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The role of director of catering involves more than planning a meal for a large number of people. The director must choose appropriate facilities based on the event's size and needs, stay within budgets and oversee staff. Depending on the size of the facility or catering operation, the director may perform several roles or work with a staff in several departments.
Coordinate with Customers
The director of catering answers customers' initial inquiries about hosting banquets, wedding receptions or other events, giving them tours of the facilities and discussing room options and possible menus. As a representative of the hotel or catering business, it's important that the director responds promptly and professionally, whether by phone or email, throughout the planning process, and creates written communication confirming details discussed.
It's the responsibility of the director to arrange all details of the banquet with the hotel or facility, from start to finish. After discussing details with the customer she books the banquet room that's appropriate for the number of guests, double-checks the date, plans the room set-up and works with the chef to finalize the menu. As the date for the banquet approaches, she confirms all details with the customer, the chef and staff.
Work with Staff
The director meets regularly with banquet and catering staff to review arrangements for upcoming events and parties. During events she oversees staff, making sure all policies and safety regulations are followed. When new staff members are needed, the director interviews, hires and trains workers for the jobs and evaluates their performances.
Cultivate New Customers
The director of catering must be comfortable cold calling, networking with contacts and using social media marketing to create new business on an ongoing basis. This requires knowing the space available at all times and marketing to keep the facility as full as possible -- and therefore as profitable as possible at all times.
Form and Review Budgets
Working with the facility's general manager, the director of catering prepares an annual budget based on the previous year's data and projections for the year ahead. She reviews the budget monthly to see that they stay on track. She also negotiates with customers and suppliers to price each banquet and assesses the profitability of each event.
Education and Skills
The position of director of catering generally requires a two- or four-year degree in hotel and restaurant management, along with experience as catering or banquet manager or meeting sales coordination and knowledge of food and wine.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in the Washington, DC area. She writes nationally for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including careers, education, women, marketing, advertising and more. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.