So, you’ve loved food all your life, and have finally come to the conclusion that you want to have a job that includes food. You’re interested in becoming a caterer, but aren’t sure of the details, the benefits, nor the negative aspects. Becoming a professional caterer, while exciting and enjoyable for those who have a creative eye and a love for food, can prove to include working long hours and having excellent customer service and math skills.
While no training is necessarily needed, having an Associates or Bachelor of Arts degree in Culinary Arts would definitely improve your skills, as well as any restaurant experience as a server or manager. As a caterer, you can often work from home; it’s a great job for those who want to be self-employed, but keep in mind, the start-up fee is often $10,000+.
For those whom don’t want to start their own business, there are catering businesses that require both experience in the food industry as well as some type of culinary training, usually in the form of a B.A. or Associate’s degree. As a catering manager, you would oversee the entire facility, as well as work with each customer, planning their entire event, and contributing the best of customer service.
A caterer has to make sure that he or she works well with people and has great interpersonal communication skills because it’s imperative to the job. As a catering manager, you might also be asked to have computer experience, team-building skills, as well as distinct attention to detail. Especially if you own your own business, you must have an eye for detail, in terms of bookkeeping, new ideas for party theme, and scheduling of events.
There are actually different types of caterers, and pros and cons come with each specialty.
- Mobile Catering – This type of catering is the newest trend; food trucks are the latest trend in party catering. While being a mobile caterer has low start-up fees, this can be challenging, considering your limited space and lack of brand awareness. One must be sure to do plenty of social media advertising and marketing for the city (or cities) which the truck covers.
- Business Catering – This is popular due to the fact that it’s year-round, versus special event and mobile catering, which is limited to warmer months. Also, if you get in with a corporate giant, they usually stay with who they like, and you’ll have a consistent flow of income.
- Special Events Catering – This form of catering is for the creative type of caterer; you get to show off your artistic skills. They provide food for weddings, anniversaries, and any type of event in which you can show off your innovative culinary abilities. However, you must be able to be laid-back and accept constructive criticism.
When it comes to entering the catering industry there are pros and cons, but if you have the right skills and abilities, and the love for event planning, becoming a caterer is just the right niche for you.