Head Chef Salary

Head Chefs who are practiced in their profession and carry more than 10 years of experience make up nearly three in five of Head Chefs. Pay fluctuates from $25K to $60K per year, but expected earnings average $42K per year. In the world of Head Chefs, total cash compensation can vary between $25K and $60K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $6K and $15K, respectively. Geographic location and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The vast majority (81 percent) of Head Chefs who answered the questionnaire are male. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. More than two-fifths enjoy medical while just under one in three get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to slightly less than a fifth. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$29,436 - $61,037
(Median)
$29K
$42K
$61K
MEDIAN: $41,662
10%
50%
90%

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$9.88 - $20.04
(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
$29,436 - $61,037  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,837  
Profit Sharing
$515 - $15,050  
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).
)
$25,400 - $59,775  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 605
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 - $20.04  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.88  
Overtime
$7.22 - $29.05  
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 - $5,837  
   
Commission
$2,474 - $10,056  
Profit Sharing
$515 - $15,050  
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).
)
$25,400 - $59,775  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 31 Mar 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 305

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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 who move on to become Executive Chefs may enjoy significant pay raises, as Executive Chefs get paid an average of $53K per year. The most common career progression for Head Chefs leads to becoming a Head Chef & Cook, where pay is typically $31K. However, many Head Chefs also opt to become Executive Sous Chefs, a position that pays $46K on average.

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Popular Skills for Head Chef


Survey results show that Head Chefs typically report just a few professional skills. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, People Management, Menu Planning, and Food Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. For most people, competency in Food Preparation indicates knowledge of People Management.

Pay by Experience Level for Head Chef

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


Head Chefs with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $33K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $39K. The average pay reported by folks with 10 to 20 years of experience is around $41K. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Head Chefs with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $44K.

Pay Difference by Location


Las Vegas offers some of the highest pay in the country for Head Chefs, 27 percent above the national average. Head Chefs will also find cushy salaries in New York (+27 percent), Seattle (+24 percent), Boston (+14 percent), and Chicago (+11 percent). With compensation 11 percent below the national average, San Diego is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries



National Average
$39,000



Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Order Inventory
up arrow 2%

People Management
up arrow 2%

Menu Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average
$39,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 168 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: 53%