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Catering manager Food service manager

Catering managers are responsible for running the food service of organisations or outside suppliers.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £19,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but employers will expect a good level of spoken English and ability with numbers. Experience is highly valued, so it will help if you've worked in a professional kitchen.

Promotions are often made internally so you could start in a junior role, like catering assistant or assistant manager. You could then study for a qualification in hospitality, catering or food and beverage service, while you're working.

The Hospitality Guild has more information about careers.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You may need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • the ability to motivate and manage staff
  • budgeting skills
  • the ability to keep calm under pressure

3. What you'll do

You may work in an organisation like a school, hospital, hotel or pub, or prepare food to be delivered to food outlets, event sites and homes.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • planning and developing menus to increase sales
  • recruiting and training staff
  • organising shifts and rotas
  • financial planning, managing budgets and stock control
  • meeting suppliers and negotiating contracts
  • monitoring the quality of the service to customers
  • running the business in line with health and safety and food hygiene regulations
  • catering for special diets and meeting nutritional needs

During food service, you'll supervise the kitchen and waiting staff, ensuring that the food goes out on time and is of a high standard.

4. Salary

Starter: £19,000 to £21,000

Experienced: £25,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours will depend on which sector you work in.

If you're based in a school, your working hours are likely to be 9am to 4pm, term time only.

In a hospital, nursing home, hotel, pub or conference centre, you'll usually work shifts to cover evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

If you're responsible for the food service over a number of sites, you're likely to need a full driving licence to travel between them.

This can be a physically active job, as you'll divide your time between your office, the kitchen and the dining areas.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could move into larger organisations or those offering more specialised work like event catering.

You could also study for further qualifications in hospitality.

Another option is to start up your own contract catering business.

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Last updated: 14 September 2017