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Head Chef Salary

The majority of Head Chefs in the United States — three in five — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $26K to $59K per year, and the median is $41K per year. In the world of Head Chefs, overall income ranges from $26K near the bottom to $59K at the top; this can include more than $5K from bonuses and more than $10K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Geography and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — a little more than half lack coverage. On the flip side, a little less than half have medical insurance and just under one in three receive dental plans. Work is enjoyable for Head Chefs, who typically claim high levels of job satisfaction. The vast majority of Head Chefs (81 percent) who took the survey are men. This report is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
$29,380 - $60,282
(Median)
29K
35K
41K
50K
60K
MEDIAN: $41,280
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

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$9.88 - $20.15
(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
$29,380 - $60,282  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,214  
Profit Sharing
$515 - $10,033  
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).
)
$25,534 - $59,150  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 592
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
$9.88 - $20.15  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.92  
Overtime
$7.70 - $29.70  
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 - $5,214  
   
Commission
$2,474 - $10,056  
Profit Sharing
$515 - $10,033  
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).
)
$25,534 - $59,150  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 295
United States (change)

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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Compensation usually increases greatly for Head Chefs who advance to upper-end positions like Executive Chef. Executive Chefs make $53K per year on average. As Head Chefs progress in their field, many go on to become Head Chefs & Cooks. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and typical pay for the role is $31K. Another common career choice for Head Chefs is to move into an Executive Sous Chef role — this promotion usually pays $46K.

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. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, People Management, Food Preparation, and Menu Planning are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Menu Planning. Most people familiar with Food Preparation also know People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef

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


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Head Chefs — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. Salaries of relatively inexperienced workers fall in the neighborhood of $33K, but folks who have racked up five to 10 years see a notably higher median of $39K. After working for 10 to 20 years, Head Chefs make a median salary of $41K. Old hands boasting more than twenty years of relevant experience report pay that is more or less commensurate with that extensive experience; average earnings for this group come out to approximately $44K.

Pay Difference by Location


For Head Chefs, Las Vegas provides a pay rate that is 26 percent greater than the national average. Head Chefs will also find cushy salaries in Seattle (+23 percent), New York (+22 percent), Portland (+10 percent), and Dallas (+9 percent). With compensation 10 percent below the national average, Milwaukee is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Not at the bottom but still paying below the median are employers in Miami and San Diego (7 percent lower and 4 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries



National Average
$39,000



Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Order Inventory
up arrow 2%

People Management
up arrow 1%

National Average
$39,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 157 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
40%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 47% dental benefits Dental: 31%
vision benefits Vision: 20% employee benefits None: 52%