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How Much Do Kitchen Managers Make?

Tyler MartinezAuthor

Kitchen managers work to keep restaurant kitchens on budget and keep them running smoothly. They place orders, develop relationships with vendors, keep inventory, and manage the kitchen staff.

Restaurants have a dedicated kitchen manager to ensure that the labor and products going into the menu are on track with the restaurant’s budget. In this article, we will report on our research on kitchen managers’ salaries. And, keep reading for some tips for earning more as a kitchen manager.

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How much do kitchen managers make?

How Much Do Kitchen Managers Make? (Average Kitchen Manager Salary Data)

Kitchen managers earn between $41,000 and $70,000 annually, on average. That might seem like a wide range. We got those numbers by averaging these three sources:

  • Salary.com provides salaries based on HR data from around the US. They report that the bottom 10% of kitchen managers earn $44,163 and the top 10% earn $77,022 annually, with a median salary of $58,855.

  • Comparably.com reports a much smaller range for kitchen managers, between $46,800 and $49,000.

  • SimplyHired.com reports on data collected from job ads. Similar to Salary.com, they report that the bottom 10% of kitchen managers earn $40,590 and the top 10% earn $72,834 annually. The average salary of kitchen managers is $54,372.

A good way to determine how much you should earn as a kitchen manager is by asking other kitchen managers about what they earn. It may seem taboo to discuss wages, but frank conversations with peers in your area are a good place to start. They can help you to know how much your skills and experiences are worth and where to begin negotiating a salary.

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Factors that influence kitchen manager salaries

Kitchen managers' earnings are mostly determined by their prior experiences and the skills that they bring to the job. The skills you can display and your experience in the restaurant industry influence your starting salary as a kitchen manager.

Additionally, the profit margins of the restaurant where you work will influence your salary as a kitchen manager. The restaurant’s owner will consider the sales and profits of the restaurant when determining the salaries of all staff.

Kitchen managers’ salaries are also influenced by whether they work as salaried or hourly employees. Some hourly employees can earn more than salaried employees, depending on the hours they work and the overtime policy of the restaurant.

Kitchen managers work for hourly wages or salary

Kitchen managers, along with the rest of the management staff, are typically salaried employees of restaurants. They negotiate their salaries at the start of employment and are often given the opportunity for raises during performance reviews.

Salaried restaurant employees enjoy the stability afforded by steady income. But, kitchen managers are often asked to work long hours and to step in when other staff members cannot fulfill their roles. 

Some kitchen managers are hourly employees, which means they are paid for each hour they work rather than earning an annual salary. 

ZipRecuriter.com reports that the average kitchen manager’s salary is $22 an hour, which is worth about $46,000 annually at forty hours a week. Many kitchen managers work longer hours based on the needs of the restaurant.

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Career progression and tips to increase kitchen manager salary

Kitchen managers often start their careers in culinary school or a university’s hospitality management program. Such programs prepare people with the skills necessary to succeed in the restaurant industry. 

Other kitchen managers work their way up through the restaurant industry into management positions. They start as prep cooks, line cooks, or even service staff and learn the ropes of the industry. Then, they work their way into management by demonstrating leadership and organizational skills.

Once you become a kitchen manager, you can increase your salary by ensuring that the kitchen runs efficiently. Stay on top of food and supply costs, train staff to care for equipment properly, and learn to optimize labor costs. Working with service managers and staff can ensure that the restaurant’s sales are meeting target goals.

If the restaurant’s sales are high, you are more likely to get a raise or an annual bonus. And, as a kitchen manager, you might think about working up into a general manager role or becoming a part-owner to increase your earning potential even more.

Negotiating higher kitchen manager salary

When it comes to salary negotiations, it’s important to be able to provide evidence that you are performing your job duties as a kitchen manager. Show the executive chef or restaurant’s owner that you work to improve operations in the kitchen to increase the restaurant’s overall income.

It’s also good practice to do research on other kitchen managers’ salaries in your area. Look at comparable restaurants – places that have a similar style of service and sales that are on par with your restaurant. See what kinds of skills and experience jobs ads require of kitchen managers.

That way, you can go into negotiations with an idea of how much your skills and experiences are worth at similar restaurants. And, when you prove that you are diligently working to improve the restaurant, you are more likely to convince the owner that you deserve a higher salary.

Make moves as a kitchen manager

Kitchen managers are an integral part of a restaurant’s success, but their jobs are challenging and demanding. Learn what your skills are worth as a kitchen manager and don’t quit until you’re earning a salary to support your lifestyle.

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