A catering manager is responsible for the overall operation of a catering facility. This involves not only running the catering facility during an event, but also handling all the preparation before the event and after as well. A catering manager should work closely with clients to ensure their event is a success, and follow up with the client to get feedback after the event itself as well. Catering managers not only manage client relations but also maintain employee and vendor relations to run a successful catering facility.
The catering manager is responsible for assisting in the planning of events for clients. Some aspects of planning can include helping the client find other service providers such as disc jockeys, limousine companies, photographers, videographers and wedding planners. A catering manager should develop a list of other professionals in these fields and provide them as referrals to clients. The catering manager should offer to either provide this list or to book these service providers for the client.
The catering manager should be available to clients at all times during their events. He should be out on the floor where he is easily visible. The back of the house, which is the kitchen area, should be managed by a kitchen manager or the chef of the catering facility during the actual event. The catering manager should ask the client for a central contact during the event. He should check in with that person periodically during the event. If the staff falls behind serving food for the client, the catering manager should help the service staff on the floor.
The catering manager is responsible for the appearance of the catering hall before and during the event. She should work with clients to determine how many people are attending each event and what type of seating the client would like. The catering manager should then design a room layout for the client that meets the client's seating needs and any entertainment needs, such as having a dance floor available or setting up equipment for audio visual presentations during the event. If the client has special requests for decorations, the catering manager may need to contact outside vendors to help supply equipment. One example of this would be if the client is hosting a casino night and needs to have casino table games set up at the catering facility.
The catering manager should work with both his chef and the client to choose a proper menu. The manager should have a list of the foods that his kitchen can create for the client along with the pricing. He should have the chef attend the menu planning meeting with the client in case the client has any special requests that may not be on the standard menu, or in case the client wants to have input from the chef on food suggestions. The catering manager should prepare examples of common menus for a client before the meeting and arrange to offer samples of the food at menu planning meetings.
The catering manager is responsible for the daily operations of her catering facility. This means that the position must train and schedule staff to work events. The catering manager must make sure he or she has enough staff to work an event and match the personality of the staff to the personality of the client. Some waiters and waitresses can interact with the client more effectively for specific types of events and this should be a consideration when scheduling. Some staff members work better maintaining a buffet table and others that excel at table service. The catering manager should know the skills of his or her staff and use that to help with selecting the event staff for each event.
The catering manager is responsible for ordering the food for the restuarant. The position should keep in constant contact with his vendors. These vendors do not include only food providers but also other services, such as linens and equipment suppliers. The catering manager is responsible for comparing the prices of different suppliers and making sure he is getting the best service for the money. He or she should attend catering fairs from time to time to meet new vendors and keep up to date on the latest food and cooking supply trends.
New catering managers can expect a salary of roughly $30,000 to start. Catering managers with 10 years of experience tend to make about $50,000. And with 20 or more years of experience, catering managers can make $55,000. These are just averages, however, and pay scales can fluctuate greatly depending on a number of factors, including market, company, company demographic and experience.