If you like to cook, you might consider a culinary career. Restaurants, bars and institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes all need cooks. You may even be able to be a head cook someday and plan the menus for a restaurant while supervising other cooks. Cooks do not make a lot of money to start with, so you definitely need to have passion for the culinary arts to stick with a cooking career.
Varies By Type
Most cooks are paid hourly, according to payscale.com, so how much they make depends upon how many hours they work. On average, cooks make $9 to $11 per hour, meaning a full-time cook will probably make an average of about $400 a week before taxes. Head cooks, who take supervisory roles in larger kitchens and are responsible for ordering supplies and planning menus in addition to cooking, make more than other cooks, while fast-food cooks tend to make less.
Most restaurant cooks do not get tips. However, cooks who work in bars or fast food restaurants sometimes collect tips from customers or receive part of all tips customers leave in the tip jar. Payscale.com thus lists the average tip cooks get as between 50 cents and $1.63 per hour. Unlike waiters and waitresses, cooks do not depend on tips to supplement their weekly income.
If a restaurant is particularly busy or short staffed, cooks may have to work more than eight hours in a shift. Most cooks are entitled to overtime pay under these circumstances. Depending upon the state a cook works in, he may receive anywhere between time and a half and twice his normal hourly pay for overtime hours. Head cooks are often employed on a salaried basis rather than an hourly basis and may not qualify for overtime pay.
Salary Questions to Ask
If a business offers you a position as a cook, ask your potential employer what you will make per week and whether you will be able to get tips. You should also find out how busy the establishment is and what duties you are expected to fulfill besides cooking. Asking these questions gives you a sense of how much money you will make and whether you will receive adequate compensation for the amount of work you are expected to do.
Jack Ori has been a writer since 2009. He has worked with clients in the legal, financial and nonprofit industries, as well as contributed self-help articles to various publications.