What are typical meat cutter salaries?

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Host

Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

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scott in Boston, Massachusetts

73 months ago

?

I was a meatcutter/manager almost 30 years. Most chains pay 18-20 an hour. Wholefoods pays the most 18-22 cutter
and 19-30 for manager plus bennies. All and all it is a dying occupation, don,t waste your life.

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Larry C in Cleveland, Tennessee

72 months ago

melissa Mc Dannold in Westminster, California said: have you found a job yet i'm looking for a meat manager position. I'm now a meat manager at Albertsons in CA .I'm looing in TN

I am in TN. I have over 9 yrs experience. Are you still looking?

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Jeff in Victor, Idaho

65 months ago

In this area of Idaho journeyman meat cutters earn $16.00 +/-. In parts of Utah $18.00 to $21.00. The Utah figures are earnings before the current economy.

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Gary Noble in Livermore, California

65 months ago

scott in Boston, Massachusetts said: ?

I was a meatcutter/manager almost 30 years. Most chains pay 18-20 an hour. Wholefoods pays the most 18-22 cutter
and 19-30 for manager plus bennies. All and all it is a dying occupation, don,t waste your life.

yep I agree it is a dying breed. No one knows how to breakdown anything any more so you really don't need any skills. except to cut a steak chop or roast.

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Dave Touron in Ogdensburg, New York

64 months ago

It is a dying art, but as a second job it has worked out great for me. I started in this business 38 years ago, got out, but have worked at it as a second job for the past few years. Extra money to put away for retirement and for helping the kids out with college. Plan on keeping at it in retirement a couple days a week after relocating to NC or TN. Nobody breaks beef anymore, so it doesn't compare to what we did "back in the day".

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Dave Touron in Ogdensburg, New York

64 months ago

John in Dover, New Hampshire said: I just got a job as a meat cleark and they started me at 9.25

Tell the store manager you want a apprentice position if and when it comes available, and check his reaction. If he is agreeable, keep it up every two weeks or so. Check with other stores in your area, see if you can hook up with a chain who will train you. They are always looking for young stock they can train and mold into corporate robots.

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TONY IN WEST BRANCH MICHIGAN in Bridgeport, Michigan

64 months ago

HAVE A FULL SERVICE MEAT AND DELI COUNTER IN A SMALL BUT VERY BUSY TOWN LOOKING FOR A MEAT MANEGER TO HANDEL ALL ASPECTS OF THE DEPARTMENT. MUST HAVE AT LEAST FIVE YEARS EXPERIENCE. ITS A WELL ESTABLISHED BUSINESS OF 24 PLUS YEARS.

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Ray in Santa Cruz, California

63 months ago

I have over 25 years of experience with service and self service shops including some deli, purchasing, management, inventory control and human resources experience. I'm currently work out of the Union Hall after the store I was working for sold in 2004. I live in Santa Cruz county California and would like to sign on with a company such as whole foods that is opening two new stores in my area or a busy independent store. I'm open for suggestions and offers. Please contact me if you are interested of know of anthing that might work for all concerned.
Thanks in advance,
Ray

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Jeff in Driggs, Wyoming

49 months ago

Murry Rutledge in George Town, Cayman Islands said: I am a meat manager at Fosters Food Fair and have to leave the island do to a 7year roll over law. Most of my career was managing Safeways in midwest part of the states

I will take your place let me know who to contact.
Thanks,
Jeff

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RICK LANEY in LOS ANGELES, California

47 months ago

X TRUCKER LOOKING FOR A NEW START....ON GETTING IN AN MEAT CUTTERS APPRENTICE PROGRAM....HELP

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Jim Chapin in Bad Axe, Michigan

45 months ago

I have over 25 years experience in butcher experience as well as sausage making and smoking meat. I have closed my own business in a small town due to the economy, would love to move to northern MI. anyone looking up there for an experienced meat cutter?

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Greg "Village Butcher Shoppe" in Milford, Michigan

44 months ago

Jim Chapin in Bad Axe, Michigan said: I have over 25 years experience in butcher experience as well as sausage making and smoking meat. I have closed my own business in a small town due to the economy, would love to move to northern MI. anyone looking up there for an experienced meat cutter?

We are a full service meat deli market. We sell fresh meat, make a ton of sausage, smoke hams when in season
and service many of the restaurants in town. We are currently looking for a meat cutter.

