How Many Cooks Does A Restaurant Need

By Rajib Hasan -- Sunday, 03 Mar, 2024
how many cooks does a restaurant need

Cook is a common person in the restaurant industry. Cooks play an essential role in maintaining a culinary standard for preparing food. We know about the amount of restaurant staff required to manage a restaurant. Do we know how many cooks does a restaurant needs to manage culinary? Yes, but it depends on several factors: restaurant space, customer attendance, restaurant opening hours and closing hours, peak hours, etc. 

On average, for a small restaurant 3 or 5 cooks are sufficient. On the other hand, a large restaurant, with a diverse menu and high customer volume requires multiple cooks. However, let’s know specifically how many cooks are required for restaurants.

How Many Cooks Does A Restaurant Need?

For a small restaurant 3 to 5 cooks

First of all, it is important to know about the cook. The cook is almost similar to the chef. A cook is a non-skilled person who makes food and does not have professional culinary experience. But have you ever thought about how many cooks does a restaurant requires

It is difficult to specify how many cooks a restaurant needs. It is because a restaurant may have many kitchens to prepare different foods: Italian food, Thai food, Chinese food, Japanese food, and others.

A specific cook is also required to manage those kitchens to help a restaurant chef. All the restaurant owners need cook for restaurant kitchen management. A restaurant may have an assistant cook.

There are several types of cuisine. Different cuisines require different preparation and cooking times. Few restaurants require quick delivery, fewer require time to prepare food, and such restaurants require a few more cooks to prepare food and manage their cuisine.

A small size restaurant may have 1 or 2 chefs and 3 or 5 cooks to help them. It is noted that most of the cooks are interns in any medium or big shape restaurant to gather experience. Indeed two or more cooks work under a chef.

That’s why a cuisine or a restaurant may have many cooks depending on its food serving area, restaurant shape, people attendance, food variations, etc. If a standard casual dining restaurant has 50 person seating capacity with a minimum crowd in 3 or 4 rows. In that case, 4 cooks can be sufficient to cook and arrange meals. 

Number of Cooks in a Medium-Sized Restaurant

If a restaurant has 15 to 30 tables and 2 to 6 people can accommodate per table, such a restaurant is considered a medium size restaurant. This type of restaurant may have 100 to 150 seating capacity. In that case, this type of restaurant may have 6 to 10 cooks. But this number of cooks may change according to restaurant location, people arriving ratio, food items, and others.  

How Many Cooks May Have in a Small Café?

There will be 2 to 3 cooks in a small café depending on the coffee shop's shape and customer attendance. A café does not have numerous food items. A café has different types of coffee and bakery items. In a medium-sized coffee shop, 3 to 5 cooks may work per shift. 

This amount may be changed if the café becomes crowded and offers extensive menus. It is noted that a café may have a single chef but 3 or more cooks may work in the culinary area to prepare coffee shop items.   

Difference Between a Chef and a Cook


Suppose, you went to a restaurant to meet a person who cooked your food. In that case, what would you call that person? Would you call him ‘’Chef’’ or ‘’cook’’? On the other hand, in most cases, we face such a question: what is the difference between a chef and a cook? So, let’s see the chef and cook difference. Chef and cook both carry almost similar culinary professions. But there are some differences between them.

Restaurant Chef

Restaurant Cook

A chef is a professional one who has better culinary experience.

A cook processes the food but they don’t have culinary experience compared to chefs.

Most chefs have a higher degree and a minimum of culinary experience. They also have high skills in inventing new recipes.

Cooks are newly or entry-level recruited and low-skilled persons. Most of them do not have higher degrees. Most of them don’t have high-level experience so they can invent something.

A chef's salary is higher than a cook's. Most chef's salaries start from at least $15 per hour in the United States.

Chefs' salary depends on their level of experience. Most chefs' per hour salary starts from $12 in the USA.

Chef de partie or any specific station chef who manages any individual kitchen station for specific orders and dishes.

The line cook is engaged in preparing any specific food for that line. It usually includes their daily responsibility.

In most cases, chefs work in a leadership position in the kitchen to manage entire culinary operations.

Cook works under supervision and focuses on preparing and managing the food in the kitchen. 

They are always engaging and responsible for the quality of food served and the establishment.   

Cooks have less decision-making authorization but they focus on their assigned task and implement that.  


