Median pay for Prep Cooks in the United States is around $10.29 per hour. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is geographic location, followed by the specific employer and experience level. Men make up a slight majority of Prep Cooks (51 percent) who responded to the survey. Medical benefits are awarded to just under a third, and roughly one in five earn dental coverage. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$17,754 - $44,080
$18K
$25K
$44K
MEDIAN: $24,809
10%
50%
90%

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$8.35 - $13.44
$8
$10
$13
MEDIAN: $10
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$15K$30K$45K
Salary
$17,754 - $44,080  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,027  
Profit Sharing
$50.00  
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).
)
$17,545 - $29,879  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 33
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$8$16$24
Hourly Rate
$8.35 - $13.44  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $2.20  
Overtime
$9.88 - $21.74  
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$16K$32K$48K
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,027  
   
Profit Sharing
$50.00  
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).
)
$17,545 - $29,879  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 1,350

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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Job Description for Prep Cook

A prep cook works for a restaurant, caterer, or a similar food-service establishment. A prep cook works under a chef in an entry-level job that is often occupied by an individual who is also currently in culinary school. A prep cook's main tasks include performing preparatory work for the head chef. This includes such tasks as chopping vegetables, peeling potatoes, washing food items, and slicing and dicing food items needed by the head chef. In this way, the prep cook helps ensure the head chef can have prepared food items ready and at hand without needing to stop to prepare anything. A prep cook may also have the duty of preparing salads and breads, as well as salad dressings and sauces. Other responsibilities may include taking items from the freezer or refrigerator, as well as storing foods that need to be covered and properly put away. Prep cooks in general do not do dishwashing or substantial kitchen cleaning.

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Prep Cook Tasks

  • Follow standard procedures to prepare ingredients and food products.
  • Interact with customers and team courteously.
  • Maintain a hygienic environment and personal appearance.
  • Set up and break down equipment, materials, and ingredients.

Prep Cook Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Prep Cook


Known for taking on a considerable number of Prep Cooks, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants, Texas Roadhouse, Inc, Olive Garden Restaurants, and Aramark are leading firms in the industry. Prep Cooks seeking a sizable paycheck can earn the most at The Cheesecake Factory, Inc., where the average salary comes to $27K. Compass Group, Aramark Food Services, and Sodexo, Inc. are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Prep Cooks earning around $24K, $23K, or $23K at each firm, respectively.

Panera Bread Company, Crackerbarrel, and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store also rank near the bottom for pay, handing out $20K, $20K, and $21K-paychecks on average.

Pay by Experience Level for Prep Cook

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Prep Cooks — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. The average beginner in this position makes around $21K, but folks who have been around for five to 10 years see a markedly higher median salary of $23K. Prep Cooks who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $24K. Individuals who have achieved more than 20 years of experience don't seem to earn any more than people who have 10 to 20 years under their belts.

Prep Cook Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Prep Cook?

Prep Cook in Tucson:
"Along with dish, making salads and appetizers."
Pros: Employee termination is rare and the management tends not to micromanage.
Cons: Very, very dead end, low ambition atmosphere, raises are almost never given to anybody.

Prep Cook in Charlottesville:
"I do too much work for what I'm getting compensated."
Pros: I like the job, but I just don't feel like $10 per hour is enough.
Cons: Not enough pay.

Prep Cook in Albany:
"Low pay long hours."
Pros: The work was easy, but time consuming. People were friendly and I could listen to music.
Cons: The pay was horrid and the hours insane. In prep areas. And if you didn't work crazy long days you made no money. They made sure you worked 5-6 days a week even if it was only 3 hours a day when working line.

Prep Cook in Birmingham:
"Rewarding."
Pros: I love working with food and be creative. I love to see and hear the way people love your food and it makes them happy. I like my coworkers how we work together as a team.
Cons: No pay raises.. How we get paid. I hate how mangement shows favoritism. No opportunities for growth are moving up the ladder. The lack of showing to employees their thankfulness of your hardwork and loyalty.

Key Stats for Prep Cook

Gender

Female
49 %
Male
51 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 215 votes.
Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
52%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
9%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Prep Cook Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 12%

Experienced
up arrow 9%

Mid-Career
up arrow 6%

National Average
$22,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 215 votes.

Gender

Female
49 %
Male
51 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
52%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
15%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 29%
dental benefits
Dental: 20%
vision benefits
Vision: 16%
dental benefits
None: 69%
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