How to Become a Catering Manager

is an interesting career choice for someone who aspires to work in the food services business, and wants the option to be more mobile, or to start their own business. 

Job Overview

Many catering managers simply serve under the owner of another catering business. But starting your own catering business is an option if you wish to be in charge of your own business and hire people to work under you. T

he typical environment for a catering manager is in a hotel or restaurant. They specialize in working in the catering wing of a restaurant or hotel, which is ordered by guests for special events where food is served to a separate location from the establishment.


The requirements for becoming a catering manager include a degree or certification in food services management, background as a kitchen manager, dining room manager, or similar jobs.

Typical Education

The typical education for a catering manager includes either a four-year degree in the culinary arts, food services, or hospitality. Coursework should focus on managerial duties, as well as on providing excellent service in the food industry.

An Alternate Route

If you do not wish to pursue a four-year degree, you could obtain an Associate of Arts degree (two-year) program in food services and hospitality and gain experience in various positions in restaurants or hotels before moving into the position of catering manager.

To obtain a career in the catering manager business, follow these general steps to get started:

1) Get a degree or certificate in the food services or culinary arts fields, with a secondary emphasis in management and hospitality. People who are effective catering managers know how to juggle a number of things, are highly organized, and friendly in their manner. This is because they have to plan with a great deal of detail, serve a large number of people efficiently, and keep a friendly demeanor. So it is a good idea to get an education in these areas to better prepare for this career.

2) Get a job on any level in a restaurant or hotel. The more experience you get on any level in a restaurant or hotel, the more you can present yourself as an expert in the food services industry, which is required to become an efficient catering manager. A catering expert is able to do a number of things, including cooking, organizing, and coordinating activities.

3) Volunteer to cater events, even if you have to do it for free. Find out if any of your area civic clubs are planning events in the near future. Offer to cater for them for free or for "a donation." Once you get a reputation out as an expert caterer, you may be asked to come back and repeat the performance, this time for pay!

4) Apply to a management program with a hotel or restaurant. By applying to a formal manager training program, you will show your current employer that you are interested in moving into a managerial role, as well as obtaining the skills necessary to do the job.

5) Start your own catering business. As mentioned before, after you gain some experience catering, you may want to try to establish your own catering business. If you have a few dollars to invest, or can get others to help you financially, you could start your own catering business, rather than working for someone else. This does not happen overnight, but little by little, you can build a reputation as an excellent caterer, and your client base will grow with time.

A career that is both more mobile and more versatile in the food services industry is that of a catering manager. You get to work special events, arrange elaborate dining settings for weddings or special events, and cater to a host of interesting parties and special occasions.

Caterers are needed for weddings, political events and dinners, corporate meetings, and many others. You may be waiting on guests who are prominent or well-known. Or, if you keep it small, it may just be your town mayor. Either way, it is a an exciting and rewarding career for anyone wishing to pursue this field.

Start with a great education from a school you trust and major in food services and hospitality. The only thing stopping you is your desire to do it. So what are you waiting for? Go for it!

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