so we recommend doing some research on what line cooks are making in your neighborhood so you can be competitive with the market.
A Standout Line Cook Job Description
Now that you have a few suggestions, we hope you can draft up an excellent line cook job description that clearly outlines your ideal line cook duties and requirements. A great line cook job description will give you a much better chance of landing that dream line cook and will make a huge difference in shaping your kitchen team.
Finding line cooks is always a challenge, and Pared provides a perfect solution to placing cooks in kitchens. Sign up and find out how Pared can help you today.