Line Cook Job Description: Craft the right job posting

As a restaurant owner, you know that line cooks are the backbone of any kitchen. If you’re looking to hire, your line cook job description needs to reflect the importance of the role.

Working in a restaurant kitchen requires a unique set of skills. This guide covers what you need to know to find a great line cook for your restaurant who can keep your kitchen moving and plate incredible dishes that keep your customers wanting more. 

What does a line cook do?

First and foremost, a line cook… cooks! The kitchen line refers to the space where cooks prepare, cook, and plate dishes at individual stations. A line cook occupies their station, working under the supervision of the executive chef and chef de cuisine.

For example, one line cook might work the grill cooking proteins. Another could be dedicated to preparing salads. Larger kitchens may get even more specialized. 

Line cooks are usually distinct from prep cooks. Prep cooks prepare the food for cooking or plating before the line cook arrives. Line cooks are the middle links of the kitchen chain: they rely on prep cooks to do their jobs, which is to cook menu items and prepare food to the chef’s specifications. 

In short, line cooks ensure high-quality and timely food preparation. A line cook’s responsibilities might include:

  • Prepping their station before service
  • Cooking items for incoming orders
  • Properly plating each dish
  • Keeping their supplies stocked and the area clean
  • Assisting the sous chef and chef de cuisine with daily tasks

Being a line cook demands teamwork. It also requires a commitment to consistency—and an ability to follow instructions. The best line cooks take pride in their craft and thrive when working in fast-paced environments.

What to look for in a line cook. 

Hiring the right line cook is key to efficient operations and delivering a consistent customer experience. When building your line cook team, there are a few factors to consider:

Experience and skills

Ask yourself: Is experience a must-have? Or does your team have the capacity to train quick learners? No matter what you decide, your new hire will need to follow instructions and work quickly. 

A line cook should have solid kitchen skills. This means that candidates should be able to prepare food to the chef’s specifications, but it also means organization and ability to work as a team

If you’re hiring people with little or no experience, consider a practical skills test. Tests like these assess kitchen fundamentals like knife skills and cooking technique and will help you understand who could work well in the role.

Availability and scheduling 

Line cook positions are demanding. Specify the shifts you need covered from the start. For example, are you hiring for:

  • Full-time?
  • Just dinner service?
  • Weekends?
  • Unusual hours?

Make sure job candidates know when they’re expected to work. That will help you find people who will succeed in the role faster, and speed up the process of weeding out candidates who can’t meet your needs.

Potential for growth

Even for entry-level line cook roles, it’s a good idea to look for people who want to build a culinary career. Line cooks may aspire to roles with more authority, like ‘sous chef’ and ‘executive chef,’ as part of their career growth. These line cooks will be invested in doing good work and sticking around. 

High turnover is a big problem in restaurant kitchens. Nearly 40% of line cooks change jobs after less than one year, based on 116,862 line cook resumes in Zippia’s database. Hiring an employee with growth in mind is a good way to retain staff, especially if there’s room to promote from within.


The kitchen line is all about teamwork. When interviewing, listen for examples of how a candidate has collaborated well in team environments. A bad attitude is toxic in a high-stress kitchen, so it’s important to know if candidates can stay positive and focused.

Need more ideas about how to assess attitude? Role-playing scenarios or hypotheticals can provide insight into how candidates might react under pressure. Speaking with references can also give you more information on their on-the-job attitude.


Cooking on the line can be grueling. Candidates need to be able to stick it out through busy shifts while also maintaining a high quality of work. The right line cook will show stamina and resilience. You need to know they won’t falter partway through the shift!

Talent pipeline

Don’t just hire for an immediate opening. Think about building a database of qualified line cook candidates. Even after a hire, keep in contact with standout prospects. They may become valuable contacts or additions down the road. 

When asked, 88% of restaurant operators said they were likely to hire additional employees over the coming 6–12 months if there were qualified applicants available. Sixty-two percent of operators additionally said they would be ‘very likely’ to expand payrolls.

