Do you want to turn your passion for food into a career, whilst playing the vital role of keeping people happily fed and watered? Then take a look at this day in the life of a catering manager – a hospitality career which may well be perfect for you!
What is the job description of a catering manager?
As a catering manager, you may be employed in a specialised catering business, or be tasked with overseeing the catering operations of an organisation or venue. Catering managers can be found working everywhere from hotels and restaurants, to schools, hospitals, cruise ships, large corporate businesses and even prisons. Generally, job responsibilities include:
- Planning food menus together with cooks/chefs
- Training, supervising, hiring and managing staff
- Creating staff schedules
- Ordering supplies for day-to-day operations and special events
- Upholding the quality of your products and services
- Working within budgets and keeping financial and administrative records
- Ensuring that health and safety regulations are adhered to
The most important skills needed for this job are organisational, time management, leadership and communication skills. You also need to have the ability to work under pressure, as people are relying on you to deliver good quality food in a timely and efficient fashion.
An example of a catering manager’s day
The catering industry is so broad that there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” day. Hours can vary wildly – from irregular shifts at unusual hours for people working at hotels and restaurants, to more regular hours at corporate offices or places with scheduled meal times.
If, on the other hand, you’re freelancing or working for a specialist catering company, then your schedule is more likely to be dictated by which events you’ll be catering for in any particular week. You may have to be at a wedding all day on one day, and at a conference the next.
We will explore what a day could look like for a catering manager working regular hours at places such as offices, schools or hospitals:
08h00 – You will most likely start with a meeting with your cooks and assistant caterers, to discuss the day’s activities and review the food menu. You’ll also ensure that you have all the supplies needed for the day ahead, and check whether any changes need to be made to your menu.
08h30 – There might be an order coming in which you will have to receive, or you may need to put in an order for new catering supplies, fresh produce or other foodstuffs.
09h00 – You may need to quickly check your emails for any important correspondences, or to do some admin work relating to budgets or setting up staff rotas.
09h30 – You may have to make sure that any dishes left over from breakfast (in the case of a place such as a hospital or school hostel) are cleared up, and then start preparing for lunch. You could be overseeing the preparation of food, sorting of cutlery, setting of tables, measurement of food quantities and the catering to different dietary requirements.
12h30 – You might be occupied for one or two hours catering to the lunchtime rush in the cafeteria! You need to make sure that your team has prepared the food properly, and that everything is ready to be served to the diners. You may have to juggle your time between the kitchen and the dining area, to ensure that all activities are running smoothly.
14h00 – Time to supervise the clearing up after lunch, and hopefully grab a quick lunch break yourself!
16h00 – You may have to spend the last hour or so of the day doing a little bit more admin work. You may need to look at the menu for the next week, review the progress made by any new staff members, or work on setting up the staff rota.
Catering managers generally have busy and high-paced jobs, but the rewards you get from making people happy with food – and seeing your staff members grow under your leadership – make it all worth it!
Reach for your dream of being a catering manager with these courses from Oxbridge Academy: