- Requires the ability to motivate and manage staff, and to keep calm under pressure
- With qualifications and experience, option to work as a catering manager in different sectors
- Option to study for a qualification in hospitality management
Catering managers plan, organise and develop the food and beverage services of organisations and businesses. They are responsible for meeting customer expectations and ensuring food and hygiene standards are met.
- Planning and developing menus to increase sales
- Recruiting, training and managing staff, organising shifts and rotas
- Financial planning
- Managing budgets and stock control
- Meeting suppliers and negotiating contracts
- Monitoring the quality of the service to customers
- Running the business in line with health and safety and food hygiene regulations
- Catering for special diets and meeting nutritional needs
You could work at a restaurant, at a school, in an NHS or private hospital, in an office or at a conference centre. During food service, you'll supervise the kitchen staff and the waiting staff, ensuring that the food goes out on time, and is of a high standard. Your working hours will depend on which sector you work in. If you're based in a school, your working hours are likely to be 9am to 5pm, term time only. In a hospital or nursing home, you'll usually work shifts to cover evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
If you work for a catering company covering functions such as weddings, you would also work weekends and bank holidays, and may have to work very late shifts. If you are responsible for the food service over a number of sites, then you may need to travel during the course of the day. This can be a physically active job, as you'll divide your time between your office, the kitchen and the dining areas.
This role is ideal for someone with excellent verbal communication skills, customer service skills and leadership skills.
There are no set requirements to become a Catering manager, but employers will expect you to have 4 or 5 GCSEs including English and maths.
Experience is highly valued, so it will help if you've worked in a professional kitchen in any role.
You could start as a kitchen assistant or trainee 'commis' chef and work your way up while learning on the job. You could apply for work with restaurants, bars or catering companies.
You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in useful subjects for this area such as, business and hospitality management, culinary arts or culinary management or hotel and catering management. You'll usually need 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma and 2 to 3 A levels for a degree.
You could also take professional catering qualifications at college then move into management. You could also do a Level 4 Diploma in Hospitality Management and find work as a trainee catering manager.
Alternatively, you could take a higher apprenticeship as a hospitality manager if you've got experience in catering and have also worked as a supervisor.
You'll need to get a food hygiene certificate and pass enhanced background checks for this role.
With experience you could move into larger organisations or those offering more specialised work like event catering.
You could also progress to head of catering or operations management roles. In hotel chains, there could be opportunities to progress to director of food and beverage operations.
You could also study for further qualifications in hospitality. Another option is to start your own contract catering business, or move into other areas of management, such as marketing, sales, human resources, training and facilities.