How to Hire a Food Counter Attendant in Canada?

How to Hire a Food Counter Attendant in Canada

How to Hire a Food Counter Attendant in Canada?

At the heart of your thriving food service establishment lies its food counter attendants, the friendly faces who serve delectable dishes and create lasting dining experiences. Hiring a proficient and personable food counter attendant in Canada demands a nuanced approach that considers the role’s unique demands.

Luckily, Hookjobs specializes in identifying and hiring exceptional food counter attendants across Canada committed to elevating your patrons’ dining journeys.

In this article, we will walk you through the crucial steps we undertake to secure the perfect candidate for your culinary enterprise.

How we Help you Hire a Food Counter Attendant in Canada?

Leveraging an extensive network within the Canadian culinary landscape, Hookjobs offers a streamlined approach to locating and onboarding skilled food counter attendants who align with your food establishment’s unique needs.

The following flowchart illustrates the fundamental steps we take to hire the most professional food counter attendants in Canada:

1. Needs Analysis

We initiate the recruitment process by scrutinizing your requirements to identify the ideal food counter attendant candidate for your food establishment. We, therefore, write an inception report to include all the requirements of the position and all the qualities you seek in food counter attendants you intend to hire.

Here are some essential elements we consider when conducting a needs analysis before hiring a food counter attendant:

  • Food establishment overview: We ask you to provide us with an overview of your food establishment’s identity, vision, and unique attributes. Insights into the cuisine you offer, your target customer base, and the ambiance you aim to create will assist in attracting food counter attendant candidates who seamlessly align with your food establishment’s character.
  • Food counter attendant role description: We also request a comprehensive description of the food counter attendant role, encompassing specific responsibilities such as order-taking, food preparation, maintaining cleanliness, and any desired expertise in handling customer inquiries or dietary preferences.
  • Required language skills: We must specify any crucial language proficiencies or linguistic qualifications necessary for the food counter attendant role. This could involve languages used for customer interaction, multilingual service, or accommodating diverse patrons. For instance, if your establishment engages in multilingual interactions or requires language skills beyond the ordinary, we must include these details in the inception report.
  • Experience and skills: Clarity on the desired level of experience is vital. Whether you seek entry-level food counter attendants with growth potential or experienced professionals with a knack for efficient service, this information will aid us in identifying candidates who align with your criteria.
  • Specific cooking skills: If your food establishment requires candidates to possess specific cooking skills, we ask you to provide us with details about the particular culinary techniques or specialties essential for the role. This could include proficiency in making artisan sandwiches, crafting gourmet salads, or operating specialized kitchen equipment.
  • Cultural fit: We must also know your business’s work culture, values, and team dynamics to better select food counter attendant candidates who seamlessly integrate into your team and enhance the overall dining experience.
  • Timeline and availability: Understanding your expected timeline for hiring food counter attendants is crucial for organizing a recruitment process that caters to your operational needs and any seasonal demands.
  • Budget and compensation: We also request details about the budget, compensation structure, benefits, and potential incentives that you will offer to food counter attendant candidates.

2. Job Posting

Once we understand your restaurant or kitchen’s requirements, we promote your job opening and meticulously search for skilled food counter attendants across Canada. We tap into different social media platforms and channels to access a vast network of potential food counter attendant candidates.

Here’s an example of how we post your vacancy for the food counter attendant position:

Job Title: Food Counter Attendant

Location: Canada

  • Job Description: We are excited to welcome a dedicated Food Counter Attendant to our bustling food establishment in Vancouver. As a food counter attendant, you will play a crucial role in ensuring seamless operations at the front lines of our dining experience. This opportunity is perfect for individuals who thrive in a fast-paced environment, have a genuine passion for customer service, and are committed to delivering outstanding service to our patrons.
  • Responsibilities:
    • Warmly greeting customers as they approach the food counter, creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere
    • Taking customer orders accurately and efficiently, ensuring clear communication to minimize errors
    • Assembling a variety of delicious dishes according to established recipes and presentation standards while also accommodating any special requests or dietary needs
    • Keeping the food counter area clean, organized, and well-stocked, maintaining a hygienic and inviting space for our guests
    • Handling cash transactions with precision and integrity, providing accurate change and processing payments promptly
    • Providing menu recommendations, highlighting daily specials, and offering a personalized touch to enhance our customers’ dining experiences
    • Collaborating seamlessly with kitchen staff to coordinate order preparation and ensure timely delivery to customers
    • Responding promptly and courteously to customer inquiries and concerns, striving to exceed their expectations with exceptional service
    • Adhering rigorously to food safety and hygiene protocols, maintaining a safe and sanitary environment for both customers and colleagues
    • Thriving under pressure during busy periods, multitasking effectively to ensure efficient service and satisfied customers
    • Upholding our food establishment’s values and contributing to the overall positive ambiance of our food counter.
  • Requirements:
    • Prior experience as a food counter attendant or in a similar customer-facing role, ideally within the food service or hospitality industry
    • Exceptional customer service skills, with a friendly and approachable demeanour that resonates with guests
    • Strong communication and teamwork abilities, fostering a collaborative environment and smooth interactions with colleagues
    • Attention to detail and organizational skills to maintain the appearance and functionality of the food counter area
    • Familiarity with handling cash transactions, displaying accuracy and honesty in financial matters
    • Knowledge of food safety and sanitation practices, ensuring the health and well-being of our customers and staff
    • Adaptability and willingness to learn about our menu items, ingredients, and preparation techniques
    • Eligibility to work in Canada and any relevant certifications or licenses required for the position

If you are a dedicated individual who thrives in a customer-focused role and is excited to contribute to the heart of our food establishment, we invite you to apply. Join our team and be an essential part of delivering exceptional dining experiences that leave a positive and lasting impression on our valued guests.

3. Resume Screening

At Hookjobs, our recruiters meticulously review the resumes of each applicant for the food counter attendant position to discover the best match for your food establishment. By filtering out candidates who don’t align with your criteria, we give preference to those with the necessary qualifications for closer consideration.

To ensure that a food counter attendant provides exceptional service to your customers, we prioritize candidates based on their relevant certifications in the food industry.

Here are some of the essential certifications food counter attendants must hold in Canada:

  • Food Handler Certification: This certification ensures that food counter attendants are knowledgeable about proper food safety and hygiene practices, including safe food handling, storage, and preparation techniques.
  • CPR and First Aid Certification: CPR and first aid training are crucial in emergencies in the food establishment, such as choking or accidents.
  • POS System Certification: Proficiency with the Point of Sale system used in the establishment, enabling efficient order processing, payment handling, and inventory management.
  • Allergen Awareness Certification: This certification demonstrates the attendant’s understanding of common food allergens, how to prevent cross-contamination, and how to provide accurate information to customers with dietary restrictions.
  • Responsible Alcohol Service Certification: If the food establishment serves alcoholic beverages, attendants may need certification in responsible alcohol service to ensure they know legal requirements and best practices for serving alcohol safely.
  • Customer Service Certification: While not a formal certification, customer service training equips attendants with the skills to provide exceptional service, handle customer inquiries, and maintain a positive dining experience.
  • Health and Safety Certification: This certification covers various topics related to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, including fire safety, workplace hazards, and emergency procedures.
  • Super Host certificate: When hiring a food counter attendant in Canada, you can consider the Super Host certificate as an additional qualification that indicates the candidate’s strong customer service skills and dedication to creating a positive experience for patrons.
  • Language Proficiency Certification: Depending on the location and customer demographic, having certification in languages commonly spoken in the area can be beneficial for effective communication with a diverse clientele.

Other important certifications for the food counter attendant candidates in different provinces of Canada are demonstrated in the following table:

In addition to the mentioned certificates, the food counter attendant candidates must possess the following qualities, which we review before hiring:

We thoroughly evaluate the food counter attendant candidates’ prior experience in the food service industry. Experienced candidates bring skills in order handling, cash transactions, and food safety. They integrate faster, contribute insights, and enhance customer interactions.

We acknowledge the role’s physical demands and focus on food counter attendant applicants who possess the stamina required to stand for extended periods and manage tasks that involve lifting and movement in a fast-paced kitchen environment.

We also check the food counter attendant candidates’ heat tolerance which is vital for comfort and safety near cooking equipment. Heat-tolerant candidates manage tasks efficiently during peak hours, ensuring a smoother workflow and a positive work environment.

