What does a Catering Assistant do?

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  • Written By: Lori Smith
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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A catering assistant generally holds an administrative position at a hotel, restaurant, catering company, or other establishment that provides food, beverage, and venue space for special events. Usually reporting to a director of catering, this individual usually helps catering sales managers secure future business as well as maintain the needs of a current client base. Screening incoming phone calls, filing, and vendor coordination for upcoming functions are also typical job responsibilities of a catering assistant.

The ability to work in a high-pressure, fast-paced environment is a trait shared by most individuals in the hospitality industry. A successful catering assistant is usually able to adjust quickly to changing priorities. For example, a wedding originally planned for 100 guests may increase in size only days before the event. When this happens, the assistant might be responsible for informing banquet staff and other departments so they can prepare for the increased guest count. This may also include ordering additional rental items to accommodate the new demand.

Usually, a catering assistant job is an entry-level position. It is normally an excellent introduction into the hospitality industry. There is often a great deal of exposure to various types of functions, all of which require attention to detail and close communication between the catering professionals and clients. As the contracted events draw near, administrative duties may increase. Floor plans are often created, menus may be selected, and inter-departmental meetings and communication about the event increases.


A person in this role usually has a lot of contact with customers. He or she may schedule meetings, confirm appointments for the catering sales staff, and screen incoming calls. Composing and mailing company brochures or sending out timely emails may also be included in the day-to-day job responsibilities of a person in this job.

There are often excellent opportunities for growth for the successful catering assistant. Promotions may include advancement to a catering sales position. Since many hotels and resorts own multiple properties, hospitality professionals find it easy to relocate, if desired, while receiving excellent benefits.

The hospitality industry is generally seasonal, but this can vary based on the location of the company. Consequently, a catering assistant's workload may fluctuate. For example, locales that frequently experience snowstorms in the winter often secure less business during those months, but are much busier in the warmer spring and summer months. In contrast, tropical areas that are more likely to experience extreme heat or inclement weather during the summer are sometimes less busy during that time of year, but often flourish in the winter.


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Post 4

I have worked as a catering assistant and it is kind of like working at a restaurant...except that you have to work every single job. At any given time I was cooking, serving, dealing with clients, ordering food, trying to find new clients and washing dishes. I did just about every single job a caterer can do at one point or another.

At times this was great because every day was different. I like to cook but I also like to be with people and handle the business stuff. But on the flip side, I was really really busy and at times totally overwhelmed. I worked the job for almost a decade before I got burned out and pursued a career outside the hospitality industry.

Post 3

My boyfriend DJs a lot of weddings and other events. So he sees caterers and catering assistants a lot. From what he tells me, their job is pretty much never done. At least, not until the event is 100% over. They have to deal with all the food preparation, serving, and cleanup. This means they're pretty much the last ones to leave!

Post 2

@Monika - Good point. I still think this would be an okay field to go into. After all, I don't see the demand for catered events lessening any time soon!

I think I would hate the hours though. It seems like you would probably work whenever events took place. Some events go late into the evening, others are early in the morning. I personally like to keep to a regular sleep schedule, so this kind of thing wouldn't be for me.

I have friends that are perfectly happy working strange hours though, so I know everyone doesn't feel the same way I do.

Post 1

I think this job sounds like it has a lot of potential. However, I would really caution anyone going into a seasonal industry, especially if you're paid hourly. If you're not good with money, this kind of thing isn't for you!

With this kind of job, you might end up working a ton of hours one month. Consequently, you'll have a nice big paycheck. But you'll be really, really tired. Then, another month you may barely work! If you don't save your money during the "good" months, you'll be out of luck during the slower times.

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