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What Does a Catering Supervisor Do?

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  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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A catering supervisor is in charge of organizing and overseeing most catering industry operations, from drawing up service contracts to food delivery and site set-up. The supervisor is usually the fist person that prospective clients meet with in order to book events. He or she is also usually in charge of setting pricing structures and ensuring that projects stay on budget. In some respects, the job is similar to that of a catering manager. Most of the time, though, a supervisor is a more senior position that deals with finances and business management as well as event coordination.

In the hierarchy of the professional food prep and delivery world, a catering supervisor is near the top. This person is usually responsible for overseeing every operation of a catering business. Hiring and training servers, working with chefs to set menus, and managing the master calendar all come within the purview of the job. In most cases, the catering supervisor is also on hand during events to manage crises and answer any questions that arise.

Catering supervisors are in many ways business administrators. The catering world revolves around commercial food preparation and service, but a lot of foresight must go into marketing, client retention, and pricing on the front end. These tasks usually fall to the supervisor. This person is usually responsible for not only scheduling and executing events but also making sure that the books are in order and the company is turning a profit.

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One of the biggest differences between a catering supervisor and a catering manager is the scope of duties and responsibilities. Much depends on the size of the business, but in general, a manager is in charge of organizing food prep and server readiness, without actually having a say in how those decisions are made. The manager is essentially responsible for carrying out the supervisor’s vision and orders. During catering events, managers make sure that the food is delivered in proper condition, for instance, and oversee any on-site preparations. Supervisors work at a higher level, often managing the physical space and organizing timing.

It is common for a catering supervisor to start out as a manager, or even as a chef or server. Most catering careers are hierarchical, which means that employees can work their way up the chain of responsibility through diligent work and attention to detail. It is very rare for someone to become a catering supervisor without at least a basic job history in the industry. Supervisors often go on to become event coordinators, wedding planners, or social managers for large corporations or hotel chains.

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