How Many Cooks Are In A Restaurant?


How many line cooks should a restaurant have? An average of 3 to 5 line cooks may have in a restaurant for 50 customers per hour. An executive chef also guides them to manage and prepare the food. A restaurant may have many cooks per line if customer attendance and food orders become higher. It is noted that back-of-the-house (BOH) kitchen/cook staff depends on some crucial factors: food items, customer attendance, restaurant popularity, and others.

How Many Chefs Do You Need For 100 Tables?

How many cooks does the average restaurant have? On average a restaurant chef can handle 20 to 30 people per hour. To serve 100 tables with 4 guests at each restaurant table requires 13 to 20 chefs. 

Suppose there are 10 lines, each line has 10 tables, and 4 people can seat or reserve a restaurant table. So, 400 people can sit at a time at these tables. To manage those tables 13 to 20 chefs are required. Indeed, this amount may fluctuate depending on the restaurant and customer circumstances.

How Many Fine Dining Cooks Are Required?

A chef or cook is a back-of-house employee of a fine dining restaurant. A small fine dining restaurant may have four or five cooks. In a well-staffed fine dining kitchen, you must consider positions such as executive chef, sous chef, line cook, pastry chef, and prep cook. The exact number of cooks will vary based on the restaurant's needs and the volume of restaurant business popularity.   

Restaurant Kitchen Rules for Staff or Cooks

Restaurant kitchens need to be clean and maintain hygienic standards. They must go through some strict rules and regulations. So, take a look at a glance at restaurant kitchen rules for cooks and staff.  

  • Understand food safety standards.
  • Must know how to store food correctly.
  • A cook must be aware of personal hygiene.
  • Clean up any spills at all times.
  • Make sure of kitchen safety.
  • Maintaining a clean kitchen.
  • Wash hands and sanitize routinely.
  • Appropriate clothing for employees
  • Cover any cuts.
  • Get the right tools to store food.
  • Health and safety practices.
  • Hygienic requirements for employees.
  • Keep a first aid kit nearby.
  • Keep work areas tidy at all.
  • Cooks should know cooking methods and processes.
  • Restrain themselves from the clutter on kitchen surfaces.
  • Sanitize kitchen surfaces intermittently.
  • Stay hydrated whenever they are in the kitchen.
  • Follow the storage instructions.  
  • They must maintain temperature-controlling standards.
  • Use old food first (use the FIFO method).

The Formula for Average cost per Waiter

The cost per waiter in a restaurant depends on some crucial factors, such as restaurant shape, number of food serving tables, restaurant shift, popularity, people arriving ratio, and others. However, there is the easiest formula to calculate the average cost per waiter and restaurant cooks.

Average total cost calculation per waiter = total cost of a restaurant (daily or monthly)/number of waiters.

Suppose a restaurant's daily total expense is around $2000 and there are 15 waiters.

In that case, $2000/15 = $133

So, the daily average cost per waiter is $133

If you would like to make a summary of all the restaurant cooks and chefs then this formula may be applicable. If you need staff for restaurant management then you may use this formula to count your staff's hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly salaries.   

Easiest Way to Find the Best Cooks

Cooks are the essential members of a restaurant. Finding some cooks for a restaurant is not difficult. It is because many young boys and girls want to become famous chefs. Cook is the first journey for them. That’s why you will get a lot of new people who would like to join your restaurant as an intern. You may follow this way to hire a restaurant cook.

Besides that, you may adopt some crucial ways to recruit them, such as online job platforms, social media job postings, culinary forums, contact with some culinary schools or institutions, etc. You may also contact your restaurant staff or chef about cooking if they know a person who wants to join or become a cook. 

It is noted that a restaurant manager or owner should focus on their academic and culinary qualification level. As a restaurant owner, you should hire a cook who has a minimum knowledge of kitchen items and food management.   

Final Thought

Indeed, there is no specific answer for how many cooks does a restaurant needs. It is because to run a restaurant we need cooks depending on the restaurant's shape and size, customer appearance, number of tables, restaurant crowd, and others. But we can show an average summary by observing some restaurant staff management statistics.

However, we have referred to an average cook quantity. It may fluctuate depending on some crucial things that I have referred to above several times. So, the best answer is: only the restaurant manager and restaurant owner can specify how many cooks they should recruit to manage their culinary.