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Understanding the Total Cost of Hiring a Head Chef

As a restaurant owner, you know that a head chef is essential for a successful business. But what exactly does it cost to recruit and hire a head chef? Let’s take a look.

A good head chef is worth their weight in gold. The reputation of your restaurant counts on who you invest in – the talent who is creating the menu, overseeing the budget, and making sure everything runs smoothly in the kitchen.

We see restaurant owners spending $1,500-$3000 on job ads a month and an equivalent of 2.5 months a year on recruiting efforts.

The most obvious expense is the salary. Depending on the size and experience of the restaurant, BOH leadership can expect to make anywhere from $50,000 to over $70,000 per year. Obviously, the specific chef, their experience, and the expectations of the job further influence their salary.

In addition to the salary, consider the cost of benefits like health insurance, 401K, and vacation pay. Offering these benefits has proven to increase the number of quality candidates for your leadership positions.

And then there are the less obvious costs associated with hiring a head chef on your own – the cost of your time, other hiring managers’ time, job postings and advertising, and, that all sneaky of costs no one wants to look at, opportunity loss.

We see restaurant owners spending $1,500-$3000 on job ads a month and an equivalent of 2.5 months a year on recruiting efforts. Access our 2023 Hiring Report showing more on this.

Imagine the impact of Clock’d, the only dedicated recruiter for the food and hospitality business, hand-delivering your ideal, fully vetted, interviewed, loyal head chef in only 6 days. Oh, that dreamy day when you get to just do what you do best instead of putting extra time into finding leaders for the kitchen.


All things considered, hiring lead kitchen staff for a restaurant is likely to require a significant monetary investment, but one that can pay off in the long run if done right. If you’re looking to hire a loyal head chef, make sure you’re making the best decision for your business. Schedule a free consultation with Clock’d Executive Placement Services today.


Marc LaPierre is a 10-year veteran of the food and hospitality industry, Certified Staffing Professional, and CEO/Founder of Clock’d + SEEN. From cooking in James Beard award-winning kitchens to opening and managing a nightclub in Mexico, he worked every job in the industry. Today he connects professionals looking to advance their careers with clients eager to find an all-star team.


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