Everybody and their dog has heard about the catering industry, but what is it really all about? The catering industry is made up of businesses that provide mostly food, beverages and other services to a range of diverse clients, usually for special events. Catering industry jobs can vary from small personal intimate affairs, to large open events that involve providing not only food and beverage services, but also tableware, linens, service personnel and other aspects of the event, such as music and live bands.
Companies that provide catering services out there can be as large as a business with several locations, or as small as a seldom individual who provides catering services on his or her own. A caterer may be part of a business such as a restaurantor have his or her own specialised company, such as vegetarian or exclusive foods. Caterers might also make use of independent contractors for some features of their catering service.
Small or Large
Small dinners and banquets are certainly popular types of events for which a caterer has to provide their services. These events are sometimes set in someone’s home, a small restaurant or an outdoor venue. And some individuals will have a personal caterer who provides private catering services whenever it is required. At other times, a caterer will be hired specifically to cater to a large event such as a wedding, a family reunion or a corporate event.
Corporate catering is another dimension of the catering industry. These caterers are professionally skilled at working with large crowds of people and the requirements of corporate clients. They have good relations with catering wholesale suppliers, which make sense on such a scale. Events such as company picnics, holiday celebrations and functions held to entertain clients and customers, all can be handled by a corporate caterer. Usually, such companies have contracts with specific caterers so that company executives know the level of service and expertise that they will be getting.
Some restaurants also have a catering component. Many times, people know and enjoy the restaurant’s food so much that they want the same food to be served at an event they are going to host. Such restaurants may even have separate banquet facilities for this kind of purpose. Servers, linens, tables and chairs will most likely also be included in this type of catering service.
Independent caterers often make themselves well known by creating unique and delicious menus and by providing outstanding great service. Other such caterers will have their own location, personnel, linens and materials.
Along withthe actual catering of events, working in the catering industry will require other skills as well. The ability to make schedules, plan menus, order large quantities of necessary items, interaction with vendors and being able to provide excellent customer service are all important components of the job. Although hospitality training can be obtained in classes and will prove useful in the catering industry, it is also possible to acquire on-the-job training.