How to Hire a Caterer

Does your growing business need a caterer? A caterer provides food service for events, suggests menus and oversees professional wait staff. 

Here are some tips to help you find great caterer candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Caterers searching for jobs on Indeed*

52,306

Job seekers that clicked caterer jobs

24,113

Resumes for job seekers with caterer experience on Indeed

3,049

Caterer jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring caterer?

  • Common salary in US: $13.73 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $7.25$27.60 hourly
  • Find more information on Indeed Salary

*Indeed data (US) – April 2021

As of April 2021, caterer jobs in the US are very competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of 17 job seekers per caterer job.

Why hire a caterer?

Hiring a caterer is an essential part of running a successful catering company or large restaurant. Caterers facilitate a pleasant experience for guests by anticipating their needs and preparing their predetermined menu before a gathering. A caterer has experience in both food and customer service, which promotes a positive interaction between your staff and guests.

Contributions of a great caterer:

  • Professional experience organizing a large gathering
  • Accurate estimates for food and drinks required for an event
  • Smooth management of food service staff, including cooks and servers

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance caterer

Before writing a caterer job description or interviewing candidates, decide whether your company needs a full-time or freelance caterer.

A full-time caterer is useful for restaurant owners or any establishment with a food service department. If you need someone to plan and manage food prep on a daily basis, a full-time caterer can keep things running smoothly. This is especially helpful for businesses that provide B2B catering services.

A freelance caterer may contract services for a single event or longer periods of time if numerous special events are on the horizon, with terms laid out in a catering agreement.  

What are the ranks of caterers?

Catering covers a wide range of tasks that involve nutritional expertise, food preparation, delivery services and even cleanup. Starting from the most experienced position to the least, here are the common ranks for catering staff:

  • Corporate caterer: A corporate caterer provides food services for office meetings, professional trainings and large regional events, such as business brunches, buffets and conferences. They may handle decorations and cleanup as well.
  • Food service/restaurant manager: Food service managers coordinate workers and management tasks during day-to-day business operations. Some of their key duties include hiring, estimating the cost of ingredients and developing menu items.
  • Assistant food service manager: An assistant manager assists the food service manager with administrative and service tasks.
  • Food service worker, such as food server, restaurant server or banquet server: Food service workers perform basic tasks, including preparing meals, taking orders and serving. These roles usually don’t involve expertise, but some culinary training may be required.

Where to find caterers

To find the right caterer for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Hire from within. Is there anyone among your current staff who’d be interested in a promotion? Evaluate your current team members and see if there are potential homegrown candidates.
  • Network. Reach out to others who provide catering services to see if anyone is looking for a new job.
  • Ask members of the food service industry. Ask people around the food service industry about their availability, and pay attention to any freelancers who might be interested in your open position.
  • Put a sign in your window. Post a help wanted ad in your window or on the front door of your business.
  • Post your job online. Try posting your caterer job on Indeed to find and attract quality caterer candidates.

What are the ranks of caterers?

Catering covers a wide range of tasks that involve nutritional expertise, food preparation, delivery services and even cleanup. Starting from the most experienced position to the least, here are the common ranks for catering staff:

  • Corporate caterer: A corporate caterer provides food services for office meetings, professional trainings and large regional events, such as business brunches, buffets and conferences. They may handle decorations and cleanup as well.
  • Food service/restaurant manager: Food service managers coordinate workers and management tasks during day-to-day business operations. Some of their key duties include hiring, estimating the cost of ingredients and developing menu items.
  • Assistant food service manager: An assistant manager assists the food service manager with administrative and service tasks.
  • Food service worker, such as food server, restaurant server or banquet server: Food service workers perform basic tasks, including preparing meals, taking orders and serving. These roles usually don’t involve expertise, but some culinary training may be required.

Writing a caterer job description

A thoughtful description is important to finding qualified caterer candidates. A caterer job description includes a compelling summary of the role, a detailed list of duties and responsibilities and the required and preferred skills for the position.

When writing your caterer job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on caterer jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Catering
  • Chef
  • Server
  • Hiring immediately
  • Bartender
  • Banquet server
  • Food service
  • Hospitality
  • Cook
  • Teen

 Interviewing caterer candidates

Strong candidates for caterer positions will be confident answering questions regarding:

  • Food service safety
  • Experience serving large groups
  • How they handle unforeseen challenges

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of caterer interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a caterer

What is a private caterer?

A private caterer is often hired for anniversaries, birthday parties, weddings and other personal events. They may handle some or all of the event planning.

What does "full-service" catering mean?

In addition to offering a range of food service styles and events, full-service catering includes setup and cleanup.

What are the main types of catering services?

Catering services can be broadly classified into two categories: welfare (noncommercial) and commercial. Examples of welfare catering are school cafeterias, nursing homes and prisons. Examples of commercial catering are restaurants, cafes and specialty shops, such as ice cream parlors or pizza joints.

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