Career Development

What Does a Kitchen Porter Do?

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

Kitchen porters are responsible for a wide range of duties in the kitchen of their establishment. They’re often tasked with moving heavy boxes, crates, and other supplies from one place to another. They may also be called upon to clean equipment or dishes after they’ve been used by customers.

Kitchen porters typically work under the direction of a head chef or other supervisor. Their job is to ensure that everything in the kitchen runs smoothly—they might help prepare ingredients before service begins, keep an eye on food as it cooks, or even assist servers with clearing tables or setting up for the next seating.

Kitchen Porter Job Duties

Kitchen porters have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Stocking food items in pantries and refrigerators
  • Clearing dirty dishes and glasses from dining rooms, buffets, or bars after each service
  • Organizing and maintaining the kitchen, pantry, and storage areas to ensure efficient workflow
  • Cleaning dishes, pots, pans, utensils, and other kitchen equipment
  • Maintaining the cleanliness of the kitchen, including sweeping floors and wiping down surfaces
  • Setting up tables, arranging chairs and linens, and setting up silverware and dishes for large events
  • Arranging and preparing food for large events such as weddings or banquets
  • Washing dishes and cleaning kitchen facilities, including floors and walls
  • Cleaning and maintaining equipment used in the kitchen such as ovens, refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and microwaves

Kitchen Porter Salary & Outlook

Kitchen porters are typically paid hourly, and their salaries can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of experience, the size of the restaurant or hotel they work in, and the city or state where they live.

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $67,500 ($32.45/hour)

The employment of kitchen porters is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The need to automate some tasks in restaurants will limit the number of jobs for kitchen porters. However, automation will allow kitchen porters to do more work and increase productivity, offsetting some of the loss of jobs to automation.

Related: 17 Kitchen Porter Interview Questions and Answers

Kitchen Porter Job Requirements

Kitchen porters typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Kitchen porters typically need only a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer candidates who have completed culinary arts courses. These courses teach kitchen porters basic culinary skills, such as knife skills, food preparation, sanitation and kitchen safety.

Training & Experience: Most kitchen porters learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their role while on the job. Training may include safety and health regulations, cleaning and food handling techniques and kitchen safety and organization. Training may last a few days to a few weeks, depending on the establishment.

Certifications & Licenses: Kitchen porters do not require any certifications to earn their position. However, some states require food handlers to complete a safe handling of food course, which can be completed online or at a local community college.

Kitchen Porter Skills

Kitchen porters need the following skills in order to be successful:

Organization: Keeping your workspace clean and organized is an important skill for kitchen porters. You may be responsible for preparing ingredients, washing dishes and keeping your workspace tidy. Being able to organize your workspace and keep it clean and tidy can help you complete your tasks efficiently.

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others. As a kitchen porter, you may be required to communicate with other kitchen staff, chefs and restaurant patrons. It’s important to be able to speak clearly and understand what others are saying.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a skill that can help you perform your job well. As a kitchen porter, you may be responsible for preparing food, cleaning dishes and maintaining the kitchen. Having attention to detail can help you complete your tasks correctly and ensure that the kitchen is clean and organized.

Food safety knowledge: Kitchen porters are responsible for handling food and preparing meals, so it’s important that they have a thorough understanding of food safety practices. This includes knowing how to properly wash and store dishes, how to handle and prepare raw meat and how to properly clean and sanitize work surfaces.

Basic cooking: A kitchen porter’s duties may include preparing and serving food, so basic cooking skills can be helpful. You may be expected to know how to prepare simple dishes like eggs, toast and sandwiches. You may also be expected to know how to operate a range, a deep fryer and other kitchen equipment.

Kitchen Porter Work Environment

Kitchen porters work in the kitchens of restaurants, hotels, and other food service establishments. They typically work long hours, including evenings and weekends, and may be required to work overtime on short notice. Kitchen porters typically work in hot, noisy, and busy kitchens. They may be exposed to sharp knives and other kitchen equipment, and they may be required to lift and carry heavy pots and pans. Kitchen porters typically work under the supervision of the head chef or kitchen manager.

Kitchen Porter Trends

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

The Rise of the Food Truck

The food truck trend is growing rapidly, as more and more people are looking for fresh and unique culinary experiences. This has led to an increased demand for kitchen porters who can help prepare food trucks for service.

Kitchen porters who are able to work in a fast-paced environment will be in high demand, as they will be needed to help keep food trucks running smoothly. In addition, they should have experience working with a variety of different ingredients and cooking styles.

More Focus on Healthier Options

As the health craze continues to grow, restaurants are beginning to focus more on offering healthier options. This means that kitchen porters will need to be familiar with preparing healthy dishes that still taste great.

In order to stay ahead of the curve, kitchen porters should learn how to make dishes that are both healthy and delicious. They should also be willing to experiment with new ingredients and cooking techniques.

A Desire for More Local Ingredients

As the local food movement continues to grow, customers are increasingly looking for restaurants that use locally sourced ingredients. This is because they want to support local businesses and know where their food comes from.

Kitchen porters can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in using local ingredients in their dishes. They can also promote the benefits of eating locally sourced food to customers.

How to Become a Kitchen Porter

A kitchen porter career is a great way to get your foot in the door of the culinary world. As a kitchen porter, you’ll be responsible for carrying out various tasks related to food preparation and cleanup. This could include chopping vegetables, washing dishes, stocking supplies, and more.

To become a successful kitchen porter, it’s important that you have a strong work ethic and are able to follow instructions closely. You should also be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment with other team members.

Advancement Prospects

Kitchen porters usually start in the most junior role of kitchen assistant. With experience, they may be promoted to become a commis chef, chef de partie, or sous chef. Some kitchen porters go on to complete professional chef qualifications.

Head chefs, also known as executive chefs, are responsible for the overall running of a kitchen. They may have a team of sous chefs and chef de partie working under them. Head chefs often have many years of experience working as a chef de partie or sous chef.

The head chef is responsible for menu planning, ordering supplies, and ensuring that food is prepared to the correct standard. They may also be responsible for training new staff and managing the kitchen budget.

Kitchen Porter Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide our customers with an exceptional dining experience by serving high-quality food in a beautiful setting. We are looking for a hard-working and reliable kitchen porter to join our team. As a kitchen porter, you will be responsible for keeping the kitchen clean and organized, washing dishes, and disposing of trash. You will also be responsible for stocking supplies and assisting the cooks with food preparation. The ideal candidate will be able to work quickly and efficiently under pressure.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Unload delivery trucks and stock shelves in the kitchen
  • Wash dishes, pots, and pans by hand or using a dishwasher
  • Maintain cleanliness throughout the kitchen area, including sweeping and mopping floors, and taking out trash
  • Organize and maintain storage areas, such as walk-in refrigerators and dry storage pantries
  • Assist cooks and other kitchen staff with food preparation, such as chopping vegetables or butchering meat
  • Serve meals to customers in the dining room as needed
  • Clean and sanitize all kitchen equipment, surfaces, and utensils
  • Adhere to all safety and sanitation guidelines
  • Perform regular maintenance on dishwashing and other machinery
  • Order supplies and ingredients as needed
  • Keep track of inventory levels and report any shortages to the head chef
  • Train new kitchen staff members as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as kitchen porter
  • Hard-working and reliable
  • Ability to work long hours on your feet
  • Good physical stamina and strength
  • Basic math skills
  • Flexibility to work in shifts

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience working in a fast-paced environment
  • Knowledge of health and safety regulations
  • Food handling certification
  • Previous experience with dishwashing machines
  • Team player with good communication skills


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