Counter service assistant

Job Description:

Counter service assistants greet, serve and take payment from customers buying food and drink.

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

In this role you will:

  • welcome customers and take their food and drink orders
  • handle raw and cooked food following food hygiene rules
  • set up and keep all eating and serving areas clean and tidy
  • bring food and drink to the table or take-away point
  • give advice about food content and menu choices and
  • make sure customers have everything they need
  • work quickly and accurately to maximise sales
  • hand over or close down a clean and safe restaurant service area at the end of shift
  • operate a till and vending machines
  • handle customer enquiries and complaints


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of food production methods
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a counter service assistant, which typically involves working in various customer service roles, you don’t typically need specific GCSE subjects. However, having a strong foundation in certain subjects and skills can be advantageous in this field, such as:

  1. English Language: Good communication skills are essential in customer service roles, as you will interact with customers, answer questions, and provide information.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for handling cash transactions, making change, and calculating prices or discounts.
  3. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Familiarity with computer systems and software can be valuable for processing orders, using point-of-sale (POS) systems, and managing digital records.
  4. Customer Service: While not a specific GCSE subject, having a natural aptitude for customer service, including being friendly, patient, and attentive, is crucial for success in this field.
  5. Foreign Languages: If you live in an area with a diverse population or anticipate working in a multicultural environment, knowing a foreign language can be an asset, as it can help you communicate with a broader range of customers.
  6. Business Studies: If your school offers business studies as a GCSE subject, taking it can provide you with a basic understanding of business principles and customer service concepts.
  7. Hospitality and Catering: If available, this subject can introduce you to the fundamentals of working in the food service industry, including food safety and hygiene practices.

It’s worth noting that while GCSE subjects can provide a foundation of knowledge and skills, many employers in customer service roles prioritize qualities such as good communication, a positive attitude, the ability to work well with a team, and a strong work ethic.

Practical experience, part-time jobs, and internships in customer-facing roles can also be highly beneficial for gaining relevant skills and demonstrating your commitment to a career in customer service.

Post School
You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could take a UK course like a Level 1 or 2 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service or Hospitality and Catering.

You could do an intermediate apprenticeship in customer service or one as a hospitality team member.

Direct Application
You could apply directly for jobs. Some employers may expect you to have experience in customer service, catering or hospitality work.

You could start with a weekend or temporary job to build up your skills.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could typically work 40-42 hours a week  – evenings / weekends / bank holidays on split shifts. You could work at a store or at a restaurant.

Your working environment may be hot and noisy.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.