Head Chef Salary

With just under two-thirds of Head Chefs in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Head Chefs is $43K per year and can range from $25K on the lower end to $61K per year near the higher end. In the world of Head Chefs, total cash compensation can vary between $25K and $61K. Each package generally includes bonuses and profit sharing proceeds, and in exceptional cases, those amounts can reach heights of $6K and $15K, respectively. Residence and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Job satisfaction for Head Chefs is high. While slightly more than half report receiving no health benefits, a little more than half do receive medical coverage, and slightly less than a third have dental, as well. The vast majority of Head Chefs (81 percent) survey respondents are men. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$29,393 - $62,002

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$9.84 - $20.38

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$21K$42K$63K
Salary
$29,393 - $62,002  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,068  
Profit Sharing
$800 - $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).
)
$25,164 - $60,966  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 628
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$11$22$33
Hourly Rate
$9.84 - $20.38  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $4.97  
Overtime
$10.30 - $29.65  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$22K$44K$66K
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,068  
   
Commission
$2,449 - $10,113  
Profit Sharing
$800 - $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).
)
$25,164 - $60,966  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 300
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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 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


Head Chefs report a narrow range of specific 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.


Head Chefs do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. Although individuals who have less than five years' experience earn $34K on average, people with five to 10 years benefit from a notably larger average of $39K. Head Chefs who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $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


For Head Chefs, busy Houston offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 30 percent above the national average. Head Chefs will also find cushy salaries in Boston (+29 percent), Las Vegas (+25 percent), New York (+21 percent), and Seattle (+21 percent). Those in the field find the lowest salaries in Milwaukee, 10 percent below the national average. San Diego and Miami are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 6 percent lower and 5 percent lower, respectively.

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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 159 votes.

Gender

Female
19 %
Male
81 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1%
1-4 years
16%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
39%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 45% dental benefits Dental: 30%
vision benefits Vision: 21% employee benefits None: 53%
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