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Restaurant Cook: Salary

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Salary Outlook

Restaurant cooks make surprisingly low salaries. The median salary in 2012 was $22,030, while those in the top-10 percentile earned $31,630. The lowest-paid earned approximately $16,920. Head cooks and chefs earned more in a year: The highest-paid took home approximately $74,120 in 2012. And it’s no surprise that the cooks who earn the largest paychecks work in epicurean hubs like Philadelphia and Napa, Calif.

Job Salary Year
2004 $20,120.00
2006 $20,910.00
2008 $22,640.00
2010 $23,140.00
2012 $23,300.00

Average Restaurant Cook Pay vs. All Social Services Jobs

A restaurant cook’s salary is somewhat low. In 2012, their average salary was $23,300, according to the BLS. Meanwhile, chefs and head cooks made an average salary of $46,570. Other workers in the social services industry, like elementary school teachers, made more money in 2012. Cooks usually make salaries comparable with bartenders, who also work in food services, and they make more money than waiters and waitresses.

Job Name Salary
Elementary School Teacher $53,400.00
Maintenance and Repair Worker $35,210.00
Hairdresser $22,700.00
Restaurant Cook $22,030.00

Best Paying Cities for Restaurant Cooks

The highest paid in the restaurant cook profession work in the metropolitan areas of Norwich, Conn., Salinas, Calif., and Anchorage, Alaska. The Napa, Calif. area also pays well, as does the city of Philadelphia.

Norwich, Conn.

Average Salary: $30,090 | See Job Openings

The annual median wage of a restaurant cook working in Norwich, Conn. is $30,090, which is $8,060 more than the average pay in the profession.

Salinas, Calif.

Average Salary: $30,050 | See Job Openings

The annual median wage of a restaurant cook working in Salinas, Calif. is $30,050, which is $8,020 more than the average pay in the profession.

Anchorage, Alaska

Average Salary: $29,700 | See Job Openings

The annual median wage of a restaurant cook working in Anchorage, Alaska is $29,700, which is $7,670 more than the average pay in the profession.

Napa, Calif.

Average Salary: $29,330 | See Job Openings

The annual median wage of a restaurant cook working in Napa, Calif. is $29,330, which is $7,300 more than the average pay in the profession.

Philadelphia

Average Salary: $29,050 | See Job Openings

The annual median wage of a restaurant cook working in Philadelphia is $29,050, which is $7,020 more than the average pay in the profession.

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Last updated by Jada A. Graves.

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