21 Highest-Paying Restaurant Jobs (With Salaries and Duties)

highest paying restaurant jobs
highest paying restaurant jobs

Restaurant jobs are among the highest-paying jobs available that do not require a college diploma.  The job roles vary from host, chef to culinary manager among others. So which of the jobs are the highest paying restaurant jobs?

A job in the restaurant sector offers a wide range of possibilities. There are a variety of part-time and full-time roles available for individuals with various skill sets and degrees of experience. Knowing what roles are available and how much they pay will help you decide which one is best for you and your financial situation. In this post, we’ll look at various high-paying restaurant jobs and evaluate the national average salary and major duties for each.

What restaurants pay the most hourly?

Some restaurants pay higher than the country’s minimum wage ($7.25 per hour). In-N-Out Burger tops the list of highest paying restaurants with an hourly wage of $11.17 with the second not so close highest paying being Panda Express with a wage of $9.01 an hour. Other restaurants with higher than average wages include chipotle Mexican grill at $8.78, noodles and company at $8.31, Jamba juice at $8.29, and Chick-fil-A at $8.16.

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What kind of job can you get in a restaurant?

The most known restaurant jobs are those of waiters, cooks, and cashiers. However, food services include culinary manager, barista, table prep, catering manager, executive chef, busser, and everything in between.

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What are the advantages of working at a restaurant?

Working in the restaurant industry comes with several benefits. It is an excellent place for practicing soft skills and acquiring knowledge. Plus, you are more likely to have a flexible schedule, whether you work part-time or full-time.

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21 highest paying restaurant jobs with responsibilities and salary

The national average yearly income for full-service restaurant workers is $29,090, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Restaurant workers’ income varies based on factors like job role, qualifications, experience, geographic location, and employer. In addition to their salaries, many of these workers may receive tips.

Before deciding on the job you want to pursue in the restaurant, consider the primary duties and pay for each job. A clear understanding of job roles and pay can help you determine if you want to work in a specific position. Here are the 21 highest paying restaurant jobs, their primary duties, and their average pay.

They include

1.       Waiter

2.       Busser

3.       Food runner

4.       Cashier

5.       Dishwasher

6.       Barista

7.       Prep cook

8.       Expediter

9.       Host

10.   Server

11.   Pastry cook

12.   Bartender

13.   Line cook

14.   Sommeliers

15.   Kitchen Manager

16.   Sous chef

17.   Catering Manager

18.   General Manager

19.   Maintenance Worker

20.   Executive Chef

21.   Food and beverage Manager


The average annual salary of a waiter is $25,024 which is below the average of restaurant workers in the country. It is number 21 on the list of highest-paying restaurant jobs. The primary responsibilities of a waiter include cooking meals, serving customers, processing payments, and cleaning common spaces. They also ensure that the kitchen delivers the correct order to the customer.

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The average salary of a busser is $25,741 per year in the United States and it is the 20th highest paying restaurant job. A busser is responsible for cleaning the table and surrounding spaces after the patron leaves. They follow sanitization and other cleaning procedures, take a guest’s plates, cups, and utensils from their table and place them in the dishwasher, and may even re-set the table for the next visitor. Bussers are also in charge of refilling visitors’ drink glasses and giving extra napkins and silverware.

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Food runner

As a  food runner, your main responsibilities will include bringing completed orders from the kitchen to diners. You may also have to inform the chef of specific guest requests, assist waiters with collecting orders and refilling water glasses, and return plates to the kitchen if the customer’s order is incorrect. The average annual pay of a food runner is $25,819 and it is in position 19 among the highest paying restaurant jobs.


The cashier’s annual average salary is $25,837 and it is the 18th highest paying restaurant job in the U.S. Your primary responsibilities as a cashier will include evaluating a customer’s restaurant bill and taking and processing payment. You may also have to package things for take-out, segregate tips for other restaurant employees, seat customers, and accept reservations.

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The job of a dishwasher is number 17 among the highest paying restaurant jobs and the average salary of a dishwasher is $26,149 per annum. A dishwasher is in charge of carefully cleaning plates, utensils, glassware, kitchen equipment, and other tableware, ensuring that they are sanitized and cleaned per the restaurant’s policies. They may also remove trash from the restaurant and dispose of it, clean the floors, and execute other cleaning jobs throughout the company.


Baristas earn an average of $26,856 per year and it is the 16th highest paying restaurant job in the USA. The duties of a barista include receiving a customer’s coffee or tea order, producing drinks, and cleaning their equipment. They frequently sell baked items, learn new coffee-making techniques, and keep track of inventory levels so that they may refill supplies as needed.

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Prep cook

The prep cook is in charge of washing ingredients, slicing vegetables, setting up specific workstations, and pre-cooking food that a line cook can finish as needed. Prep cooks are typically in charge of more basic dishes like salads and side dishes. It is number 15 among the highest paying restaurant jobs and the average pay is $28,933.


The average annual salary of an expediter is $33,361 and it is the 14th highest paying restaurant job. The expediter is in charge of getting food from the kitchen to the visitors. They also oversee kitchen orders to verify that cooks are prioritizing order tickets and that guests receive their meals promptly. Expeditors also inspect meals for accuracy before serving them and may add condiments or other sauces to a meal to make it complete according to the guest’s wishes.


A host/hostess is in charge of greeting restaurant patrons, keeping a waiting list, accepting bookings, seating visitors according to their arrival time and party size, cleaning menus, and rolling silverware. Many hosts and hostesses also collect customers’ orders. The average salary of a host is $34,108 annually and it is in position 13th of the highest paying restaurant jobs.

