Cook, Fast Food Salary

The average Fast Food Cook in the United States can expect to rake in roughly $7.85 per hour. Earnings generally vary between $7.18 per hour and $9.46. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by the specific employer. Approximately one in eight report receiving medical coverage from their employers and fewer than one in ten collect dental insurance. Making up 76 percent of those who took the survey, male Fast Food Cooks greatly outnumber their female counterparts. Job satisfaction is considered about average by most people in this profession. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.

$7.18 - $9.46
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
$7.18 - $9.46  
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $2.75  
$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 - $200.33  
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).
$14,965 - $20,436  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 439

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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

Fast Food Cooks flock to McDonald's Restaurants Ltd., Burger King Corporation, McDonald's Corporation, Sonic Drive - In, and Zaxby's, highly regarded companies that employ a generous number of people in this profession. Fast Food Cooks in search of the best pay head to Sonic Drive - In, where the median salary rolls in at $17K. Although pay is top-notch overall, it does seem to be curbed at $19K, which isn't dramatically higher than the lower-end figure of $15K.

The lowest salaries can be found at Burger King Corporation — median pay is $16K — and there is little variation in compensation, with paychecks starting at $15K and only reaching $17K.

Pay by Experience Level for Cook, Fast Food

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

Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Relatively untried employees who have fewer than five years of experience earn around $16K on average. People who have worked for five to 10 years can expect a higher median salary of $17K. Fast Food Cooks who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $17K. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Fast Food Cooks with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $19K.

United States (change)

Experience Affects Cook, Fast Food Salaries

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up arrow 3%

National Average

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Job Satisfaction

Rated 3 out of 5
based on 80 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: 87%