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.
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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.