Dietary Aide Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Dietary Aide Do?

Dietary Aides assist in the preparation of meals for patients under the guidance of a dietary manager or cook. They typically prepare food dishes, deliver them to patients, and maintain a clean work area. Dietary aides must be competent at following instructions in the preparation of meals and must follow all safety and health standards. They need to have a friendly personality and good customer service skills. A dietary aide may also wash dishes, cookware, and silverware, stock ingredients and monitor inventory, and assist in tracking expenses and menu planning.

Good communication skills, physical stamina, and a passion for healthy eating are important traits in a dietary aide. They may work in healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities, hospitals, or other healthcare environments. They also need excellent cooking skills, good communication, and should be highly organized. 

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National Average Salary

Dietary aide salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Dietary Aide is:


Dietary Aide Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great dietary aide is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1

Because of our commitment to patient and resident satisfaction, [Your Company Name] is one of the best companies to work for in the [Your Location] area. We’re searching for an experienced dietary aide to join our team and help us with our nutrition-focused dining services. The dietary aide ensures that the resident meals are properly prepared and apportioned according to the resident’s diet specifications, facility procedures, and prescribed dietary and sanitary regulations. You will be responsible for assisting the cook in the preparation of meal service to the residents and guests. You will also be responsible for the delivery of prepared food to all parts of the building as well as performing custodial duties in accordance with current regulatory standards and the established policies and procedures of the facility.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Prepare and serve well-balanced meals to residents/patients
  • Assist certain residents with eating when needed
  • Help clean dining hall and the kitchen area
  • Work closely with the registered dietician, chef, and other staff to plan menus
  • Educate patients and residents about nutrition and well-being
  • Comply with state and local food safety regulations
  • Ensure proper maintenance, safety, and functioning of all equipment

Education and experience

  • High school diploma required
  • One year of food service related experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Patience and compassion
  • Excellent communication skills 
  • Strong organization skills 
  • Ability to stand and by physically engaged while working
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Desire to learn more about healthy eating and nutrition

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience working in a fast-paced care facility 
  • Experience working with menu planning and dietary knowledge
  • Experience writing and creating menus and meal planning
  • Experience working with patients and/or residents in a food service setting

Example 2

At this time, we are seeking a Dietary Aide to join our team!


  • Prepares and/or pre-portions food (such as beverages, salads, desserts, and other items assigned by the supervisor) for regular and therapeutic diets according to the planned menu and production sheets and as directed
  • Handles food using proper food handling and food safety techniques according to established policies and procedures
  • Insures that food is served in an attractive, appetizing manner. Uses proper tasting technique to insure quality taste and palatability prior to service
  • Maintains the proper temperature of food during preparation and service. Records food temperatures according to established policy
  • Assists with the setup of the tray line. Assembles trays according to the planned menu and tray tickets, stated portion, resident food preferences, and diet order and within the established time schedules. Assists in checking trays during service for accuracy


  • Must possess, at a minimum, a 10th grade education
  • Possess the ability to make independent decisions when circumstances warrant such action
  • Be able to interpret and implement written or oral policies, procedures, and instructions
  • Possess the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide
  • Communicate effectively

Example 3

The Dietary Aide/Meal Attendant assists with meal service, dining room assistance and cleaning of the meal area as needed. The Dietary Aide/Meal Attendant will have direct contact with study volunteers and is responsible for ensuring that all meal/snack activities are performed as outlined in regards to timing and menu items served.


  • Adhere to values which center on our commitment to People, Clients, and Performance
  • As a member of staff, the employee is expected to embrace and contribute to our culture of process improvement with a focus on streamlining our processes adding value to our business and meeting client needs
  • Travel (approximately 0%) domestic and/or international
  • Verify meal counts, meal content, communicating any issues to the catering team
  • Prepare meal logs for documentation of meal times
  • Prepare study volunteer meal trays
  • Verify volunteer identity prior to meal service and serve study specific meals
  • Observe and document study volunteer meal start and completion time and verify meal consumption
  • Maintain coffee and tea access for the facility with supplies as applicable
  • Launder Dining Room Table cloths
  • General Housekeeping, set-up, and stocking for the Dining Room Area
  • Undertake other reasonably related duties as may be assigned from time to time
  • Minimal Supervision, must be able to work independently

Education and experience requirements

  • High School Diploma is preferred
  • To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions
  • Minimum of one year experience in clinical research or related food service or customer service fields is preferred
  • Strong customer service and communication skills
  • High level of professionalism
  • Interpersonal skills, organizational skills, and teamwork skills
  • Coordinate work to achieve maximum productivity and efficiency
  • Ability to work independently and in a team setting
  • Effective problem solving skills
  • Basic computer skills
  • Follows chain of command and directs problems to appropriate person
  • Complies with dress code, maintains a neat and professional appearance
  • Knowledge of emergency procedures including fire and evacuation plan
  • Flexible and available based on staffing requirements; weekends, holidays, and on call
  • Capable of handling multiple priorities in a high volume setting
  • Maintains current CPR Certifications
  • Knowledge of ICH GCP and FDA regulations is a plus but training is available

Example 4

Responsible for communicating the daily menu to all patients and taking menu orders from patients. Actively involved in the preparation and delivery of food to patients and hospital staff. Responsible for printing diet worksheets and maintaining knowledge of special diets.


  • Take patient orders via phone for processing. Provide the patient dietary restriction information, and the cook information for tray preparation
  • Prepare patient beverages, set up the patient tray according to diet specifications, and deliver trays in a timely manner
  • Maintain food and beverages at proper temperatures and rotate all products according to schedule. Record the temperature of the patient refrigerator every shift
  • Serve customers and staff in assisting with cashier duties and food preparation/cooking as needed
  • Maintain high level of sanitation in all practices as stated in federal state and local health manuals
  • Stock the diet aide work area as needed
  • Fill floor stock orders for all departments
  • Work as a team with other nutrition services staff to ensure all patient and staff needs are met and all work is complete
  • Attend all staff meetings and in-services. If a meeting is missed, contact supervisor for review of information and complete quizzes if needed
  • Perform other duties as assigned. Must be HIPAA compliant


  • One year of food service in a hospital setting preferred

Candidate Certifications to Look For

ServSafe Food Handling. This is the most common type of food handling license. The training program is required for nearly anyone who works with food. In this course, it teaches how to properly manage food and at what temperatures the food has to be stored at safely. ServSafe Alcohol and ServSafe Workplace also offer additional training to reduce risk in alcohol serving and to reduce workplace sexual harassment. However, most places won’t require this.

National Restaurant Association. This organization ensures that food managers are aware of the recent regulatory necessities for food handling in all situations. Each facility will have a person assigned to this association to keep up with the regulations. Dietary aides may be required to check-in and learn these regulations on an annual or quarterly basis.

Sample Interview Questions

  • What is your experience in the food service or healthcare industry?
  • What do you do when you encounter conflicts or difficult situations with residents or coworkers?
  • Would you mind walking us through your food safety and sanitation knowledge and practices?
  • What are the best ways to prioritize tasks and manage your time in a fast-paced environment?
  • What is an example of a time when you had to think critically in order to solve a meal service problem?
  • If residents and their families have dietary needs or preferences, how do you communicate with them?
  • Have you used meal-tracking software or electronic charts before?
  • Are there any special dietary requirements, such as allergies or religious restrictions, that you handle?
  • Is there a time when you had to adjust your plans or procedures due to unexpected circumstances?
  • Is there an example of a creative solution you developed to improve meal service or resident satisfaction?

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