What are typical line cook salaries?

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Ana in Palmdale, California

54 months ago

My Dad has been a cook (head cook off and on) for over 30 years. His last job gave him manager responsibilities and promised to pay him a decent salary. He never got any breaks and worked like a dog. Up to 14 hours strait sometimes. When I did the math of his checks and the hours he worked, he was making a measley 8.20/hour. He kept getting in arguements because of his pay. He never got paid what he was promised. He is 55 and was too physically and mentally drained to continue working there. He is now working 2 part time jobs, and is afraid he can't provide for my Mom. I've been trying to convince him to sue... I'm so mad for him.

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Jon in Eagle River, Alaska

53 months ago

It sounds like your dad was on a salary based on his position, but considering the hours he was working, he was making almost minimum wage. I have a lot of respect for a man who could ever do such a thing and put up with all that.

From what Ive posted previously, I have no experience in the restaurant industry and only done institutional cooking and baking for the military, fire jumpers, and Alaska North Slope workers, where you cook typically for anywhere from 20 to 1000 people a meal. You might not preparing anything real glamorous most of the time, but the people at least know who prepares their food and most of them are at least somewhat grateful. Plus the pay is usually decent and you don't work yourself half to death. Most institutional settings also want more professional folks with standards and experience.

Before I retired from the military, half the Airmen whined about working too hard, as well as the Civil Service cooks! And the latter are making over $30 an hour and fully expect preparing an entree and vegetable for a couple hundred people for a serving line a full days work! Yet the Aramark employees who make less and are temporary hires never complain and work like good elves and servants every day!

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cityboy760 in North Hills, California

51 months ago

I have a AA Degree in culinary arts but i have no expirience working at a restaurant what is the starting pay an hour if i move to vegas to work as a line cook ?

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ChefJoe in New York, New York

50 months ago

David in Bronx, New York said: I work in one of the best and fast paced restaurants in America and I get paid $11.55. If your going to be in this business go work for the best of the best. Then you'll make money later on. In this business they don't care if you have a phd you'll still get paid the same.... CRAP!

Hey David where do you work? Im looking for an experienced line cook and pay between $12-$15.00an hour based on skills to start. Email me bridgecafechef@aol.com if your interested.

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jrob in Minneapolis, Minnesota

44 months ago

just wanted to drop my 2 cents in. I live and work in Minneapolis, MN at a hotel/restaurant. They started me off at 11.50 per hour and offered very littler training. Kinda sink or swim type of thing. I swam. No school but have been cooking for a while now and recently got serious about it. Pretty sure I can get up to 13 by the end of this year. No horror story here, love the job. love the people. oh yeah only working about 30 hrs a week. will prob go up soon because I could soon be the main dinner cook.

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Darby in Reading, Pennsylvania

44 months ago

Would anyone have any suggestions for good companies to work in the kitchens? I also heard alot of the remote camps people work alot of overtime with is fine with me. Can you share any advice I would appreciate it. darbyslaton@gmail.com

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Tim Cook in Sydney, Australia

43 months ago

You guys are getting a raw deal. I worked and lived in Maui back in the late 80'S.I think the minimum wage was around $5.20 per hour at Pizza Hut. I secured a job as assistant line cook at Mamas Fish House for $6.80 per hour then came to Australia where I now make 50k gross a year (about $28hr) 4 weeks paid holidays, 5 day week, 8 hr days, with an extra paid day of in every month. Our casual cooks/chefs are on $28 to $32

Most qualified chefs (4 year apprenticeship) are on no less than $20hr. You would get laughed at if you tried to pay someone $12hr for working the hours and having the skills it takes to run a kitchen. A person running a kitchen here will expect no less than $700 net a week.

I'm never going back to the USA to work. To many people prepared to work for peanuts and treated like second class citizens. Good Chefs work dam hard, long hours and have specialized skills. They should be treated honorably with more regard and paid accordingly.
Unbelievable when you consider the impressive high standard of food service the USA has. Our average common cooks are payed more than your sous chefs.

I understand much comes down to what the business can afford. Our restaurant prices are higher than the U.S. Where eating out in the U.S is more affordable. We also don't have the tipping system here that adds a whole other dimension to hospitality.

The tipping of 10% that used to be given when you had exceptional service and food, but is now %15 practically mandatory and essential for the staffs survival. What a scam. What happened to incorporating costs into the menu. Its not hard.

Charge more for the food, (don't worry people will still eat out. Most people get payed properly) and pay your catering staff what they deserve America.

