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Catering manager

Plans, administers and supervises an organisation's catering facility.

A catering manager is the person who manages the day-to-day operations of catering services in a restaurant, hotel, resort, or any other part of the hospitality industry. Leading a team of chefs and catering assistants, catering managers are tasked with optimising the quality of the food, service and performance of their outlets. The most important part of the job is achieving good quality at low cost and maintaining high standards of hygiene and customer satisfaction.

Work activities

  • Planning menus in consultation with chefs and ordering supplies as required.
  • Hiring, training, supervising and motivating permanent and casual staff.
  • Organising staff rotas.
  • Ensuring health and safety regulations are strictly observed, recorded and archived.
  • Monitoring the quality of the product and service provided.
  • Setting and monitoring budgets and maintaining financial and administrative records.

Work conditions

Travel: not a normal part of the working day, apart from those working in location catering such as the media industry. Opportunities to work abroad are possible, including in cruise liners.

Working hours: depends on where you are employed. Shift work and unsocial long hours are more likely in hotels, restaurants and resorts. Catering service operations within business, industry and institutions are more likely to work normal office hours.

Location: mainly in towns or cities throughout the country, although those working for location catering companies could find themselves on site, catering for events such as conferences, weddings, sports events, concerts and filming.

Opportunities for self-employment: catering managers can work toward managing their own restaurant.

Typical employers

  • Hotels
  • Catering firms
  • In-house catering operations including those in large corporate settings such as business and factory canteens
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Prisons
  • Colleges and schools
  • Tourist attractions
  • Offshore oil/gas rigs etc
  • Transport providers including airlines and cruise liners.

Career development

Promotion prospects are generally good for those with ability, strong interpersonal skills and a high level of motivation, although much will depend on the individual organisation.

Salaries

Salaries will vary depending on employer.

Republic of Ireland:
Experienced catering managers can expect to earn €35,000-€40,000.

Entry requirements

Entry is possible without a third-level qualification. While open to graduates from all disciplines, employers are increasingly demanding relevant qualifications.

Specific degree subjects required

  • Catering/culinary management
  • Hospitality management
  • Food science and technology
  • Hotel and restaurant management
  • Hospitality, leisure and tourism
  • International hospitality management
  • Business/management studies
  • Home economics/nutrition.

Training

Training covers both the practical and business aspects of the job.

Tips for applications

Previous relevant work experience is often a requirement. Find part-time or seasonal work in catering outlets such as pubs, restaurants and fast-food outlets at weekends and during university holidays. A smart personal appearance is essential.