Spotlight

Banquets and Catering

These professionals make sure that the food, setting, and service for special events go off without a hitch.

Careers in banquets and catering require strict attention to detail and the ability to transform a customer's wishes into an event to remember. A culinary background is helpful in understanding customer needs and communicating those needs to the kitchen staff. Being multilingual is often helpful.

Strong interpersonal and listening skills are keys to successful catering operations. The ability to work diplomatically alongside different personalities is crucial. Maintaining excellent customer service is a top priority in this business.

Brandon Marshall, Catering Director

What is your current position?

I am the Director of Catering for the Quorum Hotel Tampa.

Describe your job.

My team and I are responsible for the food and beverage sales and marketing. I oversee two fulltime catering sales/convention servicepeople, do administrative work, and work closely with the Director of Sales Marketing on marketing and advertising campaigns.

How did you find your current job?

I came up through the food and beverage ranks, from washing dishes, to cooking, to kitchen management, to front of the house, to operations management, to sales, and now to director.

What education did you receive?

I majored in Hospitality Management at Johnson & Wales University and received a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Sales and Meeting Management. My education gave me real-world experience that has been the basis for my career.

Describe your on-the-job training.

My first experience working in a hotel was at the Radisson Airport Hotel. It was fast-paced. I worked directly with clients, and we had a really fun, hard-working team. My experience there helped prepare me for my current position.

Describe a typical work day.

I meet with our sales team daily to discuss sales initiatives, but otherwise, no two days are alike. I meet with clients, attend networking events, and work with our chef and operations team to design creative menus, decor, and set-ups. I also forecast and budget food and beverage sales.

What job skills are important?

My job affects the entire hotel, so understanding how all of the other departments work is incredibly important.

Career Ingredients

Education or Training

Most employers require a culinary degree and completion of business, accounting, and management courses. Restaurant experience is a plus.

Academic Skills Required

English Language Arts, Mathematics

Aptitudes, Abilities, and Skills

Knowledge of the foodservice industry; excellent interpersonal, leadership, planning, organizational, and computer skills; background in business math, accounting, and marketing.

Workplace Safety

Basic kitchen and dining room safety, sanitation, and food handling rules must be followed and enforced.

Career Outlook

Openings will be plentiful in years to come as the foodservice industry continues to expand.

Career Path

Advancement depends on skill, training, and work experience.

Career Pathways

Banquet captains

Often host catered events and greet guests. Maintain contact with clients to make sure they are pleased before, during, and after the event. Other duties include overseeing table set-up and service.

Banquet managers

Responsible for arranging and carrying out the foodservice plan. They help prepare menus, order equipment, coordinate room set-up, and schedule staff.

Chefs

Oversee food preparation activities and the kitchen staff for banquets and large catered events.

Catering directors

Ensure that all aspects of a catered event are carried out in a timely and orderly manner, making sure that all departments perform on schedule.

Catering sales managers

Work with customers in planning all aspects of an event, such as menus, table arrangements, and decorations.

Head servers

Coordinate all of the dining room activities for an event. They also supervise the service staff and assist with executing banquet plans.

Menu planners

Work closely with the executive chef to select the menu items that will be offered. A working knowledge of cost control, food preparation, and customer needs is essential.

Critical Thinking What classes have you taken in school that might help you prepare for a career in banquets and catering?

Many culinary certification programs focus on menu design and presentation. Develop a main dish for a menu that is appropriate for a 100-guest wedding. Be sure the dish is healthful, balanced, and sutiable for the occasion.

COMPETITIO

PRACTICE

Further develop your menu idea for a 100-guest wedding from the Get Certified practice. Create a three-course menu, considering all aspects, including the menu items, decorations, table set-up, design, and presentation. Evaluate your efforts based on the following rating scale: 1 = Poor; 2 = Fair; 3 = Good; 4 = Great Judge your menu on:

• The appearance of the menu and its design.

• Menu items selected and menu balance.

• Appropriateness for the occasion and number of guests.

Continue reading here: Standardized Recipes

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