Head Chef Salary (United States)

Head Chefs in the United States are often veterans in their line of work, with just under two-thirds bringing more than 10 years of experience to the table. Salaries slide in at $38,993 annually on average but can range from $25,750 to $59,267 per year. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career duration. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits—more than half lack coverage. On the flip side, about half have medical insurance and around one third receive dental plans. In a profession dominated by men, 81 percent of Head Chefs are male. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The figures in this overview are derived from responses to the PayScale salary survey.
Head Chef Salary (?
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.
)
$29,506 - $60,322
(Median)
30K
35K
41K
50K
60K
MEDIAN: $41,138
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Head Chef Salary (?
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.
)
$9.90 - $20.06
(Median)
9
12
15
17
20
MEDIAN: $14.00
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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National Salary 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$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$29,506 - $60,322  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,791  
Profit Sharing
$507 - $10,101  
Commission
$2,474 - $10,056  
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).
)
$25,750 - $59,267  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 591
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.
)
$0$10$20$30
Hourly Rate
$9.90 - $20.06  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.00  
Overtime
$7.84 - $29.88  
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$20K$40K$60K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,791  
   
Commission
$2,474 - $10,056  
Profit Sharing
$507 - $10,101  
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).
)
$25,750 - $59,267  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 295
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Job Description for Head Chef

The Head Chef plays one of the most important roles in the restaurant industry. Head Chefs must have extensive knowledge of the food their restaurant prepares, as well as the ability to implement quality new menu items. They must also possess the managerial skills required to run a kitchen and the employees working in it.
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Head Chef Tasks
  • Train employees in cooking methods, plate presentations, portions, and cost control.
  • Manage kitchen operation including food purchases and preparation, record keeping, quality standards, and sanitation.

Common Career Paths for Head Chef

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More often than not, Head Chefs can expect a sizeable increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder. For example, top-notch roles like Executive Chef can offer an extra $13,787 annually than lower-level jobs in the same field.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef

Just a handful of professional skills are reported by Head Chefs who took the survey. Those who have experience with Menu Planning can expect to be compensated well for these skills, typically earning 8 percent more than the national average, respectively. Those educated in Food Preparation tend to be well-versed in People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Head Chefs, level of experience is overall a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation—more experience does not yield dramatically higher pay—and pay raises are largely incremental. Starting out, salaries are typically $33K, which grows to $38K after five to 10 years. Salary comes to $41K after 10 to 20 years. Wages do not stop growing after 20 years on the job but they do accelerate at a slower rate, and Head Chefs tend to earn $44K at this point in time. The majority of Head Chefs have only 10 to 20 years of practice in the field. Workers with one to 10 years make up the second biggest group followed by those with more than 20 years under their belt.

Pay Difference By Location

New York
up arrow 22%
Las Vegas
up arrow 22%
up arrow 15%
Dallas
up arrow 13%
Portland
up arrow 10%
up arrow 3%
National Average
$39,000
Buffalo
up arrow 1%
Miami
up arrow 6%
Milwaukee
up arrow 9%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
Head Chefs will find that Las Vegas offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 22 percent. Other big spenders include New York, Seattle, Dallas, and Portland, top-paying cities where Head Chefs see paychecks higher than average (+22 percent, +15 percent, +13 percent, and +10 percent). With compensation 9 percent below the national average, Milwaukee is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Workers in Miami and Buffalo earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (-6 percent and -1 percent).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries

National Average
$39,000

Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Menu Planning
up arrow 8%
Order Inventory
up arrow 2%
People Management
0%
National Average
$39,000
Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied Image
Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 156 votes.

Gender

Female
19%
female alumni
 
Male
81%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
16%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
41%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 48% dental benefits Dental: 32%
vision benefits Vision: 21% employee benefits None: 51%
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