Head Chef Salary

Head Chefs in the United States with more than 10 years of experience in their profession represent nearly three in five of Head Chefs. Salaries average out to around $43K per year and spread from $25K to $61K per year. Including potential for bonuses and profit sharing — peaking near $6K and $15K, respectively — total cash payment to Head Chefs can bottom out near $25K or peak near $61K depending on individual performance. Location and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most Head Chefs report high levels of job satisfaction. The vast majority of Head Chefs (83 percent) survey respondents are men. Although slightly less than one-half have medical coverage and just under one in three have dental coverage, slightly more than half claim no health benefits at all. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
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$29,244 - $62,567
(Median)
$29K
$43K
$63K
MEDIAN: $43,255
10%
50%
90%

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$9.92 - $20.48
(Median)
$9
$15
$20
MEDIAN: $14.00
10%
50%
90%

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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
$29,244 - $62,567  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $6,068  
Profit Sharing
$800 - $15,000  
Commission
$6,250  
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).
)
$25,237 - $61,206  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 704
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
$9.92 - $20.48  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.03  
Overtime
$12.31 - $31.24  
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
$6,250  
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).
)
$25,237 - $61,206  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 343
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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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Many Head Chefs move into an Executive Chef role, and folks who currently hold that position report a much higher median income of $53K per year. Head Chefs go on to become Head Chefs & Cooks more often than anything even though median pay for the role is $31K. Head Chefs who move into an Executive Sous Chef role, another well-traveled path for those in this field, tend to find salaries of $47K.

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. Those educated in Food Preparation tend to be well versed in 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. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $34K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $39K. For Head Chefs, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $42K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $44K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,320

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

New York is home to an above-average pay rate for Head Chefs, 26 percent higher than the national average. Head Chefs will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+24 percent), Las Vegas (+22 percent), Chicago (+21 percent), and Boston (+20 percent). Sacramento is the lowest-paying area, 16 percent south of the national average. Milwaukee and Miami are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 10 percent lower and 6 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%

Order Inventory
up arrow 1%

People Management
up arrow 1%

National Average
$40,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 177 votes.

Gender

Female
17 %
Male
83 %

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: 29%
medical benefits
Vision: 20%
dental benefits
None: 53%
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