A catering coordinator oversees a restaurant’s, grocery store’s, food service provider’s, or special events company’s catering department. He or she is usually in charge of the planning and scheduling of catered events for clients, as well as serving as the company’s public face. A successful catering coordinator may need excellent interpersonal skills, management and supervision experience, and a thorough understanding of the catering industry.
It’s unusual for a catering coordinator to also serve as a chef; the job’s responsibilities are more administrative. However, having creative skills may be advantageous because it allows a coordinator to assist clients in seeing options and making decisions for their catered event. The most important aspect of a coordinator’s job is the planning and execution of events, which can range from small gatherings like a family dinner to gala openings, film premieres, and society weddings.
When a client approaches a catering coordinator to plan an event, the coordinator will usually sit down with the client and go over the details of the situation. What type of event is it, how many people will be attending, if a theme or atmosphere is desired, and what the customer considers a reasonable budget range are all things the coordinator will need to know. The coordinator can assist the client in creating the ideal menu for the event drawing on his or her extensive knowledge of the company’s catering menu. In some cases, this may include tastings of potential dishes to allow the client to assess the chefs’ skill and quality.
Following the receipt and processing of an order, the coordinator may be in charge of assembling a catering team to manage the event. This could include waiters, bartenders, servers, and prep chefs, all of whom would be working under the catering coordinator’s supervision. The coordinator can usually draw from the company’s staff or have a list of good waitstaff who can be hired on a daily basis. The coordinator may also be in charge of preparing catering-related items such as chairs and tables, linens, floral centerpieces, flatware, and dishes in some cases.
A catering coordinator may or may not be in charge of the event’s delivery, setup, and execution. In a large company, these responsibilities may be delegated to a manager, freeing up the coordinator to plan other events and continue meeting with clients on a daily basis. Working as a catering coordinator can be quite exciting, as each event, or even several events, takes place over several days.