Median pay for Fast Food Cooks in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $8.10 per hour. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by location, but the specific employer and tenure are influential factors as well. Around one in seven enjoy medical while less than one in ten get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to less than five percent. Among folks in this role, job satisfaction levels approximately match the national average. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.

$7.23 - $9.90
MEDIAN: $8.00

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National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
Hourly Rate
$7.23 - $9.90  
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $1.12  
$7.38 - $15.97  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
Profit Sharing
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
$15,080 - $21,088  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 617

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Job Description for Cook, Fast Food

A fast food cook holds an entry-level position in casual, quick-serve restaurants. Most of these establishments are part of national chains, and thus put an emphasis on consistency of output on their cooks. A fast food cook normally learn one station (including its required food preparation) and then moves to others. New fast food cooks are traditionally paired at first with more experienced cooks who gradually add more and more duties to the new cook's responsibilities. A cook at this level frequently finds that many of the processes are automated and that a variety of timers and temperature gauges take much of the judgment and guesswork out of the food-preparation process, helping the cook ensure consistent product output.


Cook, Fast Food Tasks

  • Prepare a short range of menu items in a fast-food restaurant.
  • Clean and sanitize work areas, equipment, and tools.
  • Bake, roast, fry, grill, meats, fish, and other foods.

Cook, Fast Food Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Cook, Fast Food

Many Fast Food Cooks can be found at Burger King Corporation, Sonic Drive - In, Zaxby's, Chick-Fil-A Inc, and McDonald's Corporation, firms that are at the top of the field. Fast Food Cooks seeking a sizable paycheck can earn the most at Wendy's International, Inc., where the average salary comes to $18K. Those in search of high salaries should also consider McDonald's Corporation, Whataburger Restaurants Lp., and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Corporation, top-paying firms where Fast Food Cooks rake in a $18K, $18K, or $18K, respectively.

Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Sonic Restaurants Inc at $15K, Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits at $16K, and Hardee's, where $16K is the norm.

Pay by Experience Level for Cook, Fast Food

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.

For Fast Food Cooks, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $17K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $18K. Fast Food Cooks bring in $18K after working for 10 to 20 years. Veterans who have acquired more than 20 years report a median income of $19K, which is generally higher than the pay reported by other tenure groups.

Cook, Fast Food Reviews

What is it like working as a Cook, Fast Food?

Cook, Fast Food in Saginaw:
"Great Place."
Pros: Hard work is recognized/ rewarded. Great management and good employees, great food, and clean restaurant.
Cons: Long hours, very late close time, wouldn't get out of work until 1-2 AM, lack of variety.

Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Cook, Fast Food Salaries

up arrow 9%

up arrow 5%

up arrow 4%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Rated 3 out of 5
based on 104 votes.


21 %
79 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 14%
dental benefits
Dental: 6%
medical benefits
Vision: 5%
dental benefits
None: 86%