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Becoming a Caterer

Caterer Salary

Everyone knows what a good caterer can provide in terms of making any event a success. Often times, the first comments about a particular function tend to be “The food was ” or, unfortunately, …”not so good”. A caterer can make or break the success of an important event, and the caterers do well because they have earned the trust and confidence of their clients. Today, the competition between caterers is stronger than ever. However, those who can meet the growing needs of their clients with increasingly popular natural foods and healthier menus ultimately have an edge on their competitors. For this reason, a degree or certificate in natural foods catering can give you the skills needed to succeed in today’s catering environment.

Catering Duties

Often times, caterers work in specific areas of food or events. Others choose variety over any particular specialization. Some caterers work on their own, hiring assistance on a project-basis, while others join or begin their own company. A successful caterer will be able to excel in a variety of different tasks and chenges.

A caterer works closely with clients and customers, many times on a project-basis, to provide the following services for any number of different types of functions:

  • Design of Menu
  • Event Preparation of Dining Experience or Theme Including Supply Necessary Cooking & Dining Equipment
  • Food Preparation & Service
  • Event Breakdown & Cleanup
  • Sales & Marketing

Degree or certificate training in natural foods catering will provide the skills and experience needed to succeed in theses areas and more. Catering program graduates possess the tools to succeed over their competitors in the industry who do not possess this advantage. However, the caterers also possess skills that ow them to succeed independent of what they learn in the classroom. A good catering degree or certificate program will provide instruction to cultivate these skills, including creativity, both in the food and environment of the events they cater, social skills including client management and customer service, and business savvy for those that wish to take their catering business to that next level.

Natural Foods Catering Salary & Career Outlook

Catering is a fast growing industry. Although it has slowed from its peak in the 1990’s and early 2000’s where it was one of the fastest growing industries in the US, according to the Global Gourmet, an online catering industry monitor, it still outpaces most industries, including other food service industries, in North America. Institutional catering, most often including the catering business to colleges and universities, hospitals, nursing homes and business campuses, is the highest grossing catering business in 2010. However, social catering, the catering to civic groups, charities, corporations and businesses and individuals including weddings, birthdays and other special events, will be the fastest growing over the coming decade.

Over employment of caterers in the US is expected to be over 10 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, food and beverage supply workers could increase by nearly 800,000 people during this time, while the addition of natural and healthier catering companies should grow fastest of within the industry. According to Payscale.com, an online industry salary monitor, catering professionals and executives can expect to earn between $42,000 and $60,000 per year while those who own their own catering companies can expect significantly more.

A industry pay scale is listed below:

Natural Foods Catering Position
Annual Salary (2010)
Catering Sales Manager
Catering Manager
Banquet Manager
Catering Executive
Executive Chef

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            Culinary Management (BS)
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