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Cook, Fast Food Salary

Median pay for Fast Food Cooks in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $7.86 per hour. Earnings generally vary between $7.19 per hour and $9.42. Career length is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the specific employer. Approximately one in eight receive medical and dental insurance and less than five percent get vision plans. Generally, women make up less than a third of all Fast Food Cooks who answered the questionnnaire. Most people in this profession are content with their work, and moderate levels of job satisfaction are reported. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$7.19 - $9.42
MEDIAN: $7.00

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National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
Hourly Rate
$7.19 - $9.42  
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $1.59  
$1.49 - $15.42  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
$0.00 - $194.89  
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).
$14,969 - $20,383  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 450

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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

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

Cook, Fast Food Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Cook, Fast Food

Well-known firms with a reputation for hiring numerous Fast Food Cooks include McDonald's Restaurants Ltd., Burger King Corporation, McDonald's Corporation, Sonic Drive - In, and Zaxby's. Although salaries only range from $15K to just $19K, Sonic Drive - In still offers the highest pay with a median paycheck of $17K.

Salaries are easily beat at Burger King Corporation, where median pay comes to just $16K, the lowest in the field. What's more, with base pay starting at $15K and ending at $17K, range in salary is rather small.

Pay by Experience Level for Cook, Fast Food

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

For many Fast Food Cooks, extensive experience does not lead to significantly more money. The median compensation for relatively untried workers is $16K; in the five-to-10 year group, it's higher at around $17K. Fast Food Cooks with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $17K. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; a Fast Food Cook with more than 20 years of experience can earn $19K on average.

United States (change)

Experience Affects Cook, Fast Food Salaries

up arrow 14%

up arrow 6%

up arrow 3%

National Average

Job Satisfaction

Rated 3 out of 5
based on 79 votes.


24 %
76 %

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: 12% dental benefits Dental: 7%
vision benefits Vision: 5% employee benefits None: 88%