Catering Assistant Job Description
Catering assistants prepare food, stock supplies, and clean work areas. They typically work alongside caterers at events such as conferences, galas, and weddings. Positions are typically offered both full- and part-time, and it is common for catering assistants to work early mornings, late nights, and on weekends. Catering assistants work with managers and offer support to chefs and servers. Working within a team, catering assistants have strong communication skills. Those who are well-suited to this position enjoy working with others and are excellent multitaskers.
Catering Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
While a catering assistant’s day-to-day duties and responsibilities are determined by where they work, there are many core tasks associated with the role, such as:
Assist in Food Preparation
Catering assistants help prepare food in the kitchen. They carry out basic food preparation tasks such as washing and peeling produce, making sauces and dressings, and slicing and cutting meat. When necessary, catering assistants handle machinery.
Schedule Catering Orders
Catering assistants maintain the schedule for catering orders. Keeping track of the schedule, they communicate with clients and ensure that availabilities are open for scheduled catering events.
Set Up Catering Events
At venues, catering assistants set up the event area. They position tables and chairs and ensure that utensils are prepared. They set up banners, tents, and other relevant items in off-site catering events.
Maintaining inventory, catering assistants ensure there is no shortage of supplies. When supplies and ingredients run out, catering assistants order more. When deliveries come in, catering assistants unload the supplies and organize the stock room.
Handle Bill Inquiries
Catering assistants deal with billing for clients. They accept deposits when new orders come in, and they discuss the price of catering services with customers.
Catering Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Working in a fast-paced environment, catering assistants assist in many processes for catered events. Organized and efficient, they frequently multitask and create schedules. In addition to having prior experience working with food, catering assistants possess the following skills and qualifications:
- Physical dexterity – having to stand for long periods of time, they also lift, pull, carry, and push items; bending, kneeling, and stooping are necessary for some functions of this position
- Hygiene – working with food, catering assistants pay attention to hygiene; cleaning up, they follow procedures for proper sanitation; they wash their hands and maintain a presentable appearance when preparing or serving food
- Customer service skills – maintaining a friendly and personable attitude, catering assistants answer customer questions and respond to complaints appropriately
- Teamwork skills – working as part of a team, catering assistants communicate effectively with other staff members to ensure catering events run smoothly, and they help out chefs, servers, and caterers
- Food handling experience – catering assistants work in the kitchen to help prepare food. Their duties include working with dry ingredients, washing and cutting produce, and preparing sauces and dressings following directions to ensure the accurate preparation of food. Adhering to health and safety guidelines, catering assistants follow recipes and directions to ensure the accurate preparation of food
Catering Assistant Education and Training
There are no minimum educational requirements to be a catering assistant. Depending on state guidelines, employers may require a food handler’s certificate. Most employers look for catering assistants with at least one year of experience working in the food industry; however, many employers are also willing to train those who have no experience at all. On-the-job-training typically includes walking through various company processes and learning about food recipes and menu items. Most employers also instruct catering assistants of company policies and rules.
Catering Assistant Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for catering assistants is $26,000. The lowest-earning ten percent in the field make less than $21,000. Meanwhile, the highest-earning ten percent make over $39,000.
Do you want to learn more about being a catering assistant? Here are some resources to get you started:
Professional Event Coordination – By Julia Rutherford Silvers, this book covers all aspects of the event planning process. The book is interspersed with useful checklists, tables, and sample forms. The book also includes applicable exercises in event coordination which help build key skills and test readers’ knowledge.
Catering: The Art, Science, and Mystery – Written by Michael Roman, who has over fifteen years of hands-on experience working as a caterer, this book outlines the skills needed to become a successful caterer. The book includes more than 1,000 tips to guide readers toward growing their catering skills and is a helpful resource for those looking to learn more about the catering industry.
Hospitality and Catering News – With up-to-date news on the restaurant industry, this site features popular restaurants around the world, highlighting what makes them successful. Hospitality and Catering News aims to bring together both customers and sellers in the food industry. The blog contains articles on caterers, chefs, suppliers, bars, and restaurants.
CaterSource – CaterSource delivers news and education about the catering industry and offers advice for catering professionals to grow their careers. Topics covered on the site include style and décor, recipes, food safety, and event solutions.
National Restaurant Association – The National Restaurant Association is a foodservice trade association that supports over 500,000 restaurant businesses. It aims to “represent and advocate for foodservice industry interests.” Its website contains a wealth of information and resources on food and beverage trends, nutrition, cost management, and restaurant operations.
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