How Is a Caterer Different From a Hotelkeeper?

If you are interested in working in the hospitality field but get confused about the differences between a caterer and hotelkeeper, read on to learn more about these two hospitality careers and how to prepare for them. Schools offering Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Notable Differences Between Caterers and Hotelkeepers

Hotelkeeping focuses on supervision of the operation and upkeep of a lodging facility, while caterers are trained food service preparers who are hired to provide meals at an off-site location. While a hotelkeeper's job could involve some catering work, a caterer's job is narrowly focused on food service preparation and serving work. Additionally, a hotelkeeper may have the responsibility of overseeing food service preparation for an on-site event. A caterer, on the other hand, usually deals only with the customer whose event is being catered, typically off-site from the caterer's prep kitchen.

Important Facts About Caterers and Hotelkeepers

CaterersHotelkeepers
Median Salary (2014)$21,120 (for all cooks)$47,680 (for all lodging managers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)4% (slower than average)8% (average)
Key SkillsDexterity, ability to work with customers, staminaLeadership, organization, and business skills
Similar OccupationsHead cook, food preparation worker, bakerSales manager, human resource manager, gaming services worker

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Caterer Job Duties and Career Preparation

Caterers may prepare food and drink for those attending funerals, office picnics, weddings or other events. In some cases, caterers might also pack up boxed lunches and deliver them to a client. The dishes served by a caterer can include appetizers, drinks, main meals and desserts. Catering professionals also work closely with wait staff and other event employees to ensure the food and drinks are properly served.

As a caterer, you could decide to obtain a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in culinary science, hospitality management, food service management or a related field. Coursework and internship experiences will allow you to develop your skills in planning menus, preparing dishes and overseeing a large-scale food production operation that may include food safety and table service.

Hotelkeeper Job Duties and Career Preparation

Your duties as a hotelkeeper may include ensuring that rooms are properly cleaned and maintained on schedule. Other responsibilities include making sure the staff is performing their assigned duties and ensuring that customers are happy with the level of service provided. Hotelkeeping may also include oversight of on-site restaurants or meals offered at the hotel.

You can begin a career as a hotelkeeper with a bachelor's or master's degree in hotel management or hospitality. In some cases, you could begin a career as a hotelkeeper with a certificate or associate's degree in hospitality or a similar field. You'll typically study business principles such as hotel operations, accounting and human resources, along with information technology and food service management. An internship may also be required. In some cases, you might be able to enter a corporate training program, which could provide an eventual promotion from assistant or trainee to a management position.

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