We must ensure the candidates demonstrate respect for diversity and inclusivity, particularly in a restaurant setting where you have many international customers. This will, consequently, foster a welcoming atmosphere for a wide range of customers.

4. Job Interview

Once we have checked the food counter attendant candidates’ resumes, we invite them to attend a face-to-face interview with our professional recruiters, where they are asked to showcase their potential by answering certain questions pertinent to the role of food counter attendance.

We ask the candidates multiple general and technical questions during the interviews, as follows:

General Questions:

  • “Can you tell us about your experience in the food service industry?”
  • “What interests you in the food counter attendant role?”
  • “How do you handle high-pressure situations or busy shifts?”
  • “Describe a time when you went above and beyond to ensure a positive customer experience.”
  • “How do you prioritize tasks when the counter gets busy?”
  • “Tell us about a challenging interaction with a customer and how you resolved it.”
  • “How do you ensure that customers feel welcome and valued when they approach the counter?”
  • “What strategies do you use to handle customer complaints or special requests?”
  • “Can you provide an example of a time when you had to manage multiple customer orders simultaneously?”
  • “Describe a situation where you had to adapt quickly to unexpected changes during a busy shift.”
  • “How do you handle stressful situations while maintaining a positive attitude?”
  • “What strategies do you use to stay organized and manage your tasks during peak hours?”

Technical Questions:

  • “How familiar are you with food safety regulations and practices?”
  • “Can you describe the procedure you follow when handling food to prevent cross-contamination?”
  • “Have you had experience handling cash transactions?”
  • “How do you ensure accuracy when processing payments and giving change?”
  • “Are you familiar with using a point-of-sale (POS) system?”
  • “How would you handle an incorrect order from the kitchen?”
  • “Can you explain the process of taking a customer’s order and relaying it to the kitchen staff?”
  • “What do you know about allergen awareness and accommodating customers with allergies?”
  • “How do you communicate effectively with kitchen staff to ensure accurate order preparation?”
  • “Describe any experience you have working in environments with elevated temperatures.”
  • “Working near hot equipment is common in this role. How do you ensure your comfort and safety in such conditions?”
  • “What role do you believe communication plays in a fast-paced food service environment?”

5. Checking References

During the interview with the food counter attendant candidates, we request their references contacts so that we can reach out to them and ask about the candidate’s job performance and work ethic.

After reference requesting, we typically take the following steps to check the references:

  • Contacting references: We reach out to the provided references of the food counter attendant candidate via phone or email. During these interactions, our team will engage in open conversations to gather feedback on the candidate’s suitability for the food counter attendant position.
  • Position-relevant questions: Our reference check questions are carefully crafted to align with the requirements of a food counter attendant role. We focus on inquiries highlighting the candidate’s customer service skills, ability to handle busy periods, and aptitude for maintaining a clean and hygienic food service environment.
  • Work ethic and adaptability: We inquire about the candidate’s work ethic, adaptability, and ability to function effectively within a fast-paced food service setting. We also ask the references to provide us with insights into how well the candidate manages multitasking, handles customer inquiries, and collaborates with colleagues.
  • Food safety and hygiene practices: Our team also seeks input from references regarding the candidate’s knowledge of food safety regulations and their unwavering commitment to maintaining a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene while handling food items.
  • Verification of experience: We diligently verify the candidate’s work history and employment dates to ensure accuracy and consistency with their application.
  • Strengths and growth potential: We also ask the references to discuss the candidate’s strengths as a food counter attendant. Additionally, we explore areas where the candidate has shown growth potential and improvement, such as enhancing their menu knowledge, upselling techniques, or interactions with diverse customer preferences.
  • Detailed documentation: Throughout the reference check process, our team takes comprehensive notes to capture the insights and feedback the references provide. These notes will contribute to a well-rounded understanding of the candidate’s suitability for the food counter attendant role.
  • Reporting and decision support: The information gathered from the reference check will be meticulously compiled into a comprehensive report. This report will offer a comprehensive overview of the candidate’s references, their assessments, and the overall compatibility of the candidate with the food counter attendant position. This valuable resource will assist us in making informed and thoughtful hiring decisions that align with the specific demands of the role.

