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Head Chef Salary

With slightly less than two-thirds of Head Chefs in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience in the field, this area is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Pay ranges from $25K to $60K per year and averages out to $42K annually. In the world of Head Chefs, overall income ranges from $25K near the bottom to $60K at the top; this can include more than $6K from bonuses and more than $15K from profit sharing in exceptional cases. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Most Head Chefs like their work and job satisfaction is high. Just over two-fifths report receiving medical coverage from their employers and just under a third collect dental insurance. The vast majority of Head Chefs (81 percent) survey respondents are men. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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$29,443 - $61,098
(Median)
$29K
$42K
$61K
MEDIAN: $41,723
10%
50%
90%

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$9.81 - $20.35
(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
$29,443 - $61,098  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,967  
Profit Sharing
$511 - $15,101  
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).
)
$25,356 - $60,002  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 615
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
$9.81 - $20.35  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $5.15  
Overtime
$11.63 - $29.25  
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 - $5,967  
   
Commission
$2,449 - $10,113  
Profit Sharing
$511 - $15,101  
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).
)
$25,356 - $60,002  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 302
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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 might see a strong upturn in salary after transitioning into upper-level roles such as Executive Chef, a seemingly popular career choice. People currently working in the latter position report a noticeably higher median income of $53K per year. The most common promotion for Head Chefs is a Head Chef & Cook position, which usually brings in $31K a year. Another standard transition for Head Chefs seeking advancement is to assume an Executive Sous Chef role, where pay is often $46K.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef


Head Chefs who responded to the survey indicated only a few skills that they use on the job. Most notably, skills in Order Inventory, People Management, Menu Planning, and Food Preparation are correlated to pay that is above average. Most people skilled in Food Preparation are similarly competent in 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. The average worker who claims fewer than five years of experience earns around $34K. In contrast, however, individuals who report five to 10 years in this occupation see a much larger median of $39K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $41K in this role. As Head Chefs reach more than two decades on the job, compensation remains commensurate with experience; the average pay in this group is $44K.

Pay Difference by Location


Head Chefs will find that Las Vegas offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 26 percent. Head Chefs can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+24 percent), Seattle (+15 percent), Boston (+14 percent), and Portland (+8 percent). Milwaukee is the lowest-paying area, 10 percent south of the national average. Below-median salaries also turn up in San Diego and Miami (5 percent lower and 4 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Head Chef Salaries



National Average
$40,000



Skills That Affect Head Chef Salaries

Order Inventory
up arrow 1%

People Management
up arrow 1%

Menu Planning
up arrow 1%

National Average
$40,000

Food Preparation
up arrow 1%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 164 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: 45% dental benefits Dental: 30%
vision benefits Vision: 20% employee benefits None: 53%
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