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Caterer Overview

Catering companies make, deliver, and serve food off-site, at parties and events. Working for a catering company means setting up, serving food and drinks, and packing up the supplies afterward. If you can gracefully carry a tray of beverages and encourage people to try another hors d’oeuvre, you may have found your calling.

Responsibilities

  • Event set-up. You’ll unload and set up everything from tables and chairs to tents and cooking stations.
  • Prep and carry trays of food around a party. Most food will already be cooked, but may need a little heating or arranging before being presented to guests. Once the food is prepped, you’ll either carry it through a party or serve it in a banquet or sit-down style.
  • Tend bar and pour drinks. Bartenders at catering events will be responsible for keeping beverages cool and pouring drinks for guests.
  • Clean-up and breakdown. Once the event is over, you’ll put away tables, fold up chairs, clean-up all supplies, and return them to the catering company.

Skills

  • Friendly customer service. Serving for a caterer means accommodating the various needs of each client and event. You’ll need to be friendly with all guests and able to provide personalized service.
  • Ability to follow directions. Because each event will be slightly different, you’ll have to pay close attention to food instructions and any regulations about the event space.
  • Professional appearance. It’s incredibly important for catering servers to appear clean and behave professionally—it reflects on the food and the service.
  • Physical stamina. You’ll be on your feet for most of the job. Catering jobs involve carrying food, drinks, and equipment into and around an event, so having some physical strength and endurance on your side will benefit you.

Experience

Catering services prefer to hire servers and bartenders with experience in food service or restaurants, but may be willing to train someone with a current Food Handler Card. You’ll be expected to transport yourself to event locations that may be hard to reach without a car. 

For this reason, some jobs require a driver’s license so that you can drive and deliver supplies in company vehicles. Most catering jobs require weekend availability, but working individual events also means a more flexible schedule.

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