Food Service Skills for a Resume (Examples & Tips)

Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW
By Elizabeth Muenzen, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: May 14, 2024

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for food and beverage workers are projected to grow 2% by 2032.

Craft a job-winning food service resume with our expert tips and examples of essential food service skills that employers are seeking. 

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What are food service skills?

Food service worker skills encompass a diverse set of abilities and knowledge crucial for success in the food industry. 

These skills include proficiency in food safety and hygiene practices to ensure customers’ well-being and excellent customer service skills to provide a positive dining experience. 

Basic cooking and food preparation skills, coupled with time management and teamwork abilities, enable seamless coordination in fast-paced kitchen environments. 

Effective communication, problem-solving skills and attention to detail are also essential for resolving issues promptly and maintaining high service standards.

Examples of food service skills

Discover essential skills for food service roles from our career advice experts. Check out expertly crafted food service specialist resumes for additional examples and guidance.

Hard skills

Hard skills are specific, teachable abilities that are typically gained through education, training or hands-on experience.

Here are a few examples of hard skills for food service to include on your resume: 

  • Food safety and sanitation
  • Food preparation
  • Knife skills
  • Menu knowledge
  • Order-taking and point-of-sale (POS) systems
  • Beverage preparation
  • Inventory management
  • Cash handling
  • Table setting and presentation
  • Cleaning and maintenance

Soft skills

Soft skills are personal attributes and interpersonal abilities that enable individuals to interact effectively and harmoniously with others.

Here are some examples of soft skills for food service workers:

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Stress management
  • Empathy
  • Conflict resolution

Food preparation skills 

Food preparation technical skills are essential for back-of-house food service staff and other professionals in the food service industry. 

Take a look at these examples of food service worker skills related to food preparation:

  • Knife skills
  • Cooking techniques
  • Temperature control
  • Ingredient preparation
  • Food seasoning and flavoring
  • Food presentation
  • Menu item preparation
  • Food safety practices
  • Allergen management
  • Speed and efficiency

Customer service skills 

Customer service and interpersonal skills are critical for maintaining professionalism and keeping customers happy.

Explore examples of customer service skills for a food service resume: 

  • Positive attitude
  • Active listening
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Product knowledge
  • Effective communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Attention to detail
  • Flexibility
  • Follow up

Transferable skills 

Transferable skills are abilities and qualities that can be applied and utilized across various jobs, industries and contexts.

Some common transferable skills learned in food service include: 

  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Stress management
  • Leadership
  • Sales and upselling

How to improve food service skills

Improving food service skills requires training, practice and ongoing development. Here are some tips to enhance your food service skills:

  • Seek training opportunities: Take advantage of training programs, workshops and courses offered by employers, culinary schools or industry organizations. 
  • Practice regularly: Experiment with new recipes, techniques and ingredients to expand your repertoire and refine your abilities.
  • Observe others: Pay attention to how they interact with customers, handle challenging situations and maintain high standards of quality and service.
  • Cross-train: To increase your versatility, take advantage of opportunities to cross-train in different roles or departments within the food service establishment.
  • Attend workshops and seminars: These events provide valuable insights, networking opportunities and hands-on learning experiences.

Explore our guide on how to write a resume for examples of how to effectively showcase food service skills and qualifications on your resume.

How to highlight food service skills on a resume

  • Create a dedicated skills section: Dedicate a section of your resume specifically to your food service skills. Your resume skills section should be prominently placed near the top of your resume and formatted with bullet points for easy scanning.
  • Use relevant keywords: Use keywords and industry-specific terminology in your skills section to pass Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and impress hiring managers.
  • Add skills to your resume summary: In your resume summary, feature two or three skills that are highly relevant to the job description, such as excellent customer service and efficient food preparation.
  • Quantify your skills: Whenever possible, use quantifiable achievements to provide concrete examples of your skills. For example, “Implemented a new upselling strategy for appetizers, resulting in a 15% increase in appetizer sales over a three-month period.”
  • Provide concrete examples: In your resume work history section, provide examples or achievements that demonstrate your skills in action. If you’ve completed any relevant training programs or certifications related to food service, mention them in your resume.
  • Use action verbs: Start each bullet point under your work experience with strong action verbs to convey your achievements effectively. For example, “Prepared and plated gourmet dishes according to established recipes and presentation standards.”

Common tools and technologies used in food service

In food service roles, various tools and technologies are used to facilitate operations, streamline processes and enhance efficiency. Here are some common ones:

  • Point-of-sale (POS) systems: POS systems process orders, manage transactions and track sales data. 
  • Kitchen equipment: This includes a wide range of tools and appliances used for food preparation, such as ovens, stovetops, grills, fryers, mixers and food processors.
  • Food safety tools: Thermometers, temperature probes and sanitizing equipment are essential for ensuring food safety and compliance with health regulations.
  • Cutlery and kitchen utensils: Knives, spatulas, tongs, ladles, whisks and other utensils are used for cutting, flipping, stirring and serving food.
  • Cookware and bakeware: Pots, pans, baking sheets and other cookware are necessary for cooking and baking a variety of dishes.
  • Cleaning equipment: Brushes, sponges, scrubbers, mops and cleaning chemicals are essential for maintaining cleanliness and sanitation in the kitchen and dining areas.
  • Menu display boards: Digital menu boards or chalkboards display menu items, specials and promotions to customers.

These tools and technologies play a crucial role in the day-to-day operations of food service establishments, helping to ensure smooth and efficient service delivery while maintaining quality and compliance with health and safety standards.

Best food service certifications for your resume

The certifications you include on your food service resume depend on your role in the industry.

For instance, a barback resume and a barista resume will feature different certifications. 

However, there are several food service certifications that can enhance your resume and demonstrate your expertise and commitment to excellence in the industry, such as: 

  • ServSafe Food Handler Certification
  • ServSafe Manager Certification
  • Food Protection Manager Certification
  • Allergen Awareness Certification
  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) Certification
  • Culinary Arts Certification
  • Bartending Certification (e.g., TIPS Certification)
  • Barista Certification
  • Wine and Spirits Certification (e.g., WSET or CMS)
  • Nutrition Certification (e.g., NASM-CNC or Precision Nutrition)

When selecting certifications to include on your resume, consider the requirements of the job you’re applying for and choose certifications that align with the role and demonstrate your relevant skills and expertise.

Key takeaways

  1. Food service workers have a wide range of skills, from customer service and problem-solving to food preparation and cash handling.
  2. You can feature your food service skills throughout various sections of your resume, providing concrete examples of how you’ve developed and demonstrated those skills.
  3. You can improve your food service skills by attending relevant workshops and seminars, practicing regularly and observing others in similar roles.


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