If you get to the Dairy Queen, you've gone too far

Giving directions is an art. Some people are great at it; some people can't direct their way out of a parking lot. In my travels across the United States, I've noticed many regional styles of direction giving. For example, Los Angeles natives use surrounding locales, such as "Take the San Diego freeway to Beverly Hills." Unfortunately, my choices at the San Diego freeway are Huntington Beach and Irvine. I have no idea where Beverly Hills fits in that scenario of options.

People on the east coast take a different approach, using numbers and directional cues. But without the ocean or a compass to guide me, I can't tell north from west. So I'm lost if they tell me to take "Exit 26a south on Paul Revere for .3 mile." Now, I always manage to get where I'm going. It just takes extra time, several wrong turns, and a lot of frustration. But when I'm lucky enough to get good directions, getting there is easy.

So how does this relate to foodservice? Job descriptions are the directions we give to our employees. And in a business with as many forks in the road as foodservice, well-written job descriptions are crucial for success. Here are the key elements of great written job descriptions:

  • A short and focused summary stating the ultimate goal of the position.
  • The dress code for the position
  • List the most important duties and responsibilities of the position, arranged in order of the financial impact on your company.
  • Experience necessary
  • Educational requirements.
  • Job description details for each of the prioritized responsibilities. For example:

    Computer Literacy And Telecommunications Expertise - Must be comfortable with all technical areas associated with back of the house efficiency. Must be able to show proficiency with direct order entry systems, fax, e-mail, telephone, voice mail, Windows 95 OS or newer, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.

  • Grade levels. Multiple levels for most positions are helpful in providing an advancement path for employees. For example:

    Pantry Cook Level 1-
    Basic training wage to start. Basic knowledge of item ingredients, preparation, and portioning. Can perform opening and closing duties. Practices proper food handling techniques.

    Pantry Cook Level 2-
    Performs all duties of Pantry Cook Level 1 with increased speed and accuracy. Prepares all appetizers, salads and desserts. Can work a 100 - 200 meal shift without loss of control or quality.

  • Signature space for you and your employee

Additional information is available in Pay Grade Scales. For a list of our customizable job descriptions, check out the Front of the House and Back of the House sections of our product catalog.

And in closing, remember, our driveway is right across from the gas station, and when you get to the old abandoned building that's kind of a funny dark red color or maybe it's purple, with the sign that says "Walter's Tires" but the T is missing from the word tires... that's not it.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Exclusive Content


Reaction to Wendy's dynamic pricing test reveals its risks

The Bottom Line: The burger chain mentioned last week that it would test the pricing strategy sometime next year. Consumers frustrated with prices reacted swiftly.


Why the Burgerim settlement exposes flaws in franchise oversight

The Bottom Line: The federal government allowed the chain’s founder to avoid major penalties by simply paying $1,000. What’s the point of regulation in the first place?


Why the Smashed Jack sparked record-smashing demand at Jack in the Box

Behind the Menu: The chain’s newest menu addition aims to break the mold on what a fast-food burger can be, and customers are buying in.