The lunch lady is a term used in Canada and the United States to refer to a woman who cooks and serves food in a school cafeteria. In the United Kingdom, this role is known as a dinner lady. The job title can also be referred to as the lady of the cafeteria. No formal education is necessary to work as a lunch assistant, but certifications such as a safe food handling certification can help an individual get a raise or promotion.
A school meal assistant, commonly called a waitress, prepares and serves food to students in public and private elementary and secondary schools, as well as in university cafeterias. Coffee shop workers serve breakfast and lunch to school-age children during the school year and sometimes during the summer, when federal programs fund meals for children from economically disadvantaged families. In addition to cooking and serving food, lunch ladies may also patrol school playgrounds during meal breaks to help maintain order. The professional name for a lunch lady can vary depending on the region.
Common titles include cafeteria lady, dinner lady, cafeteria assistant, food service worker, lunch assistant, school chef, and school cook. When it comes to children's meals, they may not be aware of the long-term repercussions of their food choices (health, planet, animals, etc.). Analyzing salary data from a state's 25th percentile can provide a better estimate of the average salary of a school waitress.