April 3, 2023
Alipio Umiten IV

Catering Manager: Responsibilities, Qualifications, & Salary

The world of catering is filled with delicious food, stunning displays, and a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. Behind every successful restaurant catering event lies a dedicated and talented Catering Manager who orchestrates every detail to ensure a flawless experience for their clients. 

In this blog post, we will delve into the role of a Catering Manager, exploring their responsibilities, qualifications, and the skills they need to excel in their position. We will also discuss the average salary range for this profession and provide actionable tips for becoming a top-notch Catering Manager. So, whether you are considering a career in this exciting field or simply seeking to improve your catering management skills, read on to discover the recipe for success in the world of catering management!

Revolution Ordering Demo

What Is a Catering Manager?

A catering manager is responsible for planning, organizing, and managing all aspects of catering events. They are in charge of creating menus and selecting food for events, negotiating contracts with vendors and caterers, managing staff and operations during an event, and making sure that the catering event runs smoothly. 

Catering Managers also ensure that the event is within budget and that all health and safety regulations are followed. They work with clients to plan their events and oversee all event preparations, such as event decorations, equipment setup, and coordinating with other vendors. 

Catering Manager Job Description

The Catering Manager is responsible for overseeing and coordinating all aspects of catering operations for an organization. Their duties include managing staff, creating menus, maintaining inventory, and ensuring customer satisfaction.

As a Catering Manager, you will oversee and manage the catering team, ensuring all staff are well-trained, motivated, and working efficiently. You will work with the team to create and execute menus that meet the specific needs of each client or event, including accommodating dietary restrictions or preferences.

In addition to managing the team, you will be responsible for maintaining inventory levels, ordering supplies and equipment, and ensuring that all food preparation and storage areas meet health and safety standards. You will also work closely with clients to ensure their satisfaction, responding promptly to their requests and addressing any concerns or issues that arise.

To excel in this role, you should have a strong background in food service management and a deep understanding of culinary techniques and ingredients. You should also have excellent communication and leadership skills and the ability to work effectively in a fast-paced environment.

As a Catering Manager, you will play a crucial role in ensuring the success of catering operations, delivering high-quality food and service to clients while managing staff and resources effectively.

Catering Manager Job Responsibilities

  • Oversee and manage all catering operations: As a Catering Manager, you will direct and coordinate the entire catering process, ensuring the smooth execution of events and customer satisfaction.
  • Develop and implement catering menus: Work closely with the culinary team to create diverse and appealing menus tailored to clients' needs, preferences, and budgets.
  • Coordinate with clients to determine their event requirements: Engage directly with clients to understand their vision for the event, discuss menu options, and finalize all necessary details.
  • Supervise catering staff: Hire, train, and manage a team of catering professionals, including chefs, servers, and support staff, ensuring they deliver excellent service and adhere to company standards.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with vendors: Collaborate with suppliers to source high-quality ingredients and supplies at competitive prices and maintain strong partnerships for ongoing business.
  • Monitor and control budgets: Track all catering expenses, manage budgets, and identify areas for cost savings and efficiency improvements.
  • Ensure compliance with health and safety regulations: Implement and enforce health and safety protocols for food preparation and handling, and maintain a clean, safe working environment.
  • Conduct post-event evaluations: Analyze feedback from clients and staff, and utilize this information to improve the catering services offered continuously.
  • Promote the catering business: Actively market the catering services to potential clients through various channels, including social media, networking events, and industry trade shows.
  • Stay current with industry trends and best practices: Regularly research and attend professional development opportunities to stay informed about the latest catering trends, menu ideas, and service techniques.
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures: Create and enforce standard operating procedures for the catering department to ensure consistent, high-quality service across all events.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Catering Manager?

To become a successful catering manager, you must possess a combination of education, experience, and skills. Here are the key qualifications:

1. Education: While a high school diploma may be sufficient for entry-level positions, having a diploma or degree in hospitality management, business management, or culinary arts is advantageous. Additionally, some catering managers may pursue certification, such as the Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE), to further enhance their qualifications.

2. Experience: Prior experience in the catering or foodservice industry is essential. Aspiring catering managers should gain experience in various roles, such as serving, cooking, or event planning, to develop a well-rounded understanding of the business.

3. Leadership skills: A catering manager must effectively lead a team of staff members, which requires strong communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.

4. Organizational skills: Managing catering events entails coordinating numerous details, including menu planning, staff scheduling, and venue setup. Excellent organizational and time management skills are crucial.

5. Customer service skills: A catering manager must build strong client relationships.  You should be able to listen to client needs, provide recommendations, and handle complaints or issues with professionalism and tact.

6. Financial management: Catering managers must be proficient in budgeting, cost control, and inventory management to ensure profitability and reduce waste.

7. Knowledge of food safety and sanitation: A thorough understanding of food safety regulations and proper sanitation practices is necessary to maintain a safe and healthy catering environment.

