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Institution and Cafeteria Cook

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Life As an Institution and Cafeteria Cook

Position Description Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

A Day in the Life of an Institution & Cafeteria Cook

  • Determine meal prices, based on calculations of ingredient prices.
  • Clean, cut, and cook meat, fish, or poultry.
  • Take inventory of supplies and equipment.
  • Requisition food supplies, kitchen equipment, and appliances, based on estimates of future needs.
  • Compile and maintain records of food use and expenditures.
  • Apportion and serve food to facility residents, employees, or patrons.

Things an Institution & Cafeteria Cook Should Know How to Do

When polled, Institution and Cafeteria Cooks say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Quality Control Analysis: Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

  • Food Service Worker
  • Cook
  • Food and Nutrition Services Assistant
  • Dietary Cook
  • Ship’s Cook

Is There Job Demand for Institution and Cafeteria Cooks?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 424,800 jobs in the United States for Institution and Cafeteria Cook. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 32,600 new jobs for Institution and Cafeteria Cook by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 64,400 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Institution & Cafeteria Cook are Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, Wyoming, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does an Institution & Cafeteria Cook Make?

The typical yearly salary for Institution and Cafeteria Cooks is somewhere between $18,840 and $39,880.


Institution and Cafeteria Cooks who work in Connecticut, Hawaii, or Massachusetts, make the highest salaries.

How much do Institution and Cafeteria Cooks make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $22,100
Alaska $37,670
Arizona $28,120
Arkansas $22,320
California $35,680
Colorado $29,630
Connecticut $38,580
Delaware $32,620
District of Columbia $37,270
Florida $27,280
Georgia $26,160
Hawaii $38,110
Idaho $24,960
Illinois $27,550
Indiana $25,200
Iowa $27,110
Kansas $24,190
Kentucky $25,630
Louisiana $21,990
Maine $30,910
Maryland $33,010
Massachusetts $37,300
Michigan $28,410
Minnesota $32,810
Mississippi $20,460
Missouri $24,900
Montana $27,060
Nebraska $26,950
Nevada $32,780
New Hampshire $33,100
New Jersey $34,050
New Mexico $25,020
New York $34,800
North Carolina $25,240
North Dakota $31,370
Ohio $27,260
Oklahoma $21,650
Oregon $31,920
Pennsylvania $29,180
Rhode Island $36,060
South Carolina $22,960
South Dakota $26,230
Tennessee $25,580
Texas $24,770
Utah $27,870
Vermont $31,380
Virginia $29,400
Washington $34,230
West Virginia $24,200
Wisconsin $28,960
Wyoming $30,580

What Tools & Technology do Institution and Cafeteria Cooks Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Institution and Cafeteria Cooks:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Data entry software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Point of sale POS software
  • IBM Lotus 1-2-3
  • GNOME Gnutrition

How to Become an Institution & Cafeteria Cook

Learn what Institution and Cafeteria Cook education requirements there are.


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where Institution and Cafeteria Cooks Are Employed


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being an Institution and Cafeteria Cook may also be interested in:

Are you already one of the many Institution and Cafeteria Cook in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


Image Credit: U.S. Army Europe Images via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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