Do you love food? Are you an absolute stickler for top class customer service? Do you want to be the real-life version of Monica Geller from Friends? Well, you’re in the right place!
Catering managers are the big cheeses of the catering industry (pun intended). These food-obsessed dynamos are responsible for organising, planning and managing catering operations.
If you pursue a career in this area, you could work for an independent catering company that works on a contract basis for different organisations and events. Alternatively, you could work in-house for a large organisation, such as a school, university, hospital, prison, power plant or government building.
As a catering manager, you will be a team leader, menu planner, financial manager and a marketing executive all rolled into one. Basically, you will be in charge of everything, from staff training and promotion to business development and recruitment.
You’ll have complete budget control and you’ll be responsible for ensuring the overall financial success of the catering business. You may also have a hand in procurement, maintenance, and health and safety.
Salary & benefits
As a trainee catering manager, you’re likely to earn between £16,000 and £22,000 per annum. However, as you progress and take on more responsibility, your salary will increase to around £24,000.
Once you are given senior managerial responsibilities, you’re likely to earn £45,000 or more.
You will be required to work unsociable hours on a regular basis. Understandably, evening and weekend work is a regular fixture.
If you work for a contract catering company, you will also be required to travel around from event to event.
The majority of catering managers climb the career ladder from lower-level roles in the catering industry. Consequently, a degree is by no means essential for entry into this line of work.
A relevant degree or diploma, however, may give you the opportunity to progress a little bit quicker! A degree in catering management, hospitality management, business studies, food and nutrition, culinary arts, food technology or food management will give you an edge over other candidates.
Most importantly, it’s essential that you gain relevant work experience in the catering industry. For example, weekend work in a restaurant, gastro pub or fast food joint will certainly give your CV a boost.
Training & progression
If you work for a large organisation, such as a hotel chain, catering company or fast food empire, you may be put through a structured training programme at the beginning of your career, where you’ll learn about all aspects of the business, from health and safety to HR and marketing. If you work for an independent contract company, however, much of your training will be done whilst on the job.
You may also be required to attend courses which are offered by external training providers and organisations such as the Institute of Hospitality.
Once you have established yourself as an assistant catering manager, you will be given an opportunity to progress into a supervisory role with team management responsibilities. If you prove yourself in this capacity, you will eventually become a fully-fledged catering manager in charge of major catering operations and events.
Catering managers for large international companies may even get the chance to move overseas and work in a different location for the same organisation.
Eventually, you might choose to break out on your own and start an independent catering company. Alternatively, you could explore managerial opportunities in other areas of the hospitality , such as hotel or restaurant management.