Catering supervisors oversee banquets, luncheons and other events, making sure everything runs smoothly, even when last-minute glitches arise. To become a catering supervisor, you likely will need some catering or food service experience. There also are certain traits that make for good catering supervisors, including the ability to think quickly and make decisions in a fast-paced setting. Providing excellent customer service and being able to supervise others also is important.
The level of education you need to become a catering supervisor can depend on where you want to work. Catering businesses sometimes specialize in corporate events or weddings. Others might work primarily with hospitals or hotels. In some of these settings, a high school diploma might be the only educational requirement. In upscale settings, supervisory positions might require both experience and a formal education.
Options for education include a two- or four-year college degree in hospitality or management. Training in proper food handling and preparation techniques also is a frequent requirement. Depending on where you live, you also might need some form of certification in food handling safety.
One way to determine how to become a catering supervisor is to ask various businesses what they require. For example, some catering businesses might allow you to start as a catering assistant and move into a supervisory position as you gain experience. Another way to become a catering supervisor is to start off in a kitchen position and work your way up by taking on additional responsibilities and roles.
Knowing the many roles involved in catering can be helpful to your career. A catering supervisor is responsible for all aspects of catering, from start to finish. This can include everything from designing menus to setting up and tearing down equipment. Being able to handle a variety of jobs also can allow you to fill in as needed and become a valued team member for your employer.
Excellent people skills are needed if you want to become a catering supervisor. As a catering supervisor, you will oversee other employees' work, so it is important to be able to win their trust and cooperation. You also will need to develop and maintain good relations with clients, vendors and managers.
You likely will handle complaints from clients, as well. It is vital to know how to communicate with clients, fulfill their requests and make sure they have a positive experience. Keeping clients happy can require thinking fast on your feet, especially when mistakes happen or the clients are unhappy with the service.
Strong organizational skills and attention to detail also are important in catering. As a catering supervisor, you will be juggling many aspects of catering events. For example, you likely will be required to develop budgets, hire employees, create employee work schedules and make sure enough supplies and food are always on hand.