The median hourly wage of food preparation workers was $9.18 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.65 per hour, and the top 10 percent earned more than $13.68 per hour.
Pay for food preparation workers varies by region and employer. Pay is usually highest for workers in elementary and secondary schools, and in major metropolitan and resort areas.
About 53 percent of food preparation workers worked part time. Because many food service establishments are open for many hours each day, food preparation workers often must work early mornings, late evenings, weekends, or holidays. Those who work in school cafeterias have more regular hours and may work only during the school year, which is usually 9 or 10 months. Similarly, resorts usually offer seasonal employment only.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition