1 May 2014
Just like any other business, catering also requires a combination of skills and hard work. Though the career of a caterer has a lot in common with that of a chef, catering differs with many other challenges.
Besides cooking, caterers also need to handle business matters such as accounting, marketing and customer relations.
To enrich their professional competence there are online sources like the online directories of Culinary Training with its wide range of courses specifically tailored to train people entering this highly competitive field. In the catering industry, the ability to excel with a viable business model backed by a unique culinary vision makes a winner.
At the basic level, catering is all about food. No glittering decor or lighting gimmicks can save the day if the food supplied by the caterer is not up to the mark. Adequate cooking experience is a must so that there is the ability to rise up to any challenge like recipe substitutions, menu planning, preparation, preservation and logistics in handling large volumes of food.
A good caterer and his team must be well versed in the latest food safety laws and fully comply with it. HACCP certified caterers are the ones most preferred by guests.
There is no future for a caterer if they cannot satisfy customers and clients. Caterers need to be tactful and brilliantly deal with clients at all times including planning of menus. The essential qualities of courtesy, tact and good communication are inevitable in carrying out the catering business smoothly.
Recipes should not offend anyone including those with food allergies. The cooking methods must adhere to religion and dietary requirements or personal preferences. Imagination and adaptability is the key in inspiring clients.
Catering businesses are always a test in managerial skills. Successfully managing a big team of suppliers, transporters, decorators, cooks, servers, cleaners and dishwashers and making sure the team keeps up with schedules, place settings, customs, and food safety regulations displays the power of leadership.
Caterers require lots of energy and enthusiasm. During busy seasons a caterer may need to work for extremely long hours, even seven days a week. This calls for high stamina.
Beyond cooking, a catering service needs to be profitable. The business acumen calls for good pricing, negotiation, procurement, accounting, taxes, managing employees, logistics and operating within schedules and budgets.
Even if a caterer makes the best food the phone will not ring if people do not know of them. Getting noticed is important in any business for which a good network of contacts is essential. Rapport with florists, venue organizers, event planners and other service providers is essential to pull off large events.