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Head Chef Salary (United States)

With slightly less than 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 $41K per year and can range from $26K on the lower end to $59K per year near the higher end. In the world of Head Chefs, overall income ranges from $26K near the bottom to $59K at the top; this can include more than $6K from bonuses and more than $10K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Residence and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. While some workers in this profession — close to one-half — do not have any health coverage, half do receive medical benefits and nearly one-third have dental insurance. The vast majority of Head Chefs (81 percent) are men. Job satisfaction for Head Chefs is high. This overview is derived from replies 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  
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  
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' salaries can rise greatly for those who assume a higher-end position such as an Executive Chef. Executive Chefs usually get paid $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.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef

Head Chefs report a narrow range of specific skills. Most notably, skills in Menu Planning, Order Inventory, People Management, 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.
Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $33K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $38K. Head Chefs with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $41K. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; a Head Chef with more than 20 years of experience can earn $44K on average. The majority of Head Chefs have only 10 to 20 years of practice in the field. Workers with one to 10 years make up the second biggest group followed by those with more than 20 years under their belt.

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.
Las Vegas offers some of the highest pay in the country for Head Chefs, 22 percent above the national average. Also paying near the top of the field are New York, Seattle, Dallas, and Portland, where Head Chefs annually earn 22 percent, 15 percent, 13 percent, and 10 percent more than the national average. Milwaukee is the lowest-paying area, 9 percent south of the national average. Below-median salaries also turn up in Miami and Buffalo (6 percent lower and 1 percent lower, respectively).

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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%