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A server’s primary responsibilities include taking orders, answering menu questions, recommending meals based on a guest’s tastes, preparing bills, and accepting payments. To keep the table clear, they may replenish a guest’s beverage and may remove plates and other tableware that a guest has finished using. Servers may also need to relay changes in orders to kitchen staff. The server is the number 12 highest paying restaurant job and the average salary is $34,442 per year.

Pastry cook

A  pastry cook earns an average of $34,739 per year and it is the 11th highest paying restaurant job. A pastry cook’s main responsibilities include preparing baked items such as cakes, pastries, and fresh bread. Pastry chefs collaborate closely with the head chef to ensure that meals and desserts complement one another. They also prepare the dessert menu and write easy-to-follow recipe directions.

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A Bartender makes an average of $35,129 per year and it is in position 10 of the highest paying restaurant jobs. The main duties of a bartender include preparing beverages for customers. They must verify that a customer is of legal drinking age, accept orders, and keep track of inventory to keep the bar stocked. Bartenders may also provide food to bar patrons while keeping their work environment clean and organized.

Line cook

The line cook is the number 9 highest paying restaurant job and the average annual salary is $39,234. The main responsibilities of a line cook include cooking meals at their workstation. They may do activities such as cutting fruit, chopping vegetables, preparing sauces and condiments, grilling meat, and placing goods on a plate so that servers can give them to guests. Line cooks are responsible for following recipes and preparing dishes according to the chef’s standards.


Sommeliers are the number 8 highest paying restaurant jobs and they earn an average of $43,880 per year.  A sommelier is in charge of curating a restaurant’s wine list and recommending wine pairings to patrons. They may also collaborate with the executive chef to develop wine pairings for other menu items. Sommeliers in restaurants also manage the restaurant’s wine inventory, ordering wine as needed, and training other staff members on how to sell wine to customers.

Kitchen manager

A kitchen manager earns an average salary of $44,197 in the USA and they are the 7th highest paying job in a restaurant.  A kitchen manager is in charge of the restaurant’s day-to-day operations. They examine how the cooks prepare food, make sure all food is at the proper temperature, schedule employees for shifts, and order food and supplies as needed to guarantee that all employees are fulfilling the restaurant’s quality standards. Menus and restaurant processes for various positions may also be created by kitchen managers.

Sous chef

A Sous chef receives an average annual salary of  $46,736 per year and it is in position 6 among the highest paying restaurant jobs. In the kitchen, a sous chef is responsible for collaborating closely with the executive chef. When the head chef is not there, they supervise the kitchen, instruct team members on how to prepare various meals, and develop food safety standards. Sous chefs also assist the head chef in the creation of menus, inventory management, and recipe testing. For the kitchen to run as efficiently as possible, it’s typical for a sous chef to handle the responsibilities of other line cooks when needed.

Catering manager

A catering manager earns an average annual salary of  $49,311 and it is the 5th highest paying job in a restaurant. A catering manager is in charge of overseeing the restaurant’s catering services, which include developing catering menus, selling catering packages for conferences and businesses to clients, scheduling staff members to deliver or serve meals to guests, and inspecting the quality of the meals prepared by the staff for events and catering opportunities. They may also collaborate with a member of marketing to promote the restaurant’s catering services by working with clients’ budgets.

General Manager

The annual salary of a general manager averages $55,497 and it is the number 4 highest paying position in a restaurant. The main responsibilities of a general manager include employing restaurant workers, keeping track of all debits and credits on a financial statement, and assisting with menu planning. They might write the restaurant’s policies and procedures as well as a handbook for staff to follow. General Manager keeps an eye on the restaurant’s performance and set rules to boost income and customer happiness. A general manager will frequently converse with guests about their experiences to gain a better understanding of how the restaurant can meet a guest’s expectations.

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Maintenance worker

They receive an average annual salary of $64,833 and are number 3 in the highest-paying restaurant jobs.  The maintenance employee is responsible for ensuring that the restaurant runs smoothly. They install equipment, repair appliance problems, and perform general maintenance around the outside of the restaurant, such as mowing the lawn and keeping the parking lot clear of debris.

Executive chef

From prep cooks to sous chefs, an executive chef is in charge of the kitchen and all staff who work in that part of the restaurant. They develop menu items, test recipes, and ensure that all cooks maintain a clean workspace. Executive chefs oversee inventory, collaborate with other managers to set protocols, train new cooks, negotiate vendor contracts and food costs, and establish and maintain food safety and sanitization standards in the kitchen. The executive chef is the 2nd highest paying position in a restaurant and the average annual salary is $65,231.

Food and beverage manager

A food and beverage manager is the highest paying restaurant job and the average salary is $70,669 annually. A food and beverage manager forecasts food demands, submits inventory orders, collaborates with chefs to produce menu items for visitors with dietary restrictions, and develops regulations for various areas of the restaurant. They may also check in with visitors to ensure that they are having a good time and look for ways to publicize the restaurant or become active in the neighborhood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a restaurant job without a high school Degree?

Yes. Most entry-level restaurant jobs accept candidates without a degree.

How can I get a high-paying restaurant job?

Most employers require a certain degree of experience. You can gain experience by starting at an entry-level role that requires little or no experience.

Can I live comfortably on a restaurant job salary?

Yes. Though some restaurant jobs have relatively low pay, there is quite a number with pay above the national average salary.

What is the lowest-paying restaurant position?

The role of the cashier is the least-paid position in the restaurant

Do restaurant workers receive health insurance and pension coverage?

Only few employers provide health insurance and pension plans for their workers


Because of the various shifts and roles available, restaurant work can be appealing to many people. Many employees can get a job at a restaurant without any experience, but to get some of the highest-paying restaurant jobs, you’ll need some knowledge. If you want to go to school, or work a part-time schedule, restaurant work may be suitable for you.


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