Just like many careers, catering often takes a combination of hard work, carefully honed skills, and extensive training in order to succeed despite heavy competition. While there’s much in common with chef’s job, caterers happen to face more additional challenges. Most of the time, caterers have to handle additional business related tasks such as marketing, customer relations, and accounting aside from ensuring the food’s quality.
Since the competition is getting a lot heavier as time passes by, finding certain ways to stand out among the rest is extremely challenging, not to mention you should integrate inspired culinary vision to sound business savvy. But if you are able to go through these challenges, a successful career ahead of you is certainly crystal clear and completely attainable.
But the question is: what are the things that make a good caterer? Below, we have listed some of the many things that good caterers possess:
- Quality Cooking
At its extremely basic level, catering revolves around food. No matter how carefully you have arranged the settings in the place or how the venue have been beautifully decorated, clients will certainly not return if the food you serve is awful. In addition to that, a good caterer must have enough cooking experience in order to make plan menus, recipe substitutions, as well as prepare, transport and reheat large amounts of food in a safe and timely manner.
- Safety of Food
A good caterer, including their workers, must comply and be completely aware of the most up to date laws for food safety in their particular state. The FDA organization is in charge of the regulations for food safety throughout the nation, and you can find your state agency on FoodSafety.gov. Further training and seminar in the catering field is offered in many local colleges and culinary institutes.
- Customer Service
Catering service providers work with customers to come up with a unique setup of menu. Being tactful, diplomatic and courteous is very important, since you might need to persuade a customer to change a dish or substitute and ingredient. Good client relationship as well as communication skills are also important in building up repertoire with your client, enabling you to have a successful and profitable catering even. A satisfied client is certainly the best word of mouth and recommendation you can ever have, remains as one of the most effective yet free advertising out there.
- Creativity and Flexibility
Sometimes, recipes may have to be adjusted or replaced in order to manage food allergies. In addition to that, certain cooking methods may also have to be altered in order to meet the dietary requirements of religions or even personal preferences. An adaptable and imaginative person will certainly be able to succeed in these situations as well as instill their clients’ confidence in the process.
A good caterer has to effectively manage a staff of servers, cooks, dishwashers and cleaners, while making sure that their team is completely aware of their schedules, serving customs, food safety regulations as well as place setting. It is also important that a good caterer knows how to give advices and directions to customers, which can help them run a successful event.
Caterers must also be proactive and enthusiastic in order to promote themselves as well as succeed in business. During peak seasons, a caterer might need to work long hours or seven days a week that usually demands stamina. In addition to that, it is important for a caterer to motivate his or her employee, while staying motivated and positive as well, in times when business is slow or unproductive. A good caterer must also make sure that he or she is motivated enough in finding the right solutions to every issue that is affecting to his or her business.
- Business Management
In general, a catering service is more than just cooking and it has to be a very profitable and successful business in the food industry. In order to be successful, a good caterer should know basic and complex administrative or business management tasks such as dealing with accounting, pricing services, managing employees, taxes, organizing budgets and schedules as well as ordering food.
- Financial planning
Lastly, fluctuating work is also a big part of the job. The usually busy periods like holidays and weekdays should be balanced with some times of the year when business operation is only trickling in. Therefore, being able to plan carefully all the financial aspects of the business is important to every caterer.