How to become a Caterer

Caterers organise and control the operations of establishments involved in catering and dining, such as restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and canteens.

Personal requirements of a Caterer

  • Good communication and organisational skills
  • Able to remain calm in difficult situations
  • Able to work as part of a team

Education & Training for a Caterer

You can work as a caterer without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in catering operations, hospitality or kitchen operations. You may need to be 18 years or older to undertake some units. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a caterer through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Catering Operations, Hospitality or Kitchen Operations. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Caterer

Caterers may perform the following tasks:

  • discuss catering arrangements with clients
  • talk with the chef to plan the menu
  • supervise the purchase and storage of food
  • supervise provision of all crockery, cutlery, detergents and kitchenware
  • ensure there is adequate security for food and equipment
  • keep records of payments and expenses
  • plan, coordinate and supervise the activities of workers in dining rooms, kitchens, bars and other areas
  • manage staff hiring, training and rostering
  • ensure the dining rooms, kitchen, storage facilities and other work areas are kept clean and conform to health regulations
  • attend to complaints concerning food and service.

Employment Opportunities for a Caterer

Caterers work in large hotels, hospitals, schools, catering firms, department stores and other retail outlets. They also work in industrial and defence centre canteens, restaurants, licensed clubs and casinos. Self-employment is possible. Positions tend to be filled by promoting an experienced person from within the organisation. People who intend to run their own business are advised to gain experience, both on the job and by studying an appropriate course.


Hospital Food Service Manager

A hospital food service manager plans menus with a dietitian for patients and staff to ensure meals are nutritious, varied, attractive and suit the specific needs of individuals. They also direct and control the purchasing, preparation and presentation of food for public and private wards and staff cafeterias with the assistance of the head cook or chef and assistant catering officers.

Additional Information
To serve alcohol, caterers must be at least 18 years old and hold a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certificate. RSA short courses are widely offered by TAFE institutes and Registered Training Organisations.
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