Catering coordinators plan catering needs for restaurants, businesses and public events. They work with restaurant or food service staff to coordinate catering operations. Catering coordinators usually have supervisory or food service experience, and can ensure an event is conducted in a timely and professional manner. They may work for restaurants or food service businesses, or be self-employed. Colleges, convention centers and many large corporations also employ catering coordinators.
Although not required, most catering coordinators have some secondary education in food service management. Most restaurant and food service companies offer hands-on courses in food service skills, culinary arts, nutrition and sanitation. Business and personnel management classes are also taught. Trainees are often recruited from two- and four-year vocational school programs and given rigorous on-the-job training in order to gain work experience in all aspects of food service.
Catering coordinators plan menus, prepare and decorate service areas and provide customer service for catered events. They receive the customer’s orders and follow up on requests to ensure customer satisfaction. Catering coordinators know their catering menus, and can provide necessary substitutions for allergies and other circumstances. They work with food service managers and estimate costs of food and other ingredients.
Many catering coordinators become chefs or start their own catering businesses. Some catering coordinators enter the event-planning industry and do party and other event planning. Catering coordinators may continue their education and become teachers in culinary schools.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects should be good for catering coordinators, although there will be competition for jobs at upscale restaurants that pay higher wages. Job growth will create new positions, and catering coordinators with excellent business sense will find good prospects at restaurant chains that need to keep costs down.
According to payscale.com, the average annual wage for catering coordinators ranged from $34,174 to $53,217 as of June 23, 2010. Catering coordinators with more years in service will receive higher salaries.
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