Careers in Hospitality Catering
If you're wild about food and passionate about serving people, then a hospitality catering career may satisfy you. Jobs include those related to cooking, planning, marketing, sales, or direct customer contact. All of the featured careers listed below expect average or even faster growth from 2018 to 2028. This also means that there should be plenty of room for advancement in these professions.
|Position||Median Yearly Wages (2018)*||Job Growth (2018-2028)*|
|Banquet Servers||$21,750 (food and beverage serving and related workers)||14% (food and beverage serving and related workers)|
|Catering Cook||$48,460 (chefs and head cooks)||11% (chefs and head cooks)|
|Catering Coordinator||$49,370 (meeting, convention, and event planners)||7% (meeting, convention, and event planners)|
|Catering Marketer||$132,620 (advertising, promotions, and marketing managers)||8% (advertising, promotions, and marketing managers)|
|Catering Sales||$124,220 (sales managers)||5% (sales managers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics
Career Information for Hospitality Catering Jobs
One of the easiest entry points into this profession is working directly with people as a catering/banquet server. As a server, you would be responsible for delivering food in a timely manner at catered events. This can include: weddings, corporate-sponsored events, or private events like parties or special ceremonies. In addition to serving food and drinks, the server must also have stellar communication and listening skills to make sure each guest's needs are taken care of; and they must also prepare the room/tables for the guests, maintain the cleanliness of the environment and break it down when the event is over. Because this is an entry-level position, no degree is required. However, catering companies often prefer to employ someone with previous food-service experience and at least a GED/high-school diploma, which is why many transition into this field from the fast food service industry.
The catering cook is usually experienced and must be extremely flexible and familiar with a variety of food specialties. He or she is responsible for preparing food according to the client's food requests. At times, food may need to be prepared off-site, and the catering cook must also ensure each meal is delivered to the guests in a timely fashion. Although a culinary degree is not required, it can help one advance more quickly in this profession.
Servers can often transition into management in this field as a catering coordinator. Beyond having a passion for customer service, this person must be well adept at overseeing food preparation and presentation, coordinating the decor and event planning, maintaining inventory of items needed for the event, working with outside vendors and supervising the entire staff. The catering coordinator responsibilities may also include welcoming guests, liaising with vendors, managing event budget, and ensuring that the kitchen meets sanitation standards. To excel as a coordinator, you should have an associate's or bachelor's degree in hospitality, business, or culinary arts.
If you have a knack for business, you may want to become a catering marketing professional to help develop strategies to promote the business to potential clients, such as hotel or wedding planners. This position also requires the person to know how to create and execute both on and offline marketing campaigns to reach customers. This career does not require any specific certification; however, the American Marketing Association offers a Professional Certified Marketer certification, which is optional. If one plans to move along the career ladder in this profession, then a bachelors or masters in marketing or business can help one attain this goal.
If selling is your game, then you may want to consider a career in catering sales for a venue like a banquet hall or hotel. In this position, you typically would be required to conduct sales presentations to obtain new clients; maintain relationships with existing clients; negotiate services and prices to maximize revenue; attend trade shows and local events to promote the facility; and conduct property tours. While a degree is not mandated for this profession, one must have strong skills in sales and communication, along with a solid background in the food and beverage industry.