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 for 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 and you may like to consider a VET course. 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. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

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.

Duties & Tasks of a Caterer


  • 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.


  • Planning and organising special functions
  • Selecting, training and supervising waiting and kitchen staff
  • May take reservations, greet guests and assist in taking orders
  • Planning menus in consultation with Chefs
  • Conferring with customers to assess their satisfaction with meals and service
  • Arranging the purchasing and pricing of goods according to budget
  • Maintaining records of stock levels and financial transactions
  • Ensuring dining facilities comply with health regulations and are clean, functional and of suitable appearance

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.


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

  • Average age
    Average age
    40 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    54% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    48 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Average unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    76% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    69,400 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.8%
    NSW: 31.6%
    NT: 0.9%
    QLD: 19.9%
    SA: 6.6%
    TAS: 1.9%
    VIC: 26.4%
    WA: 10.9%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.1%
    20-24: 7.1%
    25-34: 28.3%
    35-44: 24.8%
    45-54: 23.1%
    55-59: 8.1%
    60-64: 4.8%
    65 and Over: 2.8%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 17.2%
    Bachelor degree: 18.7%
    Below Year 10: 8.3%
    Certificate III/IV: 17.1%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 5.5%
    Year 10 and below: 11.6%
    Year 11: 4.7%
    Year 12: 25.2%
    Years 11 & 10: 19.8%
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