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yooper jp in Jackson, Michigan

44 months ago

I've been a Meat Cutter for some 31 yrs and agree the occupation has changed a lot. I wish I'd have chosen something else but I didn't so I'm hanging on. I have one question though... If meat cutting is not a skill anymore and it is so easy, why are there so many "hacks" and "rough cutters" out there? I see way to many "door stops" and "miscuts" still!

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Dylan in Jacksonville, Florida

42 months ago

In stores yes it is dying, but if you live where people hunt, learn 2 cut those types of animals becuase you can make a killing from rich people that dont want 2 get blood on there hands. In New Hamphire i started out @ $13 n a guy was making $20 n he wasnt the manager, managers make more but usually dont even cut!

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Retired in Modesto, California

41 months ago

I started out in 1965 in Los Angeles. Apprentice made about $2 an hour then to start. When I retired 3 years ago, as cutting room manager, I was making a straight salary of about $80,000 a year, plus a percentage, and only 3 weeks vacation a year. That is VERY unusual and hard to find. It was with a independent service counter store where your income was based upon your ability to sell to the customer. Some people could only sell a chicken or two. Some people could talk a customer into a whole side of beef. The shop had a profit sharing agreement with the workers. Some got a little of the profit, others got a big chunk. But the draw back was, no union, no health care, and no apprenticeship program, and hard work in a cold room. We had swinging beef which is heavy and can be difficult to manage. Most places now have rough cut packaged beef. That shows the difference between a meat cutter and a butcher.
Would I do it again. NO. The cold has given me arthritis, especially in my feet and hands. Cold concrete floors with street shoes can be torture later in life. And I've seen many people lose a finger or two, or a whole hand, from being careless.

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Enrique Guzman in Sylmar, California

41 months ago

Im looking job has meat supervisor or meat buyer, Im open to travel, with 27 years experience, please email me to enriqueguzman38@hotmail.com

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Dalthyrian in Weymouth, Massachusetts

40 months ago

I started out at 6 bucks an hour in a grocery mart - working often in the Deli/Meat Shop section handing out steaks to people. 3 years there gave me a good familiarity with normal cuts, so when I left there I went to work at a small meat shop inside a 'natural' grocery store. They started me at 11/hr, and after 3 years I was making 700/wk salary. I took a hiatus from that for a year and a half and then went back when the old boss asked me to come back for 800/wk. After a little while I capped out at 900/wk, or 46.8k/yr. I left there after another 3 years and went where I am now. The store I'm at is more like a factory - only getting paid 16/hr but it's good hard work and they don't harp on me too much about my need to make the cuts "quality" and not doorstops or dusty or anything. Even though the rest of the crew are mere people who cut meat, I'm the only one there I consider at "Meat Cutter".

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jimhenry2000 in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania

40 months ago

Host said: Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

I agree with the comment posted about looking for another job. I was a journeyman meatcutter and a meat manager (Chief Journeyman) in a union shop for over 20 years in the Phila. area, working in retail supermarkets. I did this from 1968 to 1993. When I changed careers I was making about $19/hour plus time and a half on Sundays in the early 90s. I earned about $45k/yr. I changed careers and now I make 3 times that, and I no longer work weekends. If I was still in the meat field I would be making perhaps $55k-$60k and this is in a union shop. It's not the job it used to be back in the 70s when we got triple time for Sundays, 2 1/2 time for Saturday nights, double time for holidays and 1 1/2 time for evenings. Each contract got progressively worse. Nobody's fault, it's just business. Retailers just trying to complete with non-union shops and unions just trying to save what they can for the members. The lesson I learned, that I wish I learned 20 years earlier, is work in an industry and for a company that has a high profit margin, not the supermarket business that has cutthroat competition and works on 1% net margins. My job as a meat manager was both more physically and mentally challenging than my current career as a network engineer, but the money just wasn't there to compensate me fairly.
Jim

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apcowboy in Dalton, Georgia

38 months ago

All you meat cutters come check out the MEATCUTTERSCLUB at sites.google.com/site/meatcuttersclub/
A Club for Meat Cutters around the world !!

