Chef Hours

What Hours do Chefs Work?

How Many Hours Do Chefs Work?

The hours chef’s will be working depends on the style of restaurant / kitchen and the brigade position of the chef.
So how many hours do chefs work?. To follow are a look at an average Chef de Partie working hours and days in a range of kitchens.

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A Look at Different Kitchens, Working Hours and Shift Patterns

Event catering

Event catering is just that catering for events. This can include private dinners, banquets, canape receptions and weddings. Usually the caterer will be based at a unit and the food will be prepared there. The food and equipment is then transported to the venue of the event.

Main Hours: Monday – Friday 0700 – 1600. With extra days or hours being worked depending on the events.

40 – 45 hours per week + extra for events as needed.


This depends on the size of the hotel and how many kitchens/restaurants the hotel has.
40 – 48 hours per week + extra for busy periods

Brasserie Style Restaurant / Kitchens

Usually brasserie style restaurants will be open all day and the shifts need to cover the whole day. Often early, late and all day shifts will need covering here.
40 – 48 hours per week + extra as needed for busy periods.

My Personal Experience Working Hours

I have personally worked in all of these style of restaurants and kitchens. These hours are common hours worked by chefs.

There are periods where I have worked up to 80 hours per week. However, this was my choice to do so.

The times I have worked extra days I would have usually been asked to do so first.

How Many Hours Does Chef Work A Day

The hours a chef works in a day depends on the shift patterns of that business. In most kitchens out there 8 – 9 working hours is common.

However, moving into higher end kitchens 10,12,14 hour days become more common.

Often, when working 12 – 14 hour days the week can be a 4 day working week.

Average Chef Working Times

The average working times for a chef are around 9 hours per day. The hours worked over the day depends on the shift pattern.
For example, a standard 7 day week could be:

  • 1 Early
  • 1 Late
  • 3 Splits
  • 2 Days off

However, during busy periods or staff cover. The chef could find themselves working a split on a scheduled day off. Or being asked to work a 6 day week.

How Many Hours Do Chefs Work In The UK

Common shifts include:

  • Split Shifts
    The split shift is a shift that works in two parts an early and late shift. This shift will have a break between the two parts.
    Example of a split shift: 0900 – 1400 | 1730 – 2130 = 9 hours
    This style of split shift is great if you live close to your workplace.
  • Early Shift
    The early shift example: 0700 – 1600 = 9 hours
  • Late Shift
    Late shifts could run from 1400 – 2300 = 9 hours
  • All Day Shifts
    All day shifts in a restaurant example: 1000 – 2200 = 12 hours

The all day shift can also be known as a double and the times can vary slightly. However, during this shift breaks can be taken throughout the day.

There will be quieter times when breaks are taken. And at busy service times all chefs will be working in the kitchen.

Hotel Chef Working Hours

This depends on the kitchen in the hotel. Large hotels can have a selection of restaurants and a large kitchen team.

Breakfast Chef              –  0600 – 1500

Staff Canteen Chef       –  0700 – 1500

Restaurant Chef            – 1000 – 2200

The smaller hotels will have a smaller kitchen brigade. These chefs will cover what is needed from a main kitchen. However, there maybe satellite kitchens for banqueting and functions.

Do Chefs Get Breaks

How breaks are taken as a chef will depend on the companies process. When working in hotels taking breaks can be more structured. The size of the kitchen team will impact the way breaks are taken.

Breaks will also depend on seasons. For example, during the quiet periods taking breaks can be more lenient. However, during the busy periods there may be strict times when breaks can be taken.

Example Of Breaks In Different Kitchen Teams

Large Hotel London
Structured breaks throughout the shift.
Example: 10 mins – 30 minutes for lunch/dinner – 10 mins

Brasserie Stye Restaurant
Breaks taken around service times on a 9 hour shift.
Example: 20 mins before lunch / dinner service. 20 mins after lunch/dinner service.

Do Chefs Get Days Off

Yes, chefs do get days off! The days all depend on the style of kitchen you are working in.

Examples Of Days Off In Two Styles Of Kitchens

Medium Sized Event Caterer
Event caterers can mainly work Monday to Friday with Saturday or Sunday as needed. For example, during the spring and summer there, maybe a couple of Saturdays every month that need to be covered.
Standard Days: Monday – Friday with weekends off.
During the busy season 5 out of 7 days or overtime paid for.

Restaurant In A Large Hotel
In hotels there needs to be a chef team on every day of the week. Therefore, chef de parties will be working 5 out of 7 days. Days off will alternate each week as shifts need to be covered.

How Many Hours Do Chef’s Work A Week

This is where working in hotel/restaurants can be long weeks.
For example. When working 2 days off over 7 days there can be times when you work a longer run than 5 days. (A typical working week)

Example, The rota’s week starts on a Monday
Yes a Monday, the working rota doesn’t always start on a Monday!

A Two Week Rota With A 10 Day Long Run!


L – Late Shift
E – Early Shift
S – Split Shift

However, the good news is…. The following week could be Monday and Tuesday off. This will be a 4 day off run!!

How Many Hours Does A Chef Sleep

Sleeping can be difficult at times. The random shift patterns in some kitchens can make it hard to get into a sleep routine. However, this can depend on the style of kitchen you’r working in. Some kitchens have a constant shift pattern, this can also depend on the role.

For example, working as a breakfast chef in a hotel the shift can be 0600 – 1500 with two days off during the week.

Whilst working in a busy restaurant finishing a late shift at 2200 and starting the next day at 0800. In this case you could find it hard to sleep any more than 4 – 5 hours sleep.

What Happens When A Cook Walks Out

Chefs walking out does happen during working shifts. However, this is not very common. What you may find is, you’ll be working one day and a chef just doesn’t turn up for a shift due to sickness.
This can impact how many hours chefs work that week.

What can happen is a chef may have an injury at work. This can result in the chef not being able to carry on working their shift. This puts pressure on the rest of the chef team as the shifts may need covering at short notice.