6. Assessing the Food Counter Attendant Candidates

After checking references, we evaluate the food counter attendant candidates’ skills in real-world scenarios. This hands-on evaluation allows us to gauge the candidates’ abilities and proficiency in a dynamic food service environment.

Here are some key areas we evaluate when hiring a food counter attendant candidates:

  • Customer interaction simulation: We have the food counter attendant candidates participate in role-playing exercises where they engage with mock customers, taking orders, addressing inquiries, and providing recommendations. This simulation helps us assess their customer service demeanour, communication skills, and their aptitude for handling various customer interactions.
  • Order handling and accuracy: We ask the applicants to seamlessly process orders, prepare food items, and coordinate with kitchen staff to ensure timely and correct order fulfillment. This assessment focuses on their attention to detail, multitasking, and order accuracy.
  • Hygiene and food safety: We evaluate the candidates’ adherence to food safety protocols and hygiene practices. This includes observing their proper hand-washing techniques, use of protective equipment, and overall commitment to maintaining a sanitary food service environment.
  • Cash handling and transaction management: We also evaluate the prospective food counter attendants on their proficiency in handling cash transactions, providing correct change, and processing payments accurately. This assessment ensures their readiness to manage financial transactions at the food counter.
  • Menu knowledge and upselling: We assess the candidates’ familiarity with the menu offerings, their ability to provide informed recommendations to customers, and their potential for upselling additional items. This evaluation underscores their product knowledge and sales skills.
  • Stress management and adaptability: Candidates are also exposed to scenarios that mimic busy periods or unexpected challenges. This assessment helps us gauge their composure under pressure, problem-solving skills, and adaptability to fast-paced situations.
  • Collaboration and teamwork: We have the food counter attendant candidates to participate in collaborative tasks that involve coordinating with colleagues and kitchen staff to fulfill orders. This evaluation examines their teamwork abilities, communication with peers, and their contribution to a smooth workflow.
  • Heat tolerance and physical stamina: Given the nature of the role, we assess the candidates’ comfort and performance while working in proximity to cooking equipment. This evaluation ensures their ability to endure the heat and maintain productivity.
  • Overall customer experience: Throughout the practical assessment, we focus on candidates’ ability to create a positive and welcoming customer experience. This includes their demeanour, communication effectiveness, and their unwavering commitment to ensuring customer satisfaction.

7. Training the Food Counter Attendants

Once we complete our evaluations, candidates can proceed to the training phase, where they will gain hands-on experience tailored to fulfill your food establishment’s specific requirements.

Our trainers at Hookjobs train the food counter attendant candidates, focusing on the following techniques:

  • Customer-centric service: Our trainers emphasize the art of delivering exceptional customer service. We, therefore, teach the food counter attendant candidates how to greet customers warmly and politely, actively listen to their preferences, and provide personalized recommendations to enhance the overall dining experience.
  • Food safety and hygiene: Our trainers emphasize a strong understanding of food safety regulations and best practices. Candidates learn proper food handling, storage, and sanitation techniques to ensure a safe and hygienic environment.
  • Upselling techniques: Candidates also develop skills to upsell additional menu items and enhancements. Our training focuses on suggestive selling approaches that add value to the customer’s order and contribute to increased sales.
  • Multitasking mastery: In a fast-paced food service environment, multitasking is key. Our training teaches the food counter attendant applicants how to manage simultaneous tasks effectively, from taking orders and preparing food to addressing customer inquiries.
  • Stress management: Our trainers guide the candidates in developing stress management techniques, enabling them to maintain composure during peak hours and navigate challenging situations with a positive attitude.
  • Cultural sensitivity: Our trainers underline the significance of cultural sensitivity, helping candidates create a welcoming atmosphere for diverse customers and ensuring respectful interactions.
  • Continuous improvement: Throughout the training process, we encourage the food counter attendant candidates to identify areas for self-improvement and professional growth. This mindset promotes ongoing development and a commitment to delivering excellence.

8. Drawing up a Contract

The final stage in our hiring process involves signing a contract with the food counter attendant candidates. By drawing up a contract, we ensure both parties (i.e., you and the food counter attendants) acknowledge the legalities of the employment procedure.

Here are some steps we consider when drawing up a contract with the food counter attendant candidates:

  • Position and responsibilities: We define the food counter attendant role for our candidates, outlining specific responsibilities such as order taking, food preparation, customer service, cash handling, and adherence to food safety standards.
  • Employment terms: We specify the type of employment (full-time or part-time) for the food counter attendant candidates and detail the duration of the contract, including start and end dates, if applicable.
  • Work schedule: We outline the expected work hours, shifts, and any flexibility required for the food counter attendant candidates, considering peak business hours and potential changes in the schedule.
  • Compensation and benefits: We detail the hourly wage or salary specifically for the food counter attendant candidates, along with payment frequency and any additional benefits such as meal allowances, uniforms, or employee discounts.
  • Probationary period: We define the duration of the probationary period specifically for the food counter attendant candidates, during which their performance will be evaluated before confirming permanent employment.
  • Code of conduct and dress code: We clearly communicate the expected behavior, professionalism, and adherence to the company’s code of conduct and dress standards for the food counter attendant candidates.
  • Training and development: We outline any training programs provided exclusively for the food counter attendant candidates to enhance their skills, ensure food safety compliance, and foster continuous improvement.
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure: We address the handling of sensitive information, customer data, and proprietary business details for the food counter attendant candidates, emphasizing confidentiality.
  • Health and safety guidelines: We include information on workplace safety practices, handling hazardous materials, and procedures for reporting incidents specifically for the food counter attendant candidates.
  • Performance expectations and evaluations: We specify performance criteria and the process for performance evaluations, including potential incentives or bonuses based on achievements tailored to the food counter attendant candidates.
  • Termination and resignation: We define conditions for contract termination by either party, notice periods, and procedures for resignations, all pertinent to the food counter attendant candidates.
  • Conflict resolution: We provide a framework for resolving conflicts, including escalation procedures and the involvement of management if necessary, addressing concerns for the food counter attendant candidates.
  • Legal compliance: We ensure the contract complies with all applicable labour laws, regulations, and employment standards in the respective province, specifically for the food counter attendant candidates.
  • Modification of contract: We clarify the process for making amendments to the contract, including any required notifications and mutual agreement related to the food counter attendant candidates.
  • Signatures and date: We include spaces for both the food counter attendant candidates and your company’s authorized signatories, along with the date of signing, ensuring mutual agreement.
  • Appendices and attachments: We attach any relevant documents, such as employee handbooks, policies, or additional agreements related to the employment of food counter attendants, providing comprehensive guidance.
  • Severability clause: We add a clause indicating that if any provision of the contract is found to be unenforceable, the remaining terms will still apply, offering clarity for the food counter attendant candidates.

Labour Laws and Regulations for Hiring a Food counter attendant in Canada

When hiring a food counter attendant in Canada, it’s essential to abide by various labour laws and regulations to ensure fair and compliant employment practices.

Below are some key aspects you should consider:

  • Employment standards:
  • Minimum wage: You must ensure the food counter attendant receives at least the minimum wage set by the province or territory.
  • Working hours: You must adhere to regulations regarding daily and weekly working hours, breaks, and rest periods for food counter attendants.
  • Overtime pay: You must also comply with rules related to overtime pay if the food counter attendant works beyond the standard hours.
  • Written contracts: While not always mandatory, having written employment contracts for food counter attendants helps establish clear terms of employment, including duties, hours, and compensation.
  • Occupational Health and Safety (OHS): Ensure that the workplace meets OHS requirements, providing a safe environment for food counter attendants. Proper training and protective measures are essential.
  • Human rights legislation: Adhere to federal and provincial human rights laws to prevent discrimination or harassment of food counter attendants based on protected characteristics.
  • Personal information protection: Protect the personal information of food counter attendants, following privacy laws and safeguarding sensitive data.
  • Payroll records: Maintain accurate payroll records for food counter attendants, documenting hours worked, wages paid, and deductions made.
  • Deductions and Contributions: Ensure correct deductions and contributions for Employment Insurance (EI) and (Canada Pension Plan) CPP are made for food counter attendants as required by law.
  • Work authorization: Confirm that food counter attendants have proper work authorization, such as a valid work permit, if applicable.
  • Rest Breaks: As outlined in labour regulations, you must provide appropriate rest breaks and meal periods for food counter attendants.
  • Uniform costs: If uniforms are required, follow regulations regarding the cost of uniforms and any potential deductions from wages for food counter attendants.
  • Display requirements: Ensure that relevant labour law posters are prominently displayed in the workplace to inform food counter attendants of their rights.
  • Notice period: Provide proper notice or pay in lieu of notice in case of termination, adhering to regulations based on the length of service for food counter attendants.
  • Harassment prevention training: In some provinces, it’s necessary to provide harassment prevention training for food counter attendants to create a respectful work environment.

