Job Description for a Catering Director
Are you curious about what it takes to be a Catering Director? What do they do and how can you prepare to be one? What kind of income can you expect? Read on for more information.
Catering Directors are responsible for running the day-to-day operations of catering in a variety of settings such as resorts, hotels and restaurants. They monitor the overall quality of all the food and service, maintaining a high standard while working within a budget and ensuring they comply with all hygiene requirements within the food industry.
A “day in the life” of a Catering Director includes some the following activities:
- Ensuring health and safety regulations are met and recorded.
- Hiring, training and supervising all fulltime and part time staff
- Planning menus alongside the chefs
- Ordering supplies and maintaining inventory
- Handling the financial and administrative records as well as monitoring the budget
- Scheduling shifts and assignments for staff
- Meeting with suppliers and customers
- Handling customer contracts for large events
Additional duties include developing the events side of the business. That means soliciting local businesses, outside groups, conventions, weddings, etc. and responding to inquiries for those special events. You’ll need to be able to provide superb customer service, understand the customer’s requirements, choose the right venues and menus (as well as arrange food tastings) and ensure all the events are successful for staff and guests. You’ll need to be well-versed in proper table service, event set-up, table sizes and capacities as well as the appropriate table setting for casual and formal events and fine dining etiquette.
What’s the career path? To apply for assistant catering manager or even as a trainee manager, you will need a two or four-year degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and/or the equivalent experience in hospitality service, banquet/event management and strong understanding of food and wine. You may also need a local city certificate in food handling and an alcoholic beverage commission certificate.
To be successful, you’ll need to have strong problem-solving skills, be very organized and flexible to contend with unexpected changes and unforeseen situations. You must be a clear communicator who can give good verbal and written directions and exercise sound judgement. Having a positive attitude and willingness to step in and help the team whenever needed is critical to ensuring smooth operations… in other words, exhibit strong leadership skills.
You might start out as a catering assistant and work your way up. Over time, with more experience and qualifications, you’ll eventually take on more responsibility and will supervise the less-experienced staff. Following that experience, you can apply for the assistant manager position. Many companies offer trainee programs that will lead to this type of management role.
Who hires Catering Directors? Catering Managers/Directors work in all kinds of venues from hotels, restaurants and catering firms to hospitals/assisted living companies, schools, tourist attractions, non-profits, corporations, cruise ships, and airlines. You can also consider part time or seasonal work during holidays or weekends in most of these settings.
A Median Salary for a Catering Director at a large hotel chain with a 4-year degree in hospitality and 10 years of experience in the food industry is $60,000 (according to payscale.com). That can range up to $87,000 in a high-end venue in a high cost city like New York or San Francisco and include commissions or bonuses tied to increased event revenues. This is a salaried position and typically includes benefits, no overtime. Of course, this position can also lead to running your own restaurant or self-employment with your own catering company.