Caterers are the professionals behind some of life's most important events, from weddings to graduation parties to business meetings. Caterers must create meals that not only taste good but also look great. These seasoned professionals prepare gourmet meals on the go, often without the convenience of a full-service kitchen or state-of-the-art appliances.
Sure, catering directors oversee an event's food service, but that's only the beginning. In fact, these professionals oversee virtually all aspects of an event, from planning to cleanup.
Typical Catering Director Job Duties
While specific duties often vary by position or work environment, there are a few duties most catering directors perform. These include:
Jobs for Catering Directors
A catering director's general duties can vary tremendously depending on title. Here are the most common catering management titles and their related duties:
Catering Director Work Environment
One of the great things about being a catering director is having the freedom to work in a variety of environments; after all, you could work anywhere that would support a great party. Still, most catering directors may work in one of the following venues:
Trends in Catering Management
Catering is by no means a new industry. In fact, according to the University of Connecticut, its roots can be traced back to 400 B.C. when prosperous China, Egypt, Greece, and Rome used early catering methods to feed soldiers. By the middle ages, people really knew how to throw a party, and entertainment-based catering services took off. By the 19th and 20th centuries, technical innovations, transportation improvements, and a growing population helped modern catering become what it is today.
Catering directors have always had to accommodate the trends of the times. Today, that means serving an increasingly food-savvy and environmentally conscious clientele. Menus featuring international cuisine, comfort foods, and farm-to-fork fare are in demand.
While food management professionals were historically taught on the job after serving a number of years in the industry, the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) notes that more employers than ever are recruiting professionals with formal training. This is particularly true for catering directors, which must have a certain degree of business acumen.
Types of Catering Management Degrees
There are a number of paths to becoming a catering director. Here are the most common credentials:
Catering director courses touch on a number of topics, including: nutrition, food preparation and planning, business, accounting, public relations, and sanitation.
Like most food management careers, the job outlook for catering directors is a mixed bag. On one hand, the BLS reports that new positions are expected to grow just 5 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is slower than the average for all occupations. On the other hand, food careers typically have tremendous turnover, so there is still an abundance of jobs for new catering directors.
How Has the Recession Affected Catering Managers?
It seems the sluggish economy has impacted most industries, and food management is no exception. Fortunately, some aspects of a catering director's job seem virtually recession-proof, though budgets have gotten tighter. A client will still hire a catering service for a wedding reception, for instance, but food and other services may be downsized.
As always, catering directors adjust with the times. Today, that means learning how to accommodate tighter budgets, finding good deals, and negotiating with vendors. It also means knowing how (and when) to cut overhead costs and staff.
It can be difficult to say for certain how much you can expect to earn as a catering director since salary varies by employer, typical event size and budget, and location. In general, however, one can expect to earn between $35,000 and $45,000. This number can increase dramatically with education and experience. You can also earn more by using your skills to launch your own catering service, though a business degree might be in order to help you succeed.
If a career in catering sounds like the job for you, browse Chef2Chef.net to learn more about becoming a catering director.
With an Art Institutes education, imagine what you could create.
Get hands-on training with Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America.
You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure