Head Chef Salary

Head Chefs in the United States tend to have a good amount of experience under their belt — slightly less than two-thirds have more than 10 years in the field. While pay runs from $25K to $61K per year, median earnings come to $42K annually. Total cash earnings of Head Chefs range from $25K on the low end to $61K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $6K and $15K, respectively. Residence is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Slightly more than half of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, just under one-half report medical coverage and just under one in three claim dental coverage as well. The majority of Head Chefs claim high levels of job satisfaction. The vast majority of Head Chefs (81 percent) survey respondents are men. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
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$29,342 - $61,926
(Median)
$29K
$42K
$62K
MEDIAN: $42,338
10%
50%
90%

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$9.88 - $20.51
(Median)
$9
$15
$21
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
$29,342 - $61,926  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,112  
Profit Sharing
$550 - $15,000  
Commission
$2,449 - $10,113  
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).
)
$25,226 - $60,899  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 624
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
$9.88 - $20.51  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.00  
Overtime
$10.30 - $29.49  
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 - $6,112  
   
Commission
$2,449 - $10,113  
Profit Sharing
$550 - $15,000  
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).
)
$25,226 - $60,899  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 298
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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 often transition into Executive Chef positions, for which compensation tends to be much higher. On average, Executive Chefs earn $53K per year. Becoming a Head Chef & Cook is, more often than not, the most common role that Head Chefs move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. A median salary for a Head Chef & Cook is $31K. Another frequent advance is for Head Chefs to assume an Executive Sous Chef role; in this role, workers often take home $46K.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef


Typical Head Chefs report a focused set of job skills. Most notably, skills in Menu Planning, People Management, Order Inventory, and Food Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. The majority of those who know 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.


For Head Chefs, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $34K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $39K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Head Chefs with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $41K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $44K.

Pay Difference by Location


Houston offers some of the highest pay in the country for Head Chefs, 30 percent above the national average. Head Chefs can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Boston (+30 percent), Las Vegas (+25 percent), New York (+23 percent), and Seattle (+20 percent). Milwaukee ranks last in the field for pay, reporting salaries 11 percent below the national average. Employers pay around 6 percent less in San Diego and 5 percent less in Miami, below-median salaries for those in this field.

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Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries



National Average
$40,000



Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Menu Planning
up arrow 3%

People Management
up arrow 2%

Order Inventory
up arrow 1%

National Average
$40,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 160 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
38%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 46% dental benefits Dental: 30%
vision benefits Vision: 21% employee benefits None: 53%
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