8. Flexibility: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and work under pressure is essential, as catering managers often deal with last-minute changes and unexpected challenges.

By possessing these qualifications, catering managers can effectively run their business operations and deliver a successful event. With the right experience, skills, and education, you can become a successful catering manager.


Catering Manager Salary

Various sources provide different estimates for the annual salary of a Catering Manager in the United States area. Glassdoor reports that the estimated total pay for a Catering Manager stands at $61,287 per year, with an average salary of $46,109 per year. These figures represent the median and stem from Glassdoor's proprietary Total Pay Estimate model, which relies on data collected from users.

Salary.com states that the average Catering Manager salary in the United States amounts to $52,289 as of March 28, 2023, with the typical range falling between $44,408 and $62,102. According to Indeed, a Catering Manager earns an average salary of $56,606 annually in the United States. Lastly, ZipRecruiter, as of March 27, 2023, cites that the average annual pay for a Catering Manager in the United States is $47,854.

Considering the various salary estimates provided by Glassdoor, Salary.com, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter, it's evident that the annual salary for a Catering Manager in the United States varies depending on the source.  The discrepancies in the reported figures could be due to differences in data collection methods, sample sizes, and regional pay rates.

To gain a better understanding of a Catering Manager's salary in a specific area, it may be helpful to consult local job postings, industry surveys, or even speak with professionals in the field. It's important to note that factors such as experience, education, certifications, and the size of the catering company can also influence a Catering Manager's salary. Additionally, benefits and bonuses may further contribute to the overall compensation package.

While the average annual salary for a Catering Manager in the United States can range from $44,408 to $62,102, the specific compensation for an individual in this role will depend on various factors, including location, experience, and the company they work for.

How to Be a Great Catering Manager

To become a great catering manager, there are several key strategies to implement. From mastering communication skills to fostering a positive work environment, these tips will help you succeed in the fast-paced catering industry. Here are some actionable steps you can take to excel as a catering manager.

1. Master the Art of Communication

To be an exceptional catering manager, communicate effectively with your team, clients, and vendors. Make your expectations clear, offer constructive feedback, and actively listen to concerns and suggestions.

2. Develop Strong Organizational Skills

Keep everything in order by staying on top of schedules, budgets, and inventory. Create detailed plans, allocate resources efficiently, and ensure a smooth event execution.

3. Foster a Positive Work Environment

Motivate and inspire your team by demonstrating a supportive attitude and leading by example. Encourage a sense of camaraderie, and offer regular praise and recognition for achievements.

4. Stay Informed On Industry Trends

Actively research current and emerging trends in the catering industry. Attend industry conferences and workshops, and incorporate new ideas to keep your offerings fresh and innovative.

5. Build and Maintain Client Relationships

Prioritize exceptional customer service by being responsive to client needs and preferences. Follow up on inquiries, address concerns promptly, and provide personalized service to build lasting relationships.

6. Train and Develop Your Team

Invest in your staff's professional growth by offering training and development opportunities.  Encourage them to enhance their skills and empower them to take on new responsibilities.

7. Focus on Quality and Presentation

Strive for excellence in food quality and presentation. Consistently review recipes and presentation techniques to ensure they meet or exceed client expectations.

8. Implement Efficient Processes

Continuously evaluate and streamline your operations to increase productivity and reduce costs. Implement best practices and utilize restaurant technology to enhance operational efficiency.

9. Monitor and Control Event Execution

Oversee every aspect of event planning and execution. Collaborate with your team to ensure timely setup, impeccable service, and seamless breakdown.

10. Evaluate and Improve Performance

Regularly assess your team's performance and identify areas for improvement. Learn from past events, implement necessary changes, and strive for continuous growth and excellence.

Revolution Ordering Demo

Frequently Asked Questions About Catering Manager

What Is Catering Management?

Catering management is a hospitality profession that encompasses planning, organizing, and executing catering events.  It requires strong attention to detail and organizational skills, as well as an understanding of customer service, food and beverage operations, budgeting, and marketing.

What Skills Are Needed for Catering?

Catering is a skill-intensive service that requires knowledge in a variety of areas. The most important skills for catering include customer service, event/party planning, cooking and food safety, communication, and problem-solving.

What Does a Catering Manager Do On a Daily Basis?

On a daily basis, a catering manager actively oversees the planning, organization, and execution of catering events.  They communicate with clients to understand their needs and preferences, then design customized menus accordingly.  By coordinating with kitchen staff, the catering manager ensures that all dishes are prepared and presented to the highest quality.

In addition to managing the culinary aspects of events, the catering manager supervises the front-of-house staff, providing clear instructions and training to ensure excellent customer service.  They manage budgets, negotiate with suppliers, and purchase necessary ingredients and equipment to fulfill the catering requirements.

Furthermore, a catering manager diligently handles event logistics, such as setting up and breaking down the venue, coordinating transportation, and ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations.  They also continuously monitor and evaluate their team's performance, implementing improvements when necessary to guarantee client satisfaction and business growth.