Head Chef Salary (United States)

Head Chefs in the United States are often veterans in their line of work, with about 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. Cash earnings—which sometimes include up to $5,791 from bonuses and more than $10,101 from profit sharing—stretch from around $29,506 to approximately $60,322. Geography and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. While more than half report receiving no health benefits, 51 percent do receive medical coverage, and about a third have dental, as well. Men make up the vast majority of Head Chefs (81 percent). Most Head Chefs report high levels of job satisfaction. This outline is based on answers to PayScale's 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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Head Chefs usually experience a big boost in pay as they move up the career ladder. An upper-level role like Executive Chef may bring in a lot more money—an additional $13,787 annually.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef

Survey takers who work as Head Chefs typically report just a few professional skills. Menu Planning is considered a valuable skill and can increase employee pay by 8 percent. Most people skilled in Food Preparation are similarly competent in People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For many Head Chefs, experience and pay seem to be weakly connected; experience does not necessarily lead to more money. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $33K; however, pay rises to approximately $38K after five to 10 years. After 10 to 20 years, compensation comes in at $41K. After a couple decades on the job, Head Chefs see only modest salary growth, with pay averaging $44K. The largest number of Head Chefs have 10 to 20 years of experience, followed by those with one to 10 years. Workers who have been working for more than 20 years are the least common.

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. New York, Seattle, Dallas, and Portland are a few other cities that offer generous salaries, with Head Chefs earning around 22 percent, 15 percent, 13 percent, and 10 percent more than average. Milwaukee is the lowest-paying area, 9 percent south of the national average. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Miami and Buffalo (-6 percent and -1 percent, respectively).

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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