catering JOB TODAY
Starting a Catering Business: What you should Know
By: Sharmain Zain
Reading time: 3 min

If you love cooking and entertaining large crowds of people, then catering might be the right career for you. Catering is all about delivering good food and excellent customer service. If you are good at these two aspects, you are ready to start a catering business. Starting a self-catering business is relatively cheaper than other startup ventures, and you can quickly build long-lasting relationships that can go for decades. The beauty of catering business is that it thrives even in a recession or sluggish economy.

Job Basics

You need to decide if you want to start a self-catering company alongside your day job or become a full-time caterer. Weigh your options; if the steady paycheck still comes in handy, then you should consider running the catering business alongside your day job but if you have adequate capital, experience and support, you can operate full-time. To put things into perspective, young people in their early twenties will probably start off as assistants and earn less than managers. Here’s a breakdown of the regular hourly and annual figures if you intend to work in the catering business:

  • The average pay per hour: £ 7- £ 9.45
  • Annual salary: £12000- £ 20,000
  • Overtime: £6- £ 17
  • Hours per week: 35-40 for a full-time position exclusive of overtime

Duties and Responsibilities

Running a catering business requires the owner to hire assistants who will prepare the venue where the event is being hosted by setting up tables, distributing food and carrying items to and from the place. Your main duties include:

  • Drawing the contract and submitting it to prospective clients
  • Ensure that the company remains within the budget
  • Supervise the preparation of beverages and foods
  • Supervising staff during the event
  • Following up on client feedback

Qualities of a Caterer

Catering is an incredibly competitive trade that requires you to work under varying levels of pressure. As such, you should have the ability to work under pressure and flexible enough to meet different customer needs. Your interpersonal and communication skills are integral to running a successful business you will interact with lots of different people. You also need to be resilient as you will spend long hours standing and serving customers.

How to Become Qualified

A degree in hospitality, food services or other catering profession is integral to starting and running the business. Some caterers also obtain qualifications through the training programme at City & Guilds. Entry level courses also come in handy before pursuing advanced certifications like diploma in Hospitality Management or a Certificate in Catering and Hospitality Principles.

You also want to gain experience in the catering business before starting one. A few hours a week or a month at a friend’s hotel or a family member who has a busy establishment help you gain relevant experience in handling customers. What’s more, experience gives you the confidence in cooking various foods and handling customers when you start running a similar business.

Your time management skills should be impeccable. Catering business involving weddings and other formal occasions work with strict deadlines hence, the need to practice good time management. If you have already worked in a wedding planning company or a busy hotel, then it should not be a problem.

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