Career Development

What Does a Food Runner Do?

Find out what a food runner does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a food runner.

Food runners are the hardworking individuals who keep your food coming. They’re responsible for delivering plates of food to tables, refilling drinks, clearing dirty dishes, and ensuring that everyone is happy with their meal.

Food runners may work in a variety of different settings, from high-end restaurants to casual dining establishments or even catering companies. Regardless of where they work, they all have one thing in common: they love being on their feet all day!

Food Runner Job Duties

Food runners have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Serving food to customers at their table or booth, including taking orders from wait staff or other staff members
  • Clearing dirty dishes from tables after meals are finished
  • Communicating with kitchen staff about food preparation or ingredient needs
  • Cleaning restaurant tables, floors, and bathrooms as needed
  • Taking drink orders from customers seated at the bar or at a table waiting to be served
  • Making sure that each table has been served all ordered food and drinks at the appropriate time
  • Planning special events such as birthdays, anniversaries, or corporate dinners by ordering food, arranging for entertainment or decorations, and setting up the room for the event
  • Helping out in the kitchen by preparing food, stocking supplies, and cleaning up after meals are served
  • Delivering food to customers’ tables and cleaning up dishes after they have been eaten

Food Runner Salary & Outlook

The salary of a food runner can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of experience, the size of the restaurant they work for, and the city or state in which they live.

  • Median Annual Salary: $24,000 ($11.54/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $54,500 ($26.2/hour)

The employment of food runners is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

As restaurants continue to offer more upscale menus and higher-quality food, food runners will be needed to serve customers quickly and efficiently. In addition, as restaurants expand their menus, they will need more food runners to serve patrons in a timely manner.

Food Runner Job Requirements

A food runner typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Food runners typically need only a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, some employers may require a minimum of a GED or an equivalent, such as a certificate from a community college.

Training & Experience: Food runners typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or managers. This training may include how to use the point-of-sale system, how to properly clean and store food items and how to properly prepare and serve food. Food runners may also receive training on how to properly clean and maintain the kitchen and dining room areas.

Certifications & Licenses: Food runners typically don’t need any certifications or licenses. However, some restaurants may prefer candidates who are certified in safe food handling.

Food Runner Skills

Food runners need the following skills in order to be successful:

Organization: As a food runner, you should be able to keep your station organized. This includes keeping your food preparation area clean and organized, keeping your food storage area organized and keeping your food delivery area organized. Organization skills can help you complete your tasks quickly and efficiently.

Communication: Food runners often work with a team of other restaurant staff, so it’s important for them to be able to communicate effectively with their coworkers. They should be able to clearly relay messages from customers and managers and understand any instructions they receive. They should also be able to communicate with kitchen staff to relay any special requests or changes to orders.

Attention to detail: Food runners should be able to pay close attention to detail when taking orders, preparing food and serving customers. This ensures that customers receive the correct order and that the kitchen staff prepares the food correctly. Food runners should also pay attention to detail when cleaning to ensure that they properly sanitize all surfaces and remove all food particles.

Multitasking: A food runner’s duties often involve multiple tasks at once. They may be responsible for taking orders, preparing food, refilling condiments and drinks and keeping the dining area clean. Being able to multitask can help you complete all of your duties in a timely manner.

Friendliness: As a food runner, you should be friendly to your coworkers and customers. This can help you build strong relationships with others and make your workplace a more enjoyable place to be. Being friendly can also help you build trust with customers, which can help you provide them with excellent service.

Food Runner Work Environment

Food runners work in restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service establishments. They typically work the same hours as the kitchen staff and are on their feet for most of their shift. Food runners may be exposed to hot, greasy, and sharp equipment, as well as to potential slips, trips, and falls. They may also be exposed to foodborne illnesses if they do not follow proper food safety procedures. To minimize these risks, food runners must wear the proper protective clothing, including non-slip shoes, and follow all safety procedures.

Food Runner Trends

Here are three trends influencing how food runners work. Food runners will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Food Delivery Services Will Continue to Grow

As the food delivery industry continues to grow, food runners will need to adapt and learn new skills in order to be successful.

Food runners are essential members of the team at restaurants that offer food delivery services. They are responsible for delivering food to customers quickly and efficiently, which can be a challenging task when dealing with busy streets and traffic. In order to be successful, food runners will need to be able to navigate difficult terrain quickly and be familiar with the best routes to take. They will also need to be able to deal with customer complaints and be comfortable with talking to people.

More Focus on Healthier Options

The trend towards healthier options is continuing to grow as more and more people become interested in eating healthy. This means that food runners will need to focus on providing healthier options for their customers.

This trend can be seen in many different areas, such as the increasing popularity of salad bars, the demand for organic products, and the growing interest in vegan and vegetarian dishes. As food runners adapt to this trend, they will need to make sure that they are offering a variety of healthy options that appeal to a wide range of customers.

Healthy Eating Trends Are Here to Stay

The trend towards healthy eating is here to stay, and it is having a major impact on the restaurant industry. Customers are looking for healthier options, and they are willing to pay a premium for them.

As a food runner, you can capitalize on this trend by becoming knowledgeable about the healthiest options on the menu. You can also help to promote these options to customers, and suggest them to those who are looking for something healthy to eat.

How to Become a Food Runner

A career as a food runner can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the restaurant industry. As a food runner, you’ll be responsible for delivering food and drinks to customers at their tables. This is a great job for people who are looking to start their career in the food service industry.

To become a food runner, you’ll need to have a positive attitude, be able to work well under pressure, and be able to lift heavy objects. You should also be able to follow directions and stay on task.

Advancement Prospects

Most food runners start out as dishwashers or busboys in restaurants. They then move up to food runner positions. With experience, food runners may advance to other food service positions, such as chef, sous-chef, or manager. Some food runners eventually open their own restaurants.

For advancement in this career, it is important to have a good work ethic and to be able to take direction well. It is also important to be able to work well under pressure and to be able to handle multiple tasks at one time.

Food Runner Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide an exceptional dining experience by serving delicious food promptly and efficiently. We’re looking for a food runner to join our team and help us maintain this high standard. As a food runner, you will be responsible for delivering food to our guests in a timely and professional manner. You will also be responsible for keeping the kitchen area clean and organized, and for disposing of waste properly. The ideal candidate will have prior experience as a food runner or server, and will be able to maintain a sense of urgency while remaining calm and collected.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understands menu items and can make recommendations to guests
  • Knows the proper way to handle and present food
  • Is able to work quickly and efficiently under pressure
  • Keeps a clean and organized work station
  • Adheres to all safety and sanitation guidelines
  • Communicates effectively with other members of the kitchen staff
  • Works well as part of a team
  • Takes direction well from the chef or manager
  • Is able to lift heavy trays of food
  • Runs food to tables in a timely manner
  • Checks food for quality and presentation before it is served
  • Clears dirty dishes from tables and returns them to the kitchen

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven customer service experience in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • Ability to work well under pressure and multitask
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time and lift up to 50 pounds
  • Flexible schedule, including nights, weekends, and holidays

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Previous experience as a food runner or in a similar role
  • Experience working in a high-volume restaurant
  • Knowledge of the menu and wine list
  • Culinary training or degree
  • Bilingual

Similar Jobs


What Does a Store Supervisor Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Kitchen Helper Do?