What is the Average Wage for Hiring a Food Counter Attendant in Canada?

The average wage for hiring a food counter attendant in Canada can vary based on factors such as the province or territory, the specific location (urban or rural), the type of establishment (fast food, cafeteria, restaurant, etc.), the candidate’s experience, and the responsibilities associated with the role.

A food counter attendant typically earns $27,300 annually in Canada, amounting to $14 per hour. Whereas novice food counter attendants start with $24,663 per year, more experienced ones earn up to $32,663 annually.

The average wage for hiring a food counter attendant varies in different provinces of Canada, as illustrated in the following table:

Province / TerritoryMinimum Hourly Wage (General)Minimum Hourly Wage (Liquor Servers)Minimum Hourly Wage (Experienced Employees)
British Columbia$16.75$16.75$20.00
New Brunswick$14.75$14.75$18.30
Newfoundland and Labrador$14.50$14.50$20.48
Northwest Territories$15.20$16.75$25.75
Nova Scotia$14.50$14.50$17.01
Prince Edward Island$14.50$14.50$19.50
Yukon Territory$16.77$16.77$25.00

Different Types of Food Counter Attendants we Hire in Canada

We hire various types of food counter attendants to cater to different dining establishments and customer preferences in Canada.

Here are some common types of food counter attendants that we often hire:

  • Fast food counter attendant
  • Cafeteria counter attendant
  • Coffee shop counter attendant
  • Bakery counter attendant
  • Ice cream/frozen yogurt counter attendant
  • Pizza counter attendant
  • Salad bar counter attendant
  • Sandwich/sub counter attendant
  • Smoothie/juice bar counter attendant
  • Specialty food counter attendant
  • Concession stand attendant


Hiring the ideal food counter attendants for your food establishment can enhance customer satisfaction and contribute to the reputation of your business. However, finding and hiring the most experienced food counter attendants is vital, which is not a straightforward process. The presence of a reputable recruitment agency can assist you in identifying the most skilled food counter attendants. From job posting to drafting a contract with food counter applicants, Hookjobs is here to handle the responsibility of ensuring a well-organized hiring procedure for your food business.


Are food counter attendants in demand in Canada?

Yes, they are. It is estimated that by 2031, new job openings will have been created in this position.

How many hours do food counter attendants usually work in Canada?

Full-time positions typically require 8-hour shifts, while part-time roles offer flexible hours ranging from 20 to 40 per week.

Is knowledge of different cuisines required for this role?

While not always mandatory, familiarity with different cuisines and menu items can be beneficial for assisting customers and suggesting options.

What is the retirement age of the food counter attendance position?

A food counter attendant’s retirement age varies and depends largely on local laws, company policies, and individual choices. In Canada, the government pension benefits’ official retirement age is 65.

Can I hire food counter attendants from other countries?

Yes, hiring foreign food counter attendants is possible in Canada, but it involves following immigration procedures to obtain work permits or visas (such as LMIA). Regional regulations and programs may apply, so research is highly recommended.

Can I hire students as food counter attendants?

Yes, hiring students as food counter attendants is common and can offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate their studies.

Is there any age restriction for hiring food counter attendants?

Depending on provincial regulations, there may be certain age restrictions for specific tasks, such as operating certain equipment or handling certain types of food.

Do food counter attendants have to handle dietary restrictions and allergies?

Yes, some customers may have dietary restrictions or allergies, so food counter attendants should be knowledgeable about menu items and potential allergens.

Is there room for creativity in food preparation as a counter attendant?

While food counter attendants often follow established recipes, there may be opportunities for creativity in presentation and suggesting meal options to customers.

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