Overall employment of cooks is projected to grow 8 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Individual growth rates will vary by specialty.
People continue to eat out, buy take-out meals, or have food delivered. In response, more restaurants will open, and nontraditional food-service operations, such as those found inside grocery stores, will serve more prepared food dishes, spurring demand for cooks. Employment growth for cooks will also increase as, in an effort to lower costs, many full-service restaurants will hire lower level cooks instead of chefs and head cooks.
Overall job opportunities are expected to be good as a combination of employment growth and current workers leaving the occupation leads to a large number of job openings. Cooks with formal training will have the best job prospects.
Candidates who demonstrate eagerness and are able to do more refined tasks will have the best job opportunities at restaurant chains, upscale restaurants, and hotels. Nonetheless, those seeking full-time jobs at upscale restaurants and hotels are likely to face competition, as the number of job applicants often exceeds the number of job openings.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition