Counter Service Assistant Jobs

Counter service assistant jobs… did you know?

Doing a good job in this role is a great way to impress your employer… so count your blessings if you have counter service on your CV!

What exactly is a counter service assistant? It’s the person who greets you, serves you and takes your money when you’re standing at a counter buying food or drink. It could be the barista serving your skinny iced mocha-chocca Frappuccino, the counter service assistant at your local Golden Arches eatery or the aproned staff at the cheese, deli, fish and meat counters in a large supermarket.

Counter service builds your customer-facing skills, your hygiene and presentation skills, and shows you can be trusted with money. Not only that, you’ll also get the opportunity to know your produce inside-out so you can advises customers on taste, dietary recommendations and anything else they need to know.

Industry: Catering and Hospitality, Retail

Counter service assistant job trends

How much money can you make as counter service assistant?

£12,000 – £19,000 (UK average)
Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £12,000 and £19,000 a year as a counter service assistant in the UK.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

You don’t need any set requirements for this job, so enthusiasm and good time-keeping matter more than study qualifications for getting your foot in the door.

This can be a great role for anyone looking to build their CV and earn money at the same time.

You’ll pick up loads of life and work skills valued by a huge range of employers, too. Customer service and handling money? Check. Sticking to health and safety standards? Check. Good personal presentation? Check.

Getting familiar enough with a product or service to offer knowledge and advice that customers will value? Check.

Useful subjects to study at HNC/HND or degree level if you want a hospitality and catering career that’s a full feast, not just a starter:

  • Hospitality management
  • Hotel and catering management
  • Hospitality, leisure and tourism


You can enter the hospitality and catering industry with an apprenticeship. This will give you structured training while you work and earn, and industry-recognised qualifications.

There are lots of catering apprenticeships available to meet your level of work experience and learning, from basic and intermediate apprenticeships to ones specialising in catering management.

Learning and earning as a catering trainee or catering apprentice will get you a good grounding in the industry, and you can build work experience and further education learning to work towards a management position.

Example catering apprenticeships include:

  • Hospitality and Catering Apprenticeship
  • Food and Beverage Catering Management Apprenticeship
  • Hospitality Management Higher Apprenticeship

While at school or college, speak to your careers advisor about useful training and/or courses for you to take and find out more about the types of career routes available.

Career progression and further qualifications

With time and experience you could have the opportunity for promotion to team leader, supervisor or manager.
You could also study for further qualifications in catering.

What experience do you need for counter service assistant jobs?

Work experience

Some employers won’t require you to have any previous work experience at all. Previous customer service work will always help.

  • Look for part-time or seasonal work (you could do shift work, a few days a week, or seek summer jobs when UK tourism is at its height)
  • Seek work experience in a range of venues including fast food chains, coffee house chains, local shops (like the grocer, butcher or newsagent) and supermarket chains.
  • If you’ve had any previous jobs that gave you experience with handling money, serving customers or working with food, this will help your CV glow more brightly than a freshly-cleaned marble counter.


Many charities who help the homeless put on big Christmas feasts for those who have no homes to go to. If you ever want to prove you’ve served lots of people behind a counter – and you’ve got a big heart – why not volunteer to help out with a homeless Christmas feast next Christmas? This could also be your chance to muck in with food preparation so you can say you helped make Christmas dinner for 100+ people!

What skills do you need for counter service assistant jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for a counter service assistant job include::

  • Great communication skills – you’ll set customers at their ease, and be able to answer their food-related questions with authority.
  • Keeping calm under pressure – you’ll keep your counter ship-shape and the service flowing smoothly even during busy periods
  • Good self-management skills – you can serve customers without your manager always telling you what to do.
  • Good presentation skills – you’ll keep the counter area clean and neat and tidy, just like you

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What do counter service assistants do?

Depending on your level of experience, your responsibilities could include:

  • Handling food in a safe and healthy way (that includes raw and cooked food)
  • Working quickly (but without making mistakes with orders) to build sales
  • Handling a till to make payments
  • Keeping the work area clean and tidy
  • Handling customer queries (like food content and menu choices)
  • Handling customer complaints (always be polite, and keep calm!)

Your first steps into counter service assistant jobs

Jobs like these are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Hospitality/catering apprenticeship/li>
  • Counter staff
  • Catering assistant
  • Food service worker
  • Restaurant crew member

All these types of job can be a good match for your skills.

You can look for jobs in trade magazines like Caterer and Hotelkeeper, and also search online for catering and hospitality recruitment agencies like and get on their books.

Useful organisations and links for catering management careers

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