How Do I Become a Catering Sales Manager?

Research what it takes to become a catering sales manager. Learn about the average salary, duties, employment growth and education requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Catering Sales Manager?

A catering sales manager is a food services manager at a catering company who specializes in finding new customers and helping them prepare for events like parties, weddings and banquets. In order to get the word out about the company, they may advertise in the newspaper, promote the company through social media or attend networking events. Prior to a sale, they call or meet with the potential customer to discuss what the catering company offers, and they negotiate a contract. From there, they help with the organization of the event, such as menu selection. After the event, they may follow up with the client to ensure that they are pleased and will look to the company for catering services in the future.

The following chart provides an overview of the field so you're aware of the general requirements.

Degree Required High school diploma, but associate's or bachelor's degree is preferred
Education Field of Study Culinary arts, hospitality, sales, marketing
Key Responsibilities Create menus; manage catering personnel, budgets and facilities; ensure food safety; order food and equipment
Job Growth (2012-2022) 5% (for all food service managers)*
Median Salary (2014) $43,175**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Get Your Degree

A catering sales manager should have an understanding of business, sales and the hospitality industry. Your first option is an associate's degree program in hospitality and culinary arts management. You would learn about business management and the food and beverage industry. The culinary training could be valuable because catering sales managers need to have an understanding of the products they're selling and how they should be presented. Some of the courses you could take include:

  • Food safety
  • Food preparation
  • Food service marketing
  • Menu creation
  • Cost control
  • Catering management

If you want a bachelor's degree, you could major in hospitality management, which consists of studies in food service finance, purchasing, facilities planning, culinary arts, food service technology, hospitality sales and more. You would take courses in the classroom and receive hands-on training at a campus kitchen where you would learn about food preparation and food service operations. Many schools require students to complete an internship towards the end of the degree program.

Search For An Internship

If your degree program doesn't include an internship component, you can check with a career adviser to see if there are any local food service companies that offer internships to enrolled students. If you've already graduated, you could call local restaurants, hotels and catering companies to inquire if they are offering any internships.

There are also career websites that deal exclusively with internship opportunities. An internship at a hotel, restaurant or catering company would expose you to all aspects of the food and beverage industry, although you could search for opportunities that deal specifically with catering sales management.

What Would My Job Duties Be?

Catering sales managers are responsible for a variety of job duties within departments of catering. You could be responsible for marketing catering services, cold calling, taking orders, preparing facilities, overseeing food production and planning events. Not only would you need to find clients, but you'd also need to turn your clients into repeat customers and sources of referrals. You would confer with clients, assist in menu development, order food and food service equipment and be involved in all aspects of generating revenue for catering departments. You would also have financial responsibilities, including accounting and cost control.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working in catering, you might be interested in working as a food services manager in a restaurant. These managers oversee all restaurant operations, so they have a wide range of duties, including staff scheduling, ingredient ordering and sanitation protocol implementation. You need at least a high school diploma for this job. Alternatively, if you are looking for a job related to marketing, you could consider becoming an advertising sales agent. These workers sell advertising space to companies, organizations and individuals. The minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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