Caterer Job Dsecription
Caterers work as part of a team to prepare food and serve dishes at events. They typically work at events such as weddings, galas, parties, and receptions. Caterers report to a manager and help train new employees. They may also direct staff as necessary. Caterer positions are offered both full-time and part-time. In addition, caterers are typically expected to be available on call and to work late nights, early mornings, and on weekends. This job is fit for those who enjoy working with food and those with a positive attitude who work well with within a team.
Caterer Duties and Responsibilities
Specific job duties for caterers vary based on their employer and event needs. Based on job postings, there are several core tasks common to all caterers, such as:
Prepare and Serve Food
Caterers prepare meals and serve food. They follow recipes, handle produce, and ensure that orders are prepared accurately. They make sure that food is served in a timely fashion while providing excellent customer service to their customers.
Ensure Health Regulations
Since caterers work with food, they must follow food and safety regulations. This job requires that caterers frequently wash their hands, wipe their work stations, and follow appropriate guidelines when cooking.
Caterers prepare menus for events. Customizing the menu as necessary, caterers decide which food items to include on the menu. They also discuss pricing with clients.
Take Orders and Provide Customer Service
While working at events, caterers take orders. They provide a high level of customer service while interacting with guests. They ensure that all customer complaints and comments are properly handled.
Clean Up Events
When events are finished, caterers oversee clean up. To keep the workplace clean, caterers bus dishes, empty trash cans, and wipe down surfaces. They ensure that the venue is presentable and free of clutter.
Caterer Skills and Qualifications
Caterers are constantly on their feet working in a fast-paced environment. Working with customers, caterers have an innate ability to communicate with others and exhibit an upbeat personality. In addition to having prior experience working with food, caterers possess the following skills and qualifications:
- Physical Dexterity – Caterers prepare meals, serve food, and clean up after events. This position requires physical dexterity, as caterers are expected to stand for long periods of time in addition to lifting, carrying, pulling, and pushing while on the job
- Cooking Experience – Caterers know how to navigate the kitchen while following health and safety guidelines. With experience handling food, caterers follow recipes and handle the preparation involved in cooking
- Attention to Detail – Ensuring that meals are accurately prepared and served to appropriate guests, caterers maintain a careful attention to detail. They are attentive in making sure that food is presentable, and they follow recipes without missing steps or ingredients
- Sanitation – Working with food, caterers understand sanitation guidelines. While preparing meals, caterers wash produce as necessary and ensure that dishes are thoroughly cleaned
- Service Skills – Providing a high level of customer service, caterers attend to the needs of their clients. They appropriately handle comments and complaints, and they check up on customers to ensure satisfaction
Caterer Education and Training
There are no minimum educational requirements to become a caterer. Many employers require a food handler’s certificate in accordance with state guidelines and previous experience working in the food industry. Caterers might also attend degree programs that offer culinary training. On-the-job training is typically provided so that caterers know company-specific policies, such as rules for handling customers. Caterers are also walked through the various processes at their company and are given training to familiarize themselves with menu and food choices.
Caterer Salary and Outlook
According to Glassdoor, the average median salary for caterers is $21,000 per year. The lowest 10 percent in this field make under $17,000, while the highest 10 percent in this field make over $40,000. The average hourly rate a caterer receives is approximately $12, as quantified by PayScale. This rate is affected by job location as well as previous experience within the field.
Health benefits are not guaranteed with this position, as only 20 percent of caterers receive medical and dental coverage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that job growth should increase 9 percent through 2014 to 2024 for “Chefs and Head Cooks,” which includes catering chefs. This growth is attributed to the opening of new dining establishments as well as the increase in population.
Does pursuing a career as a caterer interest you? If so, check out these books and web resources to help you learn more about this position:
Secrets from a Caterer’s Kitchen – Written by Nicole Aloni, who has catered at events such as the Academy Awards and an intimate dinner for Julia Child, this book contains comprehensive tips and guidelines for caterers. Topics covered include menu preparation, venue location, and maintaining a budget.
Restaurant and Catering Magazine – Restaurant and Catering Magazine provides up-to-date news on the restaurant and food industry. The website contains helpful tips and guides for those who work in food service. It also features articles on food and drinks, restaurant design, and restaurant management.
The Professional Caterer’s Handbook – Written by Douglas Robert Brown, this book serves as a comprehensive guide on planning, starting, and operating a successful catering business. Covering the many processes involved in sustaining a catering business, this book serves as an excellent resource to those looking to learn more about the catering industry.
Alchemy Systems Blog – This blog contains many articles for restaurant and food industry workers. Popular topics covered on the blog include food safety, workplace safety, and restaurant operations. With helpful articles, this blog educates readers on processes and rules involved in the preparing and serving food.
Remarkable Service –This book, written by the Culinary Institute of America, informs readers of the importance of customer service. With increasing competition between dining establishments, high-quality service is necessary to maintaining customers. This book contains information and advice on catering operations, money handling, and table service. It also addresses challenges to providing excellent customer service.
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