For Prep Cooks, hourly average wages total $10.24 per hour. Location is the main element affecting pay for this group — the specific employer and tenure are driving factors as well. For the most part, Prep Cooks enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Just under one in three enjoy medical while roughly one in five get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to around a sixth. Women are just slightly outnumbered, with male Prep Cooks making up 51 percent of survey respondents. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$17,797 - $44,985
(Median)
$18K
$25K
$45K
MEDIAN: $24,630
10%
50%
90%

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$8.33 - $13.34
(Median)
$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
$17,797 - $44,985  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $2,013  
Profit Sharing
$200.00  
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).
)
$17,493 - $29,795  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 34
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
$8.33 - $13.34  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $2.39  
Overtime
$9.70 - $21.72  
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 - $2,013  
   
Profit Sharing
$200.00  
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).
)
$17,493 - $29,795  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 1,292
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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

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

Prep Cook Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Prep Cook


Leading companies who hire large numbers of Prep Cooks include Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants, Olive Garden Restaurants, Texas Roadhouse, Inc, and Aramark. Prep Cooks flock to The Cheesecake Factory, Inc. for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $27K lead the pack in compensation. Other leaders in compensation levels are Aramark Food Services at $23K, Compass Group at $23K, and Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants, where Prep Cooks annually earn $23K.

Also sliding in at the lower end of the scale are Panera Bread Company ($20K), Crackerbarrel ($20K), and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ($21K).

Pay by Experience Level for Prep Cook

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


For Prep Cooks, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Those in the early stages of their career can expect to make around $21K; however, individuals with five to 10 years of experience bring in $23K on average — a distinctly larger sum. Prep Cooks with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $24K. Prep Cooks with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $25K.

Prep Cook Reviews

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 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.

What is it like working as a Prep Cook at Chili's Grill & Bar?

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.

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Experience Affects Prep Cook Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 14%

Experienced
up arrow 10%

Mid-Career
up arrow 6%

National Average
$22,000


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 199 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: 28%
dental benefits
Dental: 20%
medical benefits
Vision: 16%
dental benefits
None: 70%
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