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Head Chef Salary

Three-fifths of Head Chefs in the United States are seasoned employees who have more than 10 years of experience in the field. Pay ranges from $25K to $60K per year, and the average comes out to $42K per year. Total cash compensation for Head Chefs runs from $25K to $60K depending on bonuses that can occasionally exceed $6K and profit sharing that can reach almost $15K. Geographic location and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. More than two-fifths enjoy medical while just under a third get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to just under a fifth. The majority of Head Chefs claim high levels of job satisfaction. There are far more male Head Chefs survey respondents than women, making up 81 percent. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$29,426 - $61,144
(Median)
$29K
$42K
$61K
MEDIAN: $41,586
10%
50%
90%

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$9.83 - $20.20
(Median)
$9
$15
$20
MEDIAN: $14.00
10%
50%
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
$29,426 - $61,144  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,987  
Profit Sharing
$511 - $15,101  
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).
)
$25,345 - $60,029  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 609
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$11$22$33
Hourly Rate
$9.83 - $20.20  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.15  
Overtime
$9.86 - $28.79  
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$22K$44K$66K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,987  
   
Commission
$2,474 - $10,056  
Profit Sharing
$511 - $15,101  
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).
)
$25,345 - $60,029  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 302

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United States (change)


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Job Description for Head Chef

Head chefs work in restaurants, cafeterias, catering companies, bakeries, and many other other places which serve food. These chefs are generally expected to specialize in the particular cuisines served by their employers in order to prepare and cook food, often with the help of other chefs, and present it in an attractive manner. In some positions, head chefs may also be responsible for creating and modifying the menu or setting prices for selections.

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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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Head Chefs might see a strong upturn in salary after transitioning into upper-level roles such as Executive Chef, a seemingly popular career choice. People currently working in the latter position report a noticeably higher median income of $53K per year. A Head Chef & Cook role is the most prevalent career advancement for Head Chefs. Paychecks for that role are $31K on average. The Executive Sous Chef position is another common transition for Head Chefs; in this role, salaries are typically at the $46K mark.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef


Head Chefs only report a few specific skills. Most notably, skills in People Management, Order Inventory, Menu Planning, and Food Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. It is often found that people who know Food Preparation are also skilled 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, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $34K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $39K. Head Chefs claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $41K. After two decades in the workforce, the average Head Chef generally earns more than ever; median pay for this group is estimated at $43K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Head Chefs, Las Vegas provides a pay rate that is 27 percent greater than the national average. Head Chefs will also find cushy salaries in New York (+24 percent), Seattle (+15 percent), Boston (+14 percent), and Portland (+9 percent). Trailing the national average by 11 percent, San Diego is the market with the smallest paychecks. Two other places where employers offer below-median salaries are Milwaukee (10 percent less) and Miami (4 percent less).

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United States (change)

Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries



National Average
$40,000



Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Order Inventory
up arrow 1%

People Management
up arrow 1%

Menu Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average
$40,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 165 votes.

Gender

Female
19 %
Male
81 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
17%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
39%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 45% dental benefits Dental: 29%
vision benefits Vision: 19% employee benefits None: 54%
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