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PATRICK

29 months ago

RICK LANEY in LOS ANGELES, California said: X TRUCKER LOOKING FOR A NEW START....ON GETTING IN AN MEAT CUTTERS APPRENTICE PROGRAM....HELP

I am a x meat cutter(27 years) who got into the trucking business asphalt dump bought my own truck and dump trailer hate I did it. Trucking is just as bad as meat cutting. Meat cutting is dying field no one know how to cut swing beef any more. Meat is already cut before it get to the stores, they call this process central cutting where all meat is cut in one location and ship all over the country to difference stores. I say try some else it is a young man field as you get older it cause health problems. Memphis Tn meat cutter make between 14.00 - 19.50 per hour base on experience. It hard to get it. I started cutting in 1980 part-time in high school for 3.10 per hour then went on to Meat cutting school then apprenticeship at Kroger then became Journeyman meat cutter. I hate I ever decide to get into the field.

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Jim H in Brighton, Michigan

29 months ago

Rick,
I completely agree with you. A Journeyman meatcutter IS a skilled trade but it just is not properly valued in today's market place. I started cutting in 1968 and left in 1996. Most of that time I was a Chief Journeyman (union term for meat dept. manager)and when I left I was making like $21/hour and about $48k annually with overtime. It's not the fault of unions or the companies. It is just a fact of life that companies must compete with all operators including the non union ones like BJs and Walmart and the unions are trying to hold on. The real culprit is the economy and the retail food business just doesn't have the profit margin to pay any better. I changed careers to the telecom industry which grosses 40-45% profit and CAN afford to pay its people better. I had better options because I earned a degree in electrical engineering and make more than double what I made as a meat mgr., but even for those who don't have a background like mine I suggest learning a trade as an Electrician, Plumber, Operating Engineer or the like. Those type jobs will never be outsourced overseas and pay very well.
Jim

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Jack in Las Cruces, New Mexico

26 months ago

TONY IN WEST BRANCH MICHIGAN in Bridgeport, Michigan said: HAVE A FULL SERVICE MEAT AND DELI COUNTER IN A SMALL BUT VERY BUSY TOWN LOOKING FOR A MEAT MANEGER TO HANDEL ALL ASPECTS OF THE DEPARTMENT. MUST HAVE AT LEAST FIVE YEARS EXPERIENCE. ITS A WELL ESTABLISHED BUSINESS OF 24 PLUS YEARS.

Good luck with finding someone you will put down 24 yrs

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Steven in Saint Stephen, South Carolina

25 months ago

Jack in Las Cruces, New Mexico said: Good luck with finding someone you will put down 24 yrs

They're looking for someone with 5 years exp. Not 24. The Store has been in business for 24 years.

I recently started as meat apprentice. 15.00$ an hour and more when I finish to become a cutter. In this economy it's not too shabby. Because when it comes down to it, people won't always spend money on Phones, Computers, Cars, but they will always have to eat.

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apcowboy in Dalton, Georgia

25 months ago

Steven, come join us,MEATCUTTERSCLUB at meatcuttersclub.com/ A Club for Meat Cutters around the world !!

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A.J. in Conway, South Carolina

24 months ago

I work in the deli/bakery for a major grocery store chain. I am a full time student studying to be a medical assistant. Recently I was offered a position in the meat dept. I was told that there was big money to be made, and that I may find that I can make more in the meatcutting field than in the med field. Is this true or are they just trying to fill a spot with a good hard working employee? Please help me I know NOTHING about meat! What should I do? I will take all advice seriousley so please be honest.

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apcowboy@hotmail.com in Dalton, Georgia

24 months ago

a medical assistant tpys out at $16.88, meat cutters can top at 18.00 to 20.00 depending on what company you with. you say you in South Carolina, if you are with Harris Teeter you could make the 18.00 and up. IF you get into the meat business and learn it well, you could go up to 30 in the right places. come visit us at www.meatcuttersclub.com
join us at meatcuttersclub.activeboard.com/ and talk with meat cutters across America

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Jim H in Brighton, Michigan

24 months ago

I think you should balance this with the fact that, even in today's economy, if you go to trade school for a year and learn to be a machinist or a lathe operator, there are companies lining up to pay you $30/hour starting rate, with no experience. I think meat cutting will only be properly valued after most everyone avoids the trade for better paying trades. Perhaps then will employers pay meat cutters properly. By the way, I was a chief journeyman meatcutter for over a quarter century, and when I left the trade in 1995 I was making $21/hr plus completely paid medical benefits and pension. That was almost 20 years ago and look at meatcutters pay now, it's no better even though the dollar has lost 20 percent of its purchasing power! Now if you are dead set on being a meat cutter, there is no better online place to learn than Leon's meatcuttersclub.com. I now earn triple what I made back then as a meatcutter and meat manager.chief journeyman
Jim

