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A banquet coordinator plans and oversees food, beverage and entertainment events held at restaurants, hotels, convention centers and resorts. Luncheons, awards presentations, fundraisers, fashion shows, conventions and wedding receptions are among the events a banquet coordinator supervises. With detail-oriented work that often involves long hours, the role can be stressful but also rewarding for those with good organizational, leadership and relational skills.
Sales and Marketing
Some banquet coordinators are responsible for promoting and selling their employer’s services to prospective clients. A company that is planning a convention or a bride-elect seeking a reception hall may narrow down their choices by speaking with the banquet coordinator, who should be able to thoroughly describe the venue's services, outline how the services are coordinated, advise and make recommendations based on the client's desires and be able to work within budget restraints.
Food Planning and Coordination
Banquet coordinators are knowledgeable of food preparation techniques and styles as well as liquor laws and regulations. After a client makes food and drink selections, the banquet coordinator ensures that everything is prepared and presented to the client’s expectations. This involves communicating with chefs, food and beverage managers and waitstaff, as well as interviewing and hiring caterers and instructing their staff. The banquet coordinator supervises the setup of facilities, taking care that enough tables, chairs and serving areas are available and arranged for easy access. The proper placement of name cards is as important as the condition of linens and dining utensils. They are watchful that food and drink doesn't run low and that all areas of the banquet facility remain clean and free of clutter. It is vital that banquet coordinators be aware of all health department rules and regulations pertaining to food service.
The banquet coordinator covers all the bases in making sure an event does not lack any provisions required for smooth operation. This includes conferring with technical, construction and maintenance personnel to confirm microphones are in place and working, all electrical outlets and smoke detectors are in safe and working condition, and that screens, projectors, computers and all other audio and video equipment is set up and properly placed. The banquet coordinator oversees the secure placement of podiums for speakers, stages for bands, facilities for DJs and the testing of all lighting and sound systems. They also direct florists, caterers, decorators and entertainers regarding where to deliver, arrange and store items needed for their specific roles in an event.
While the goal of a good banquet coordinator is to see events proceed without any complications, situations can arise that are beyond the coordinator’s control. This could include employees calling in sick at the last minute, technical glitches with equipment and inclement weather that threatens to ruin an outdoor event. Successful banquet coordinators anticipate problems and have backup plans in place as well as people available who can respond in such situations. The banquet coordinator is a problem solver who makes quick decisions and delegates responsibilities while remaining professional and pleasant in the midst of a stressful situation.
Many establishments prefer that banquet coordinators hold a bachelor's degree in hospitality management, business or a similar area of study. Experience is critically important to earning this position, and many coordinators launch their careers by starting out in the lower ranks of food service.
Donna G. Morton lives in Atlanta and has been writing for more than 27 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from East Tennessee State University and spent 15 years in radio and corporate advertising, winning 10 Excellence in Advertising Awards for creative writing.