Duties and responsibilities
A food runner is responsible for delivering the food from the kitchen to a customer in a restaurant. They must ensure that the customer receives the correct food order! Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Handing/communicating the customers order to the chef
- Making sure that the chef is away or allergies or specific requests
- Double checking the order to make sure it is correct
- Matching the food ticket to the customer
- Delivering the food orders to the table rapidly and accurately
- Acting as a point of contact between front of the house and back of the house staff
A food runner does not need any formal education, but a high school diploma is preferred by many employers. It may also be advantageous to have some experience in the hospitality industry. However, this is not essential as food runners will receive on-the-job training.
Skills and relevant work experience
Food runners will need skills such as:
- Interpersonal skills, as food runners need to be able to interact and listen to customers
- Customer service skills, as food runners must ensure the customer is satisfied and the restaurant has a good reputation
- Physical fitness, as food runners will be on their feet walking from the kitchen to tables all day
- Attention to detail, as food runners must get customers orders, include special requests, correct
- Communication skills, as food runners need to relay orders to the chef and they act as a point of contact between front and back of house
- Time management skills, as food runners will need to deliver food rapidly and be able to manage their time
Many food runners will work part time, whilst working another job and/or studying. Typically, they will work early mornings, late evenings, weekends and holidays as this is when most people will want to eat out.
According to Glassdoor the median annual salary for a food runner in the United States is $21,689. A low salary is considered to be around $17,000 per annum, and a high is in excess of $32,000 per annum.
Lot of people are a food runner for a short period of their lives. Very few people will remain a food runner throughout the duration of their career. Food runners may progress to other roles, such as a waiter/waitress. They may also progress, with more experience and training, to become restaurant supervisors/managers or receptionists. Or, many people leave to industry and seek careers elsewhere. It is not to be forgotten, however, that the skills learnt as a food runner (e.g., time management, customer service, organization) are invaluable and highly transferrable.