The success of a hotel is not just about "heads in beds", but also "bodies in ballrooms." For hotels that have function space, it is the responsibility of the catering department to bring in banquet events and other catering business to the hotel.
The size of a hotel and its function space will determine how many members will be a part of the catering team. A hotel that does a large amount of catering business will have a Director of Catering that manages the department, sets budgets, set menu pricing and manages vendor relationships. Reporting to the director, will be catering sales managers that not only sell and book business, but also work with the client through the execution of the event. In a smaller hotel, the Director of Catering may do all of the above without the need for additional catering sales managers.
Working with the client, the catering manager will contract the venue space and food and beverage minimums for the event. They will work with the client on the specific menu, room set up, audio visual needs and anything else that may be essential to the success of the event.
Once they have all the details, the catering manager will put together a banquet event order that is distributed to the hotel staff. In particular, the catering manager will work closely with the Chef and banquet team to ensure all details of the event are executed as the client wishes.
In a hotel that handles a lot of business meetings, typically the group sales manager will book the business and then hand off the planning to a conference service manager which will handle the details of the meeting.
Working in the catering department is typically commensurate upon experience. Most hotels will want to see that a first time catering sales manager or conference service manager has experience working banquets or events, and has a firm understanding of food and beverage operations. Additionally, a service oriented personality and the ability to sell and up-sell will be traits a hiring managers looks for.
Since many catering events take place in the evening and on weekends, a catering sales manager should be able to be flexible with their work schedule. Although the schedule is considered to be one of the less appealing parts of the position, the experience of creating a memorable event is a rewarding one that makes catering positions quite competitive.
To find out more about careers in hotel catering, continue to reading on in our Member's Section.