How Many Hours Do Restaurant Chefs Work? A Chef Explains

Are you interested in knowing how long restaurant chefs work in the kitchen? Well, this is a question that many people ask, especially (foolish) people aspiring to be professional chefs or food entrepreneurs.

As a former chef that has worked in some of the most prestigious restaurants and hotels, there is a funny perception that being a chef is glamorous and easygoing, but the reality is that it is one of the most demanding professions in the hospitality industry.

That said, read on to get a glimpse into the world of a chef and have a glimpse of how many hours they work in a week.

Responsibilities of A Restaurant Chef?

A chef with a fried Schnitzel.
A chef with a fried Schnitzel.

Working as a restaurant chef involves various roles and responsibilities. These may vary depending on the type of restaurant or establishment you work for.

Here are some of the general duties:

  • Preparing food in an efficient and timely manner
  • Managing inventory and ordering supplies
  • Maintaining kitchen equipment and ensuring hygiene standards are up to par
  • Training and managing kitchen staff
  • Developing new recipes and adapting to changing culinary trends
  • Interacting with customers and identifying their needs

All these responsibilities are required in order to cook food fast as possible whilst cooking the best quality of food.

How Many Hours Do Restaurant Chefs Work Per Week?

Chefs in a kitchen, Covent Garden.
Chefs in a kitchen, Covent Garden.

It is worth noting that working hours for chefs vary widely, depending on various factors.

Some of the most common factors that influence the number of hours worked include:

  • Type of establishment: Fine dining restaurants usually have longer working hours than fast food outlets. Cafes and coffee shops have the shortest hours.
  • Employment terms: Full-time chefs usually work longer hours than part-time or casual chefs.
  • Experience: Experienced chefs have more flexible working hours than their less-experienced counterparts.

On average, restaurant chefs work for approximately 50-70 hours per week. This is far longer than the typical 40 hours worked by most office workers.

There is a hidden code in the hospitality industry, just because your contract says 40-50 hours per week, that does not mean you are only going to do those hours. Speaking from experience, you know fine rightly you are going to do way more than that.

However, the exact number of hours depends on the factors mentioned above. Some chefs work more hours during peak seasons, such as holidays and special events.

How Much Money Do Chefs Make? It’s Probably Less Than You Think!

The Different Shifts In The Kitchen

Thai chefs.
Thai chefs.

The kitchen is a 24/7 operation, and chefs need to work in shifts. The most common shifts in a kitchen include:

  • Morning shift: This is typically from 6 am to 2 pm.
  • Afternoon shift: This is from 2 pm to 10 pm.
  • Split shifts: Some chefs work in two shifts, for instance from 10 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm.
  • Overnight shift: This is from 10 pm to 6 am.
  • Weekends and holidays: These are usually the busiest periods for chefs, and they may be required to work on weekends and holidays.

Worth a read: The Richest Celebrity Chefs Ever!


How Many Hours Do Chefs Work Per Week On Average?

On average, chefs work for approximately 50-70 hours per week, but this varies depending on the type of establishment, employment terms, and experience.

What Shifts Do Restaurant Chefs Work?

Restaurant chefs work in different shifts, including morning, afternoon, split shifts, overnight, weekends and holidays.

Which Factors Determine The Working Hours For Chefs?

The working hours for chefs are influenced by factors such as the type of establishment, employment terms, and experience.

What Are The General Duties Of A Restaurant Chef?

Aside from preparing food, restaurant chefs are responsible for managing inventory, maintaining kitchen equipment, change deep fryers oil, training and managing staff, developing new recipes, and interacting with customers.

Are The Working Hours For Restaurant Chefs Flexible?

Working hours for restaurant chefs are less flexible than in other industries since chefs often need to work long hours, including weekends and holidays. On average, they work longer hours than the restaurant managers.


Working as a restaurant chef is a demanding and fast-paced occupation that requires cooks to be agile, meticulous, and efficient.

Most chefs work for about 50-70 hours per week, and this can be influenced by various factors such as experience, type of establishment, and employment terms.

Despite the long hours of work, the satisfaction that comes with creating a delicious meal and the passion for culinary arts are what keep chefs persevering.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.