How to Become a Caterer

People gather around food for celebrations, events, weddings, parties or just a simple dinner party.

Being a part of these memorable events means that you will forever be a part of their memories.

If this sounds like something that interests you, consider what it takes to become a caterer.

If cooking for private clients, running a business and being your own boss is something that you picture yourself doing, then this is the right career for you.

Some may choose to work for an established catering company while others may operate their own business.

Whichever you choose there are always opportunities in every local market.

Education Requirements to Become a Caterer

There are not any strict education requirements to become a caterer.

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In high school you should choose courses in math, cooking, science and business.

Some other classes that are helpful are those in accounting, communication and planning.

Since cooking is a large part of becoming a caterer, it is worthwhile to take some formal cooking classes.

Many community colleges offer basic cooking and food safety courses.

Private culinary schools are also another option to gain the much needed culinary experience for a career as a caterer.

Most culinary programs also teach about the managerial aspects of the business along with food safety.

Contact your local college to find out if they are offering any classes near you.

Food safety is a very important aspect of catering.

Good food doesn’t mean anything if it is not safe to consume.

Local health departments are responsible for keeping the public healthy by allowing only certified individuals to serve food to the public.

The best way to find out about the restrictions in your area is to contact the local health department and ask for information on a food safety course for food handlers.

There usually is a short class required before a license can be given to serve food.

At this point it is also important to educate yourself on the inspection requirements that will oversee your future business.

Caterer Job Description

In simple terms, a caterer is a person that brings food to a venue.

There is prep work that goes in prior to the event, cooking the day of the event, transportation and clean-up.

The many steps in the process means that it is hard work, but it also means that there is a lot of different tasks to do.

Here are a few common job duties for those who operate their own catering business:

  • Prepping and cooking meals
  • Purchasing food and supplies for events
  • Basic management duties including overseeing a crew
  • Client consultations
  • Designing marketing campaigns
  • Ensuring food safety for clients

A common job description for someone that joins a catering company includes:

  • Prepping and cooking meals
  • Cleaning kitchen equipment
  • Set-up and transportation of cooked food
  • Train other employees

The job description will change from venue to venue depending on the clientele and location.

Every event that a caterer does is another opportunity to let the culinary talents shine through.

Traveling alone or in teams is a common part of the job description, as is lifting heavy equipment on a daily basis.

Caterer Salary and Career Path

The salary of a caterer is around $28,000 to $35,000 a year.

The location, company, cuisine and event type are all important factors when determining how much a caterer can earn.

Those that work for an established company will be paid by the hour or by the event.

Some companies may give referral bonuses to employees that bring in new business.

Also, it is not uncommon to get tips as a caterer which brings up the average pay.

Those that operate their own business can earn much more as their business expands.

Some top catering company owners can make over $50,000 a year.

Some common places for a caterer to work are in resorts, casinos, event centers, golf courses, restaurants and stores.

In some tourist areas, a caterer may only work a few months out of the year when they are most in need.

This model means there is vacation time integrated into the working schedule.

There are many different jobs that can help to become a caterer which include:

Since there are so many different types of catering, there are also many different jobs leading to this career.

While it is important to remember that there is not a specific education requirement for cooking, there is a strict requirement for obtaining a food handlers permit.

Opening a catering business is probably one of the most rewarding careers out there as you control all aspects of the business and you are being a part of someone’s memories.

Start cooking your way to a career as a caterer today.

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