The demand for labor is clear. This can make attracting the right candidates difficult. Taking the time to create a talent pipeline is one way to improve your business operations over time—and make it easier to scale as needed. 

5 questions to ask in a line cook interview

You’ve turned a stack of applications into a shortlist of promising candidates. Now the interview process is your chance to do a more in-depth assessment. 

These questions will help you evaluate the candidate’s understanding of line cook duties, including preparing food, setting up stations, and assisting the executive and sous chef with their daily tasks. Here are some interview questions to consider:

1. What drew you to this position?

The average line cook age is 38 years old. They have a lot of working years still ahead of them! Asking about candidates’ motivations can reveal a lot about what they want to do with their lives. 

This is important information for you. You’ll learn if they just need a job, or have a genuine passion for the kitchen and a desire to grow. 

An ideal hire will want to build their skills and make progress. They’re likely to become a valuable team member for your small business.

2. What do you do to ensure you’re following all food safety and sanitation protocols in the kitchen?

Food safety basics, like temperature monitoring and good personal hygiene, are essential. If a candidate has kitchen experience, they should be able to explain these protocols. If not, they should be open to food safety training.

3. Describe a time you had to deal with a difficult co-worker or team situation.

Line cooks have to work well with others in tight quarters and high-pressure environments. You’ll need to know if they have the interpersonal skills to handle high stress and time-sensitive duties. 

4. Walk me through the last dinner service you worked. What happened and how did you handle it? 

Situational questions like these encourage candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of line cook responsibilities and restaurant operations. Listen for how they employed specific skills throughout the day, like communication and time management.

For a follow-up question, ask how they would cook menu items and prepare food during a dinner service.

5. What are your strengths at work? What areas are you working on?

No one is perfect—and everyone brings something different to the table. This question will help you determine if the candidate is self-aware and coachable while also helping you assess what gaps in your team the candidate could fill.

Homebase helps you manage your hiring.

When it comes time to hire and onboard new line cooks, Homebase provides all the tools restaurateurs need. Streamline the hiring process from start to finish—all in one place. 

List the line cook job and attract great candidates.

First things first: post your new job listing to get it in front of job seekers. Need help figuring out what to say? We’ve got you covered. Use one of Homebase’s pre-written job post descriptions to get you on the interviewing fast track.

That’s not all. Homebase lets you create and post jobs to multiple online job boards, including Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Google, all from the same dashboard. When candidates apply through the job boards, their applications will come to you through Homebase. No more jumping from job board to job board!

Connect with applicants.

As applications roll in, review candidate profiles and responses to customized application questions on your Homebase dashboard. Looking to meet a particular need? Filter prospects and focus your hiring efforts with just a couple of clicks. 

Once you have selected your candidate shortlist, message the applicants and schedule interviews through the Homebase dashboard. Our free interview scoring template helps keep you organized and efficient. No need to waste time tracking down phone numbers or keeping track of candidate strengths.

Onboard—like a boss.

Once you’ve made your hiring decision, onboarding becomes a breeze with Homebase’s digital document management. Use our file-sharing system to send your new hire an employee onboarding packet that includes all the documents they have to sign. 

Manage your team.

If that wasn’t enough, Homebase is also an all-in-one team management solution. That’s right—everything you need to keep your team up-to-date is all in one place. 

That means newly hired line cooks can immediately access their schedule and message managers right in from the jump. Homebase simplifies administrative work so you can concentrate on training your new hires and building your team.

Get your line cook job description out into the world.

Understanding the responsibilities and skills required for a line cook is a great first step to building your team. Look for individuals with the right attitude and passion to meet your needs and thrive in their role.

Streamline hiring with Homebase and get your new line cooks up and running. Even better—Homebase can increase your job ad visibility with boosts. Add tools for interviewing and onboarding future employees and make Homebase your all-in-one hiring solution.

Learn more about our free recruiting software here.

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