Hotels, resorts, and other catering facilities frequently employ one or more catering sales managers. The primary role of a person in this position is to promote and sell venue space, along with food and beverages, for all types of special events. He or she usually has extensive experience in planning parties, like wedding celebrations, awards banquets, fundraising galas, and other social and corporate functions. A catering manager does not just sell food, beverages, and space for an event, though — he or she sells an overall experience.
The catering sales manager is responsible for selling event space to prospective corporations or individuals who are planning large or small celebrations. This can be accomplished by offering tours of the property, while pointing out the benefits of hosting a function at the venue he or she represents. Location, amenities, menu options, and existing decor are all factors that may influence a buyer's decision.
Once an event is booked and confirmed at a venue, the catering manager usually arranges a menu tasting for the client’s approval. At that time, the party’s host is able to sample the proposed menu items that his guests may ultimately enjoy. Many times, the food and beverage manager and the chef will introduce themselves to the client during this meeting.
Once the menu is selected, a banquet event order (BEO) is created to outline the particular needs of the function. The BEO is basically a communication form sent out to all of the departments that have some involvement with the event. There are frequently numerous individuals that work in concert to ensure that carefully laid out plans are properly executed.
The catering sales manager is usually responsible for creating a floor-plan of the chosen space, such as a ballroom or a tent, if the event is to be held outdoors. It usually indicates where the tables will be placed, the size and location of the dance floor and stage, and other elements that may be used. Any additional power needed for the event is usually calculated and noted as well. If additional power is required for entertainment or specialty lighting, the catering manager is generally responsible for communicating this information, in advance, to the appropriate department.
On the day of the event, the catering sales manager is usually on-site while staff members are setting up. He or she acts as a point of contact for the client, event planners, and outside vendors. During the actual party, this individual generally works together with the assigned banquet captain to make sure everything runs smoothly.
As the title indicates, there is a heavy emphasis on the sales side of the industry. The catering sales manager is usually required to spend a considerable amount of his or her time acquiring new business, as well as maintaining communication with previous clients, in hopes of earning repeat business. This individual also networks at industry-related events to market the hotel or venue.