A catering manager is a food and hospitality professional who oversees the catering segment of a business. Catering managers may work with restaurants, event sites, hotels, and even grocery stores to develop and supervise catering programs. Becoming a catering manager usually takes considerable experience in both management and the food and beverage service industry.
A catering business will necessarily handle all catering needs as part of its day to day work. Catering managers, on the other hand, tend to work in facilities where catering is one arm of a larger business. Hiring a talented manager for the catering wing can allow for efficient and profitable business from catering while allowing the rest of the business to focus on other services, such as full-scale wedding planning or restaurant service.
The job of a catering manager may vary from day to day and from business to business. Often, they will work with the chefs and food suppliers to craft a variety of catering menus for different events, from business brunches to luxury wedding dinners. They may craft a large part of the business plan for the catering wing, including financial goals, company appearance and mission, and focused areas of service. As a manager, he or she may be in charge of hiring all staff, from on-site chefs to transportation managers. Training staff in deportment and procedures, overseeing safety guidelines, and checking in with daily events may all be duties for the catering manager.
Catering managers often serve as the liaison between clients and the company. In this position, they need to have excellent interpersonal skills and creative abilities. Managers help create a good reputation for the company by being willing to work with clients to suit their budgets and needs. Working with clients, a catering manager may create sample menus, set up tastings, provide lists of related vendors, and manage billing and payment issues.
Catering rarely happens in a vacuum; events that need catering often need other services, such as table rentals, decor, flowers, and musicians. Part of a catering manager's job may include creating or improving a network of related contacts to help give clients a full menu of services. A catering manager may try to set up a list of references or even create special discount deals with other related businesses. Managers need to be extremely careful and selective when adding a business into their network; a bad florist can reflect poorly on the caterer who recommended him or her, even if flowers have little to do with food.