A catering assistant generally holds an administrative position at a hotel, restaurant, catering company, or other establishment that provides food, beverage, and venue space for special events. Usually reporting to a director of catering, this individual usually helps catering sales managers secure future business as well as maintain the needs of a current client base. Screening incoming phone calls, filing, and vendor coordination for upcoming functions are also typical job responsibilities of a catering assistant.
The ability to work in a high-pressure, fast-paced environment is a trait shared by most individuals in the hospitality industry. A successful catering assistant is usually able to adjust quickly to changing priorities. For example, a wedding originally planned for 100 guests may increase in size only days before the event. When this happens, the assistant might be responsible for informing banquet staff and other departments so they can prepare for the increased guest count. This may also include ordering additional rental items to accommodate the new demand.
Usually, a catering assistant job is an entry-level position. It is normally an excellent introduction into the hospitality industry. There is often a great deal of exposure to various types of functions, all of which require attention to detail and close communication between the catering professionals and clients. As the contracted events draw near, administrative duties may increase. Floor plans are often created, menus may be selected, and inter-departmental meetings and communication about the event increases.
A person in this role usually has a lot of contact with customers. He or she may schedule meetings, confirm appointments for the catering sales staff, and screen incoming calls. Composing and mailing company brochures or sending out timely emails may also be included in the day-to-day job responsibilities of a person in this job.
There are often excellent opportunities for growth for the successful catering assistant. Promotions may include advancement to a catering sales position. Since many hotels and resorts own multiple properties, hospitality professionals find it easy to relocate, if desired, while receiving excellent benefits.
The hospitality industry is generally seasonal, but this can vary based on the location of the company. Consequently, a catering assistant's workload may fluctuate. For example, locales that frequently experience snowstorms in the winter often secure less business during those months, but are much busier in the warmer spring and summer months. In contrast, tropical areas that are more likely to experience extreme heat or inclement weather during the summer are sometimes less busy during that time of year, but often flourish in the winter.