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Jim H in Brighton, Michigan

24 months ago

A.J. in Conway, South Carolina said: I work in the deli/bakery for a major grocery store chain. I am a full time student studying to be a medical assistant. Recently I was offered a position in the meat dept. I was told that there was big money to be made, and that I may find that I can make more in the meatcutting field than in the med field. Is this true or are they just trying to fill a spot with a good hard working employee? Please help me I know NOTHING about meat! What should I do? I will take all advice seriousley so please be honest.

I'm not sure how true this is now. Research the pay in both fields. When I received my degree in electrical engineering in 1971, I had already learned a trade as a journeyman meatcutter that I started doing in high school. I went to a couple interviews for engineering jobs but they only wanted to pay about half what I made as a meatcutter, so I stayed a meatcutter until 1995. HOWEVER, back then we got triple time on Sundays, double time and a half on Saturday night, time and half for evenings, and 10-12 hours overtime every week. That is NOT the case now! Sunday is time and a half in a union shop, everything else is straight time, and hourly rates have increased little in the last 20 years. I left the field almost 20 years ago because I was tired of going backwards, income wise.

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Scott in Madison, Alabama

24 months ago

That used to be true. Nowadays meat cutters are forced to work basically a totally open schedule. It can be anytime from 5 Am - to 11 PM. And you are expected to be open to anytime in there and sometimes back to back shifts. The pay isn't so great. What usually happens is that any given new place will not reward you based on experience. They want all your know how but arent willing to pay for it. I actually found Mom & pop stores pay more nowadays to start than the big chains, if you can find one still around. I used to say this occupation was very rewarding and a great opportunity but it just is going downhill. Trust me, I've lived in many areas and seen many different stores and worked at many. In my mind, Whole Foods or Trader Joes is the way to go if you are serious about being a cutter. You basically shouldn't have to surrender your whole life's schedule for any job.

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P.P.,kathmandu in Lalitpur, Nepal

21 months ago

I am a good butcher ,i have 6 years expeirence in cutting meat, making sausages and de-bone.I have attended many hygiene trainings facilitated by reputed trainers. In a meat production or meat sales store I can handle all the needed job and supervise the guys as I did in my previous company. Its almost 6 months after I resigned. My workplace was Dubai and the company is (Germany based) but the work value was never getting change as our working skills grows up day by day the way we work 4/5 hours extra for free usually having a fear of getting terminated by that tyranny management.
With this description, I have been searching for an appropriate job to utilize my skills and knowledge possibly in America, Australia and Europe. The most significant thing is that I'm very professional and can work in $ 5-8 per hour. I'm ready to join in any organization in provided time frame.
I'm looking forward for any opportunities that suits my skills and interest. Thank you

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Jim H in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania

21 months ago

PP,
If you are really willing to work for $5-$8/hour in USD, you would be very happy in the USA where I doubt any meat cutters make less than twice that. However, I still feel the trade is very underpaid compared to others. My wife is an experienced customer service clerk in a supermarket and she makes about $15/hour.
I still feel you would be much better off learning to be a plumber, machinist, or lathe operator than a meat cutter, at least in the USA. Those trades typically start at $30/hour in the USA.
Jim

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yooperjp in Horton, Michigan

21 months ago

P.P.,kathmandu in Lalitpur, Nepal said: I am a good butcher ,i have 6 years expeirence in cutting meat, making sausages and de-bone.I have attended many hygiene trainings facilitated by reputed trainers. In a meat production or meat sales store I can handle all the needed job and supervise the guys as I did in my previous company. Its almost 6 months after I resigned. My workplace was Dubai and the company is (Germany based) but the work value was never getting change as our working skills grows up day by day the way we work 4/5 hours extra for free usually having a fear of getting terminated by that tyranny management.
With this description, I have been searching for an appropriate job to utilize my skills and knowledge possibly in America, Australia and Europe. The most significant thing is that I'm very professional and can work in $ 5-8 per hour. I'm ready to join in any organization in provided time frame.
I'm looking forward for any opportunities that suits my skills and interest. Thank you

I've been a retail meat cutter for 33 yrs. As some others in this forum have commented I wish like hell I'd have chosen something else! I like cutting but it's the lack of respect by upper management for the position and failure to recognize it as a "skilled" trade anymore, that has turned me off! Having said that I would have to believe you'd have no trouble finding a job in U.S. if you can get here and can communicate effectively. You'll have to take a salaried management position and work lots of hours in order to drive your wages down to $5-$8 pr hour though haha! For real though $5-$8 won't go far in U.S.! Go to MEATCUTTERS CLUB.Com website join up and search for jobs. Talk to site owner Leon he should be able to hook you up. Good luck!

