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in Ellensburg, WA

$22 per hour
Full-time, Part-time
About this job
Job Summary

Central Washington University is recruiting a Panda Kitchen Lead (Food Service Worker Lead) to join our Panda Express team in Ellensburg, Washington. Grow your career in the dynamic world of College and University Dining, and support the campus community through food. In addition to promotion and growth opportunities, CWU offers incredible benefits, including 8 credits in tuition waivers each quarter for employees and 50% off for dependents, generous paid time, and retirement matching. We're offering a salary, depending on experience, from $34,680 - $45,852 annnually plus the awesome CWU benefits.

Who we are:

We are a team of individuals committed to Changing Students' Lives. No matter what job, each of us plays a part in supporting and empowering our students to fulfill their dreams.

Working in higher education provides career growth and career choice. Think of a university campus like a mini city, operating across 380 acres. You'll find diverse academics, libraries, athletics and sporting events, full service and quick serve dining, conferences and events from small to large, recreation centers, housing for ~10,000 students, health services, police and public safety.

For the seventh time in eight years, CWU is a recipient of the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Come join us on our journey to encourage, inspire, and create spaces where all identities thrive on campus.

Tour our campus in Ellensburg here: .

What we offer:

Our investment in you begins the day you join our team, a healthy and successful future for you is important to us. We offer medical, dental, life and disability insurance, retirement and optional savings plans, tuition assistance for you and your dependents, discounts across town, an employee assistance program for individualized counseling, and a wellness incentive program. Learn more: .

The Role:

A shift lead leads the work of others. This position is directly involved in leading, directing and training the staff including student food workers and on-call staff. This position ensures professional food and beverage preparation, leads food production, and helps prep for next day's meals, ensures proper food storage practices are taken, and maintains a sanitary work environment. All employees are expected to support CWU's commitment to diversity and to bring and support inclusion into the university environment.

The Shift Lead is responsible for preparing all dishes and beverages according to recipes and standards, with accountability for:

  • Ensuring recipes compliance, execution, and food safety practices
  • Preparing all dishes to meet company standards for flavor, color, and aroma
  • Guiding Kitchen Help and assisting with their training
  • Performing all Back of House (BOH) and Front of House (FOH) responsibilities

The shift lead can be assigned to various locations across campus including:

  • Panda Shift Lead
  • The Village Shift Lead
  • Northside Cafe Shift Lead
  • Cafe and Market Shift Lead
  • Central Marketplace Shift Lead
  • Catering Production Shift Lead
  • Central Production Shift Lead
Job Duties

- Ensures the successful and timely execution of the menu and culinary direction provided by the Campus Executive Chef.
- Prepares menu selections for customers according to established production standards and specific recipes.
- Supervises student staff.
- Regularly assigns tasks, instructs and checks work of student employees and temporary employees.
- Assigns and checks work and provides training. May provide feedback to supervisor to assist with work assignments and job performance.
- Properly sets up and uses equipment for production. Cleans and sanitizes equipment once production is completed.
- Reads, interprets and follows standardized recipes. Adjusts weights and measurement of ingredients to match quantity produced. Stages necessary ingredients for production.
- Reads, interprets and follows production guidelines produced by the menu management software system (Computrition). Looks up and prints recipes as needed. Fills out all production guides for assigned shift. Makes sure all amounts prepared, consumed and leftovers are imputed on appropriate lines.
- Answers questions on recipes interpretations and explains established kitchen/production procedures.
- Monitors customer counts and consumption of food items during service hours.
- Ensures the availability of fresh and properly garnished products for customer selection at all times. Decides on alternative menu selection if production requires additional food items.
- Visually inspects and tastes food products before and during meals to ensure quality.
- Adjust recipes to volume of demand.
- Ensures food products are properly garnished and merchandised at all times.
- Uses mixers, ovens, choppers, steamers, grills (gas and electric), broiler, fryers and warmers.
- Supports department mission of serving exceptional food to the campus community.
- Interprets and explains established kitchen and production procedures. Initiates needed corrections on recipes and production guides.
- Makes sure each employee is fully trained on each piece of equipment used in the kitchen. Sets up equipment as necessary.
- Ensures the performance of duties such as racking frozen products for proper tempering, cleaning work areas and preparing food for the next shift or next day.
- Makes sure production is within reasonable limits to keep leftovers to a minimum.
- Ensure leftover food production are properly packaged, labeled, stored and incorporated into menus to eliminate food waste and extended storage.
- Ensure a safe work environment. Report safety hazards immediately.
- Coordinates preparation of special dietary meal needs.
- Ensures correct serving and portion sizes are served and monitored.
- Advises of specific need for non-menu items not ordered through Computrition. Record inventory on monthly reports. Assist in rotating products in storage areas.
- Assist with inventory as assigned by the Unit Manager.

- Participates in the physical counting in storage locations. Straightens up storage area, mark cases, boxes, and bags for efficient inventory.
- Assist with transporting daily food orders to proper storage location after delivery from the warehouse or vendors as needed.
- Orders needed items on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis.
- Has a general understanding of nutritional values and allergy awareness.
- Performs more detailed cleaning of work area during non-operational time.
- Leading, directing and training the culinary staff including student food workers and on-call staff.
- Open/close processes for applicable shift.
- Operate cash registers and prepare applicable financial reports.
- Operate point of sale system, keying in sales, taking payments and making change, account for receipts at the end of the work shift.
- Receive customer orders, answering questions about ingredients, recipes, and pricing.
- Gather, assemble, package, and serve menu items to customer order.

Other Functions
- Assists in working and setting up for special events on or off campus as needed.
- Supervises student employees in the absence of the Service Supervisor.
- Report safety issues and equipment malfunctions to the supervisor.

- Perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications
  • Ability to cook foods from scratch using a variety of cooking techniques.
  • Knowledge of operation, production, and kitchen equipment.
  • Demonstrated willingness and/or experience working with students and/or co-workers from a wide range of abilities, backgrounds and experiences.
  • OR equivalent combination of experience and/or training which demonstrates the ability to perform the essential functions of the position.
  • Special conditions of employment:
    • Must have or be able to obtain a WA. State Food Handlers permit within 30 days of initial hire date.
  • Must be able to obtain SERVSAFE Certification within 6 months of initial hire date.
  • Must be able to pass Panda Certification within 6 months of initial hire date if assigned to Panda.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience cooking and leading other staff in a large-scale food service operation or front of house customer service operation.
  • Food production experience within a university or hospitality driven environment.
  • Experience with Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Demonstrated participation in programs designed to promote inclusion.
  • A record of promoting inclusivity in the work environment.


  • Accountability/Dependability: Accepts responsibility for quality of own work; acknowledges and corrects mistakes. Shows up on time, meets standards, deadlines and work schedules.
  • Judgement: Makes timely, informed decisions. Analyzes options and determines appropriate course of action.
  • Teamwork: Promotes cooperation and mutual support to achieve goals. Encourages participation and mutual support.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility: Responds positively to changing business needs and responsibilities. Adapts approach and methods to achieve results; recovers quickly from setbacks and finds alternatives.
  • Commitment to Diversity: Recognizes the value of diversity and helps create environment that supports and embraces diversity.

Don't meet every single requirement? At CWU we're dedicated to building a diverse, inclusive, and authentic workplace, so if you're excited about this role but your experience doesn't align perfectly with every requirement, we encourage you to apply anyway. This may be the job for you!

Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule

Salary: $2,890 /month with periodic increases up to $3,821 /month

Schedule/Appointment: Dependant on department needs / WFSE Bargaining Unit 1 / 10.5 month cyclic appointment

Working Conditions: Work is performed primarily indoors, at times in hot/cold/noisy/wet areas with some exposure to hazardous equipment and products. Working in temperatures from 0 degrees (freezer) to 350+ degrees (around cooking equipment) is common. Work requires walking and standing (often in a stationary position) for the majority of each shift. Bending/climbing/carrying/pulling/pushing/lifting associated with loading/unloading of supplies and preparation, plating and serving of food is required. Occasional overtime is required, and shift work may be required. Additional physical requirements of the position include: Pushing utility carts, and hand carts with up to 150 lbs. of supplies around to various work stations; correctly lifting 35lbs. individually from the floor or shelf locations to heights of 48" so products can be poured into smaller containers or put on work tables. Dining Service's mission is to provide exceptional food services to the campus community. All staff are expected to work in support of this mission in every function they perform. All staff are expected to work in support of the department's continuous quality improvement program, so service and products are properly handled, prepared, garnished/merchandised, and served to our customers. There is some exposure to hazardous equipment and products found in kitchen environments. Work will be in a kitchen or restaurant setting. Work requires the ability to use both hands for production work. Staff members are hired with the understanding that they may be scheduled to work throughout the week including nights, weekends and holidays.

Benefits: CWU offers a comprehensive benefits package including medical and dental insurance, retirement and optional savings plans, life and disability insurance, along with vacation and sick leave plans depending on employment classification. For additional information please visit:

An employee of CWU may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program if the employee has student loans. To learn more, visit: .

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