Counter service assistant

Hospitality, catering and tourism

Career outlook for counter service assistant

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would serve food and drinks to customers, take money, give people their change and keep the premises clean and welcoming.

You could work in a:

  • Sandwich shop
  • Cafe
  • Fast food outlet
  • Self-service restaurant
  • Deli
  • Canteen

You’d make customers feel welcome and deal with their orders correctly and quickly, including when it is very busy and there are lots of customers to serve.

You’d need to work according to health and safety practices, for example, making sure you handle raw and cooked foods safely.

You would:

  • Serve food and drinks
  • Advise customers about ingredients and the menu
  • Keep eating and serving areas clean and tidy
  • Operate vending machines such as coffee-makers
  • Refill hot food containers and self-serve stations
  • Clear tables, wash dishes and do other cleaning
  • Operate the till - take cash and card payments and give out change and receipts
  • Respond to customer enquiries, comments and complaints

In smaller sandwich shops, you might prepare all food and drinks. In fast food restaurants you would also do basic cooking or re-heating.

Working conditions


Full time work is available and part time and seasonal work is common. This may include evenings, weekends and split-shifts.


Restaurants and kitchens can be hot, noisy and very busy, and you would be on your feet for long periods. You would need a high level of personal hygiene and a smart appearance. Your employer may provide a uniform.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Positive attitude
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Cooperating
  • Respecting
  • Working with numbers

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Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


No formal qualifications are required however many employers value a good general education.

Useful subjects

Some employers may want you to have a food hygiene certificate.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show some knowledge of health and hygiene and customer service skills such as Skills for Work Hospitality (SCQF level 4/5). 

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Food Service (SVQ level 2) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.