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Ninja chef in Mustang, Oklahoma

43 months ago

You will never be paid enough for this job so here's what you should know:Culinary Is NOT a field to get into because you 'like' it. And it is NOT a field you get into expecting 'big $' because a very small percent of cooks ever make it to top dog and even when they do they will never earn as much as big money fields. All in all for the work we do and hours we put in cooks are underpaid and should always appreciate but never expect otherwise.
And, good luck finding decent benefits, they're out there but hard to find outside of a large corporation/hotel chain/entertainment.
- Coming out of Culinary School You are a Certified Culinarian NOT a Chef...Plan to work at least 5 years in a good company(fast food rarely counts)before having ambitions of climbing the latter. Even then, men are often chosen over women, and the final choice usually depends on WHO you know and not What you know. If the Chef interviewing you can't relax around you or smells fear or an over large ego don't count on a job. Always be yourself.
-You may have a better chance at some restaurants if you and the chef attended the same school, but if you didn't put in effort into your culinary training and they see that they have to teach you from scratch you will be the most disliked person in the kitchen...know your stuff, be confident but don't have an ego, the bigger your ego the quicker and easier it is for someone with my experience to come by and deflate it.
-This is a job done out of passion for it. Only the insane would work themselves to the bone to make food that people who know nothing about flavor combinations who will 'special' order, and want their steaks overcooked swearing that a medium rare should not be bloody...we do it because we know that if we weren't cooks we'd probably have a camp stove in our cubicles because it's in our blood.
-Even if you have a financial backer you must have enough money to run your buisness for one year and not make a profit.Think about it

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Joe in Ayer, Massachusetts

41 months ago

So, I'm a true blue line cook. In this business you have to pick the right place to work. I never had any culinary training other than a supermarket pizza shop. Went to college for European History, worked as a prepper for a summer at $12 an hour to start. Learned how to cook, got a 3$ raise to give me $15 an hour. I moved to open up another location, now I make $18 an hour. The owners of my my restaurant have been nothing but grateful whilst proving it. Independent Restaurants are where our type thrive!

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Joe in Ayer, Massachusetts

41 months ago

Get out of that corporate world as well as that stuck-up fine dining stuff. You all know a trade, use it to your advantage. Like it or not there is a CASTE system in the culinary world, ignore it and be happy...

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flaren45 in Temple, Texas

38 months ago

ive been working in the food industry since my first job and my first real job was working as a line cook in the bright angel in the grandcanyon AZ area. It was wonderful since i lived in the park and took the bus to and from work.It was my first real cook job and i learned pretty well in 4 months and i worked there for 8 months. I made 7.80 an hour and was promised by 2 executive and head chefs of promotions and i never moved up and then my last week they said they would have promoted me but since i was leaving it didn't matter.That experience i got from that place made me want to get into culinary arts and ive been trying to work at a resteraunt when i moved back but haven't been able to find anyone who will hire me or give me a chance,i dont want to work at a chain unless its chillis or cracker barrel and i feel like the 8 months of experience taught me enough that i can be a line cook somewhere else making 10 to 12 bucks an hour. i recently moved to the temple texas area so im crossing my fingers and hoping i can find a good establishment that i can learn more and advance.

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38 months ago

i agree with everyone i've been doing this about 6 years know started from the bottom as a grill cook and advanced to rounds cook i've gained so much experince studing by and work wise experience and been moving going to resorts and national parks i've even tried working at little owned resturants and a company the resorts and national parks where ok payed 9.50 to 10.00 and the little restuarnt i worked at was a part time job but paid 11.00 and the other one i had was at a zoo which was 12.00 working as a sous chef/supervior the pay at the zoo was freaken great but it wasnt what i wanted to do it was nothing but burgers and chicken tenders im used to plating food and making resoto and saute and just really having a passion for making something good its really hard for me to find a job that is going to get me that fine dining experience that im looking to get experience into i no i have what it takes and (flaren45 i understand what u mean man working up to something then going to work at some random burger king resturant is not nothing to looking forward as the career choice of food chains to get into lol, if anyone has any suggestions of good places to work as far as to gain some fine dining experinece let me no my email is sam.flores23@yahoo.com and ill send my resume thanks

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Drew in Rochester, Michigan

33 months ago

Been reading all the comments and I cant decide yet myself what to do. I started dishing at a local restaurant at 8$ph, then bussing for 4$ph +% of tip. Then moved into the line and 9$ph and now make 11$ph after a year. I was thinking since I'm doing horribly in college and not sure yet what I wanted to do that I would just become a cook/chef. Ask the current head cook at the restaurant for training, as my boss for more hours/increase pay by a dollar, and then after a couple more years after more experience move out and find a restaurant to work at paying 14-15$ ph. I kinda wanted to find a new job every 1-2 years in a different state to have fun and see the world more but it seems you have to work 2-3 years just to make 15-16$ph at restaurants. I'll look into what most of you have been saying with hotels/resorts/casinos paying 16$ph as starting pay.

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Rebecca in Ottawa, Ontario

24 months ago

Sean in Gatineau, Quebec said: I agree stay away from HMS Host, they give a lot a promise on working for them. But their pay structure is LOW. Great for a student who lives close to the Airport - as most Airports are miles away from many homes - Thus a long commute.

It seems the pay structure varies from state to state, province to province. In the last month I have met people earning $20/ hr as cook in Ottawa Ontario and have no papers ? It varies across North America.

Where in Ottawa are cooks being paid $20.00 per hour?! I'm interested because I'm looking for a job and have alot of experience as a Cook.

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