The prompt delivery of edible and safe food constitutes an essential goal of restaurants and other food preparation establishments. Those that offer prepared foods must have an efficient and carefully-executed process to prevent dishes from losing their heat and flavor. Ensuring these outcomes and a pleasant eating experience falls on the shoulders of food expeditors. The following expeditor job description explains the duties, skills, and knowledge necessary for these workers to fulfill their purposes in restaurants and other establishments that serve food.
Job Overview: What Does an Expeditor Professional Do?
The expeditor job description features elements of food preparation, quality control or assurance and runner. Food expeditors serve the purpose of efficiently keeping the dining operations and dinner orders flowing. To perform the functions of an expeditor requires the ability to navigate the stress of a fast-paced and loud environment. Expeditors must listen, speak, lift and carry items, observe and respond to customer complaints. As well as notice deviations from the standards of the restaurants or of food safety and sanitation before dishes reach customers.
Expeditor Job Duties
- Read tickets and order forms.
- Track preparation of dishes and fulfillment of dine-in or carryout orders.
- Inspect dishes for conformity to diners’ orders and wishes, company standards, and applicable health and sanitary regulations.
- Inform diners of any delays in preparation of their order.
- Consult with cooks and other kitchen staff for availability of menu items.
- Stock ingredients and supply room.
- Package and deliver carryout orders.
- Carry plates, bowls, drinks and other items to diners as necessary
Expeditor Job Essential Skills
Communication Skills. Expeditors must speak and listen to those in kitchens, often having to raise voices and get attention over the noise of cooking, utensils, and others. Directions and messages may come from multiple people simultaneously or in short periods of time. Communication for a food expeditor means prioritizing those with whom to communicate at a given moment.
Detail-Oriented Skills. The expeditor job description involves paying attention to the details involved in the preparation and presentation of dishes. This involves reviewing the plate to ensure it has all the items requested by the customer. Also, making sure it is prepared at the right temperature and according to the standards of the food establishment. Food expeditors should also be skilled in inspecting the plate for smudges, spills, chips or cracks. As well as any hairs or other foreign materials on the food or plate.
Physical Skills. Constant walking throughout the restaurant, carrying of items and lifting constitute significant aspects of the expeditor job description. Expeditors need the strength to lift up to 70 pounds and coordination and steadiness to carry trays with several dishes and drinks. Also, stamina helps expeditors handle the heat and humid conditions generated by constant operation of stoves and ovens cooking or boiling water.
Becoming an Expeditor Professional
A formal educational path is not part of the expeditor job description. However, applicants for these positions can glean important knowledge and skills from post-secondary training and classes on food handling and preparation subjects. Depending on the state, a food handling certificate is a legal prerequisite to becoming an expeditor. Relevant work experience also helps food expeditors land positions.
Qualifications & Training
As a general rule, applicants for expeditor positions do not need any particular degree. With many employers, a high school diploma is either a preference or requirement for food expeditors. Some may accept applicants without a diploma.
Beyond food safety classes, applicants may enroll in hospitality and culinary programs. In these classes, expeditors learn about the operations of hotels, restaurants, ingredients, flavors, and techniques for preparing meals and their components.
Restaurants, hotels and other food establishments may train new hires in the respective companies’ standards, methods and signature tastes, flavors or dishes. The training may include reading and studying menus and other guides published by employers, especially chain restaurants or franchises.
The type of restaurant or eating establishment usually defines the level of experience needed. Operators of upscale or fine dining restaurants may require or prefer prior history in food preparation, employment in similar restaurants, or as an expeditor in food service settings.
Certain establishments will accept applicants with no prior food expeditor experience. Even with these employers, having worked jobs in similar settings may prove helpful. Those looking for expeditor jobs with resort or hotel companies may need experience having worked in lodging or travel accommodations.
Expeditors in nursing homes or group residential facilities can benefit from food preparation or other jobs in these settings. Foods prepared and delivered to nursing home or other institutionalized residents must comply with specific nutritional as well as safety regulations.
The typical expeditor job description in the food industry includes significant evening and weekend work. Most restaurants operate through the late evenings and seek peak demand on weekends. However, quality service restaurants often do not take reservations, resulting in significant numbers of diners who need to be served in a given evening. While restaurants that take reservations primarily operate in the late afternoon and evenings. Food expeditors can also expect daytime work as restaurants and eateries open for lunch and breakfast. While few restaurants operate on a 24-hour basis.
Moreover, expeditors may even have holidays as part of their schedules. As reported in Forbes magazine, a National Restaurant Association survey says that nine percent of people in the United States spent Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant in 2017, up from just six percent in 2011.
Job Outlook & Career Advancement
The strength and constant activity of the restaurant industry can sustain demand for restaurant jobs, including food expeditors. According to the National Restaurant Association, 2017 restaurant sales in the United States totaled $799 billion dollars. Over one million restaurants dotted the landscape of the county. Also, projections from the National Restaurant Association place the number of new restaurant employees by 2027 at 1.6 million.
Increasing population and disposable income will drive more demand for dining. Deloitte reports that dining in restaurants as opposed to cooking at home accounts for 44 percent of household and individuals’ food spending. In addition to the restaurant industry, continued demand for expeditors and other food service workers should come from the hospitality and healthcare industries. Growth in the hotel sector should run from five to six percent in 2018.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an eight percent climb in the employment of “Food Preparation Workers” through 2026. In 2016, the United States had 871,100 “Food Preparation Workers.” Moreover, those seeking careers such as cooks, chefs or restaurant managers may use work as an expeditor to demonstrate experience and knowledge of restaurant and food operations.
Finally, within the expeditor job description lies the ability of these workers to keep quality, edible meals under time pressures and conditions requiring significant physical exertion. Also, food expeditors exercise judgment in determining if meals and other prepared foods meet safety and quality expectations. Moreover, demand for their skills and duties should continue to hold strong as people increasingly look to dining out for convenience, to meet their own time crunches, enjoy leisure and experience travel.