Head Chef Salary

Head Chefs in the United States tend to be well-versed in their field, and three-fifths have more than 10 years of experience. Average salary is expected to be around $43K per year, but may range from $25K to $61K per year. Total cash compensation to Head Chefs bottoms out near $25K and approaches $61K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $6K from bonuses and almost $15K from profit sharing. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Men make up the vast majority of Head Chefs (83 percent) who took the survey. Some workers in this field — just over a half — are not awarded benefits. Medical coverage is reported by just under a half and dental plans are enjoyed by slightly less than a third. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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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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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. Given that the median pay is $31K, it may be surprising to find that a Head Chef & Cook is the most common role for Head Chefs to subsequently assume on their way up the ladder. Transitioning into an Executive Sous Chef role — which pays $47K — is also typical for Head Chefs, though less common by comparison.

Head Chef Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Head Chef


Just a handful of professional skills are reported by Head Chefs who took the survey. Most notably, skills in Menu Planning, People Management, Order Inventory, 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.


For Head Chefs, experience does not seem to be a major factor in determining pay. 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. Head Chefs who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $42K. Head Chefs who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $44K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $40,320

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

Head Chefs will find that New York offers an impressive pay rate, one which exceeds the national average by 26 percent. Head Chefs will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+24 percent), Las Vegas (+22 percent), Chicago (+21 percent), and Boston (+20 percent). Falling short of the national average by 16 percent, the area with the worst salaries is Sacramento. Employers also pay below the national average in Milwaukee (10 percent lower) and Miami (6 percent lower).

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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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