The positions of catering manager and restaurant manager can overlap. Both jobs are labor intensive, with long hours and varied duties. In addition to training, industry work experience is generally required.
Catering and restaurant management degree programs prepare people to market, plan and run restaurants and other types of food service establishments. Students may choose either associate's or bachelor's degree programs in catering and restaurant management, or in related fields, such as hospitality. Graduates from these programs learn widely varying duties that can include hiring and firing employees, tasting and preparing food, coordinating kitchen and service workers, and supervising inventory of supplies and resources.
Careers in this field are fast paced and often require long hours, effective time management and the ability to work well in a team environment. People who have obtained a degree or training in catering and restaurant management might find work as catering managers or restaurant managers, among other possibilities.
|Career Titles||Catering Manager||Restaurant Manager|
|Education Requirements||Some postsecondary training preferred||Some postsecondary training preferred|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||Food service managers: +11%*||Food service managers: +11%*|
|Average Salary (2018)||Food service managers: $58,960*||Food service managers: $58,960*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Catering companies are usually private contractors who prepare and serve food and beverages for specific events including parties, ceremonies and receptions. They supervise the preparing and serving of meals, snacks and drinks. Catering managers direct and manage the tasks of caterers and catering servers, interact with clients, organize tastings before events, make hiring decisions and create weekly schedules.
They are often intermediaries between higher administrative personnel and catering employees, and part of their responsibilities might include communicating company policies and regulations to employees and new hires. Some catering managers may also have bookkeeping or accounting responsibilities.
Restaurant managers oversee restaurant functions, employees, finances and customer policies in restaurants. They help maintain the inventory, provide customer service, design the menu and set the policy for their specific location, while also coordinating activity amongst the floor, kitchen and customers.
Job Outlook and Salary Statistics
Opportunities in food service management were expected to grow much faster than average by 11% from 2018-2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Workers who hold degrees in hospitality or restaurant management should have the best career prospects. As of 2018, food service managers in general earned average annual salaries of $58,960, per the BLS.
While a high school diploma might get you in the door in the food service or catering industry, a position in management requires some experience, and some postsecondary training may be preferred by employers. Responsibilities can include hands-on work, customer relations, intra-company relations, book keeping, in addition to planning and overall supervision of company operations. Employment opportunities are expected to increase as fast as the national average for all occupations.