What Is the Catering Industry?

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  • Written By: Tiffany Manley
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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The catering industry is comprised of businesses that provide food, beverages and other services to a variety of clients, usually for special events. Catering industry jobs vary from small intimate affairs to large events that involve providing not only food and beverage service but also tableware, linens, service personnel and other aspects of the event. Companies that provide catering services might be as large as a business with several locations or as small as an individual who provides catering services on his or her own. A caterer might be part of a restaurant or have his or her own business. Caterers might make use of independent contractors for some aspects of their catering service.

Small dinners and banquets are some types of events for which a caterer might provide service. These events might be set in a person’s home, a small restaurant or an outdoor venue. Some individuals might have a personal caterer who provides private catering services whenever needed. Other times, a caterer might be hired specifically to cater to a large event such as a wedding, a family reunion or a corporate event.


Corporate catering is another aspect of the catering industry. These caterers are skilled at working with large crowds and the needs of corporate clients. Events such as company picnics, holiday celebrations or functions held to entertain clients all might be handled by a corporate caterer. Many times, companies have contracts with specific caterers so that company executives know the level of service and professionalism that they will be getting.

Some restaurants also have a catering component. Many times, individuals enjoy the restaurant’s food so much that they want the same food to be served at an event they are hosting. Some restaurants might even have separate banquet facilities for this purpose. Servers, linens, tables and chairs might also be included in this type of catering service.

Independent caterers often make a name for themselves by creating unique and delicious menus and by providing outstanding service. Many times, small catering businesses make use of independent contractors and outside services for things such as personnel, linens, tables and chairs. Others caterers have their own location, personnel, linens and other materials.

In addition to the actual catering of an event, working in the catering industry requires other skills as well. The ability to schedule, plan a menu, order large quantities of items, interact with vendors and provide excellent customer service are all important aspects of the job. Although hospitality training obtained in classes might prove useful in the catering industry, it also is possible to acquire on-the-job training.


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Post 4

I like restaurants that offer catering. Rather than deciding on catering based on two tiny samples, I prefer to order from a restaurant I already know well. That way, I also know exactly what to order and which dishes are the best and most suitable. Of course, another perk is taking some of that food home afterward.

I'm not big on hiring someone for decorations and things like that. I think that corporate events need to be simple and classy. The foods and drinks are really more important than anything else. No one may notice the special candles or the design on the table cloths. But they sure will notice great food. As long as the food is good and it's served timely and properly, I think that any event will be a success.

Post 2

I think one of the most important things for a catering business is to provide lots of options to its customers. Customers are always looking for unique and different options, whether it be about hor d'oeuvres or the center piece for a table. Many people select the catering service that gives them these options.

I know that when I selected catering for my party, I wanted a catering service that could take care of everything A to Z, but that could also offer me plenty of options.

Post 1

I worked for campus catering when I was in college. It involved a lot of planning and preparation but it was fun. The hours were different than other campus jobs. Sometimes we had a special event like a wedding reception which lasted until eleven or midnight. My favorite part was the excellent foods we got to eat while working there.

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