careers catering manager

Catering Manager Jobs

Catering manager jobs… did you know?

“Be our guest, be our guest / put our service to the test / tie your napkin ‘round your neck, Cherie, and we’ll provide the rest…”

Remember Disney’s Beauty and the Beast scene where all the dancing dishes come together to put on a glorious banquet? As a catering manager, that’s you on a big night.

You could build a tasty career as a catering manager if you like working with people and food, and you can juggle everything from table service to food preparation and set decoration. You’ll manage dining events to create an unforgettable experience for customers and clients, whether it’s an evening out at a restaurant or a wedding banquet that will take pride of place in the photo album.

As a catering or restaurant manager you could work in a contract catering operation handling special events or large-scale food service to hospitals and schools. You could also work in a hotel, bar or restaurant. Whatever whets your appetite.

Industry: Catering and Hospitality

Catering manager job trends

How much money can you make as a catering manager?

£19,000 – £40,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £19,000 and £40,000 a year as a catering manager in the UK.

Your starting salary can vary because of factors like level of experience, training, location or the size of the company. Your salary as a catering manager will increase over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

Getting catering work experience is really important for this job, but qualifications can help too.

If you have A-levels or H grades you might be able to join a management training scheme straight from school. These are run by many big restaurant and hotel chains.

You can also study for a qualification if you take on further education.

For example, you could study for an HNC or HND, for which you’d typically need one A-level or two H grades, or the equivalent.

You could train towards a BTEC or SQA national certificate or diploma.

Useful qualifications for becoming a catering manager include:

  • BTEC level 3 certificate in the Management of Events and Hospitality
  • BTEC level 3 certificate in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership
  • HNC Diploma in Hospitality Management

Useful subjects to study at HNC/HND or degree level:

  • Hospitality management
  • Hotel and catering management
  • Hospitality, leisure and tourism


You can enter the hospitality and catering industry via an apprenticeship. You’ll typically get structured training while you work and earn, and industry-recognised qualifications.

There are lots of catering apprenticeships available with a range of providers. You’ll find all kinds of catering apprenticeships available to meet your level of work experience and learning, from introductory apprenticeships to ones specialising in catering management.

Learning and earning as a catering management trainee or catering apprentice will get you a good grounding in the industry, and you can build work experience and further education learning to work towards a management position.

Example catering apprenticeships include:

  • Hospitality and Catering Apprenticeship
  • Food and Beverage Catering Management Apprenticeship
  • Hospitality Management Higher Apprenticeship

While at school or college, speak to your careers advisor about useful training and/or courses for you to take and find out more about the types of career routes available.

Career progression and further qualifications

With time and experience you could have the opportunity for career options like catering management for larger organisations and chains, or moving into specialist areas like event catering.

You could also study for further qualifications in catering (we’ve linked to apprenticeships listed with the Hospitality Guild).

As a hospitality industry manager, you could also take part in Continuing Professional Development thanks to new qualifications brought out by the Institute of Hospitality.

You could also become self-employed and set up your own contract catering business.

What experience do you need for catering manager jobs?

Work experience

Getting some cooking and catering experience under your belt is considered very important by employers in the catering industry.

  • Look for part-time or seasonal work (you could do shift work, a few days a week, or seek summer jobs when UK tourism is at its height)
  • Seek work experience in a range of venues including restaurants, pubs, fast food outlets or hotels.
  • Practice your skills by offering to arrange everything for a friend’s birthday party. Manage everything from what food should be served (are you restricted by budget or dietary requirements?) to how it should be presented (picnic with cold storage? Vintage chic with jam jar glasses?)


Volunteering can help you build your skills and experience in an unpaid capacity. You can volunteer with charities who cook and supply food (e.g. to homeless people, or otherwise vulnerable people like the elderly who might receive meals on wheels.)

What skills do you need for catering manager jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs like this one include:

  • Fantastic communication and negotiation skills – this will help you motivate and organise staff, and work well with clients and customers
  • Number skills – you’ll always know how much budget you have and stick to it, creating the best banquet, meal or experience for the money. If tables are booked for a party of twenty, you’ll never tell your staff to lay out places for nineteen.
  • Keeping calm under pressure – whenever there’s a tight deadline or the food wasn’t delivered on time, you’ll keep calm and carry on.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a catering manager do?

You could work in a huge variety of locations as a catering manager. You might be working in a contract-based catering organisation, or in a hotel or restaurant. You could work for just one venue or be responsible for the catering in several outlets of a chain and visit them all as part of your job. More and more organisations are taking on catering services these days.

Some of your clients could include:

  • Hotel chains
  • Restaurant chains
  • Schools and colleges
  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • The Armed Forces
  • Local authorities

Depending on your level of experience, your responsibilities could include:

  • Planning menus which will increase sales, meet the expectations of customers and your budget
  • Recruiting catering staff and training them up
  • Organising work shifts and rotas so that everyone knows when they’re expected to work and there are enough people to do the job at hand
  • Juggling money concerns – for example, managing the budget, controlling stock and planning ahead financially to make sure you meet your target
  • Ensuring the catering service you provide meets all health, safety and food hygiene regulations
  • Using your communication skills to meet suppliers and negotiate contracts with clients
  • Catering for special diets and meeting nutritional needs, both for individual customers as needed and when planning your menu
  • Interacting with customers and working ‘front-of-house’ where customers can see you (if you’re working in a restaurant).


You might have to work long hours. You’ll quite often work at weekends and in the evenings, as well as on public holidays. These are often the times when people want to relax and eat out, or put on a special event that needs catering.

On the other hand, if you’re providing catering contracts to places like schools or colleges, you’re more likely to work regular daytime hours in order to provide lunches rather than evening meals.

You could be working in the restaurant, or front-of-house, or even in the kitchen. You could also spend time in an office going through shifts and accounts. If you’re responsible for several outlets, you could be travelling to visit each one in turn as needed.

Your first steps into catering manager jobs

Catering manager jobs are advertised under different job titles. When you’re looking on job boards, look for the following types of job:

  • Catering assistant
  • Catering trainee restaurant manager
  • Trainee catering contract manager
  • Trainee assistant catering manager

You can look for jobs in trade magazines like Caterer and Hotelkeeper, and also search online for catering and hospitality recruitment agencies like and get on their books.

Useful organisations and links for catering management careers

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