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Dan in Levittown, Pennsylvania

19 months ago

I work as an apprentice meat-cutter in a full scale delicatessen. We serve over 30 different salads made fresh daily by 2 cooks, home-made Chicken Pies, Beef Pies, Meatloaf, Hamloaf, Stuffed Peppers, crab cakes, soups, lasagnas, just on the deli side alone - the meat department includes; marinated flanks (20 in a pan, we go through about 2 pans daily), teriyaki chicken (72 in a pan, we go through 4 pans a week), fresh sausage, hot sausage, sweet sausage, pork (tenderloins, thick chops, thin chops, butterfly chops, baby backs, country rib, loin ends, center roast), steaks (t-bone, porterhouse, sirloins, ny strip, delmonico/ribeye, filet mignon), ground burger (97/3 lean, 90/10 chuck, 85/10 chuck, meatloaf mix), beef cubes, all roasts from a top round, trimmed and untrimmed brisket, veal liver, baby beef liver, k-bobs (chicken, beef, pork), chicken (rotisserie, whole, backs, wings, drums, thighs, legs, boneless skinless, boneless w/ skin, semiboneless w/ skin), smoked meats (bacon, sausage, hams [sliced]) in our own smokehouse.

Now, this place has been in business for 60 years, and the Master Cutter has been there 40 years. I know almost all he knows, and I do all the grunt work, everything we put in the case is done by my hands, he takes care of phoned in orders or special customer requests (2" t-bone, butterfly mignon, etc) and cuts steaks when we are down to just a few. I run the smokehouse, case the sausage, grind the burger, do ALL the chicken, cut roasts for roast beef, take care of orders from the kitchen (Tuesday we get chicken so I cut 30 for sesame, 10 for cacciatori 10 for paris pasta, Wednesday we get Pork so we do the sausage/bacon, ham for hamloafs) plus beef and pork all week for pork and beef bbq (the best anywhere).

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Dan in Levittown, Pennsylvania

19 months ago

I currently make $8/hour with no perks because I was originally hired as a clerk but seized the opportunity when the apprentice before me quit after 4 months, however I've far surpassed him in a shorter time, and there are things I do much better than the Master MC.
I'm going to ask for a raise at the end of this week (I'll have been there 3 months), but I'd like to get a ballpark figure of what I should ask for, and any help with that from experienced MCs would be appreciated.

Ps - this place is attached to an 18000sq foot beer distributor, owned and operated by the same family, the deli makes around $2million on the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas alone

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Jim H in Brighton, Michigan

19 months ago

Dan,
I agree that at $8/hr you are seriously underpaid. However, If I understand your post correctly you have only been on the job for 3 months? If that is the case you do not have a lot of leverage. Are you in an apprenticeship program? If yes there is no way you could be considered a journeyman with just 3 months experience. I suggest you check out opportunities at Acme and Pathmark to see if you can get in there as an apprentice. I am no longer in that area so I don't know if they have any openings. It still does not hurt to ask for a raise, but temper you expectations with your limited experience.
I spent 28 years in that business and it just is not a great career choice if you have other options. If you can manage going to a trade school and learn to be a plumber, electrician, machinist, or lather operator you will do much better. The latter two often have openins at $25-$30/hr right out of trade school.
Jim

Dan in Levittown, Pennsylvania said: I currently make $8/hour with no perks because I was originally hired as a clerk but seized the opportunity when the apprentice before me quit after 4 months, however I've far surpassed him in a shorter time, and there are things I do much better than the Master MC.
I'm going to ask for a raise at the end of this week (I'll have been there 3 months), but I'd like to get a ballpark figure of what I should ask for, and any help with that from experienced MCs would be appreciated.

Ps - this place is attached to an 18000sq foot beer distributor, owned and operated by the same family, the deli makes around $2million on the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas alone

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