Banquet managers and catering managers have similar roles at hotels, restaurants and other venues are the most common employers for banquet managers and catering managers. Their role is to plan, direct and coordinate banquets held at hotels, restaurants and other venues. According to Salary.com, banquet managers negotiate contracts, assist in the selection of menu items, schedule banquet staff, arrange for facilities or equipment, and communicate customer needs to the appropriate personnel.
With benefits, including bonus (average 4%), social security, retirement, disability, health care, pension, and time off, the total median compensation/salary for banquet managers is $62,500 and salary for catering managers is $65,000 (June 2010).
Banquet managers frequently serve as a primary point of contact for event and meeting planners who organize seminars and conferences that do not require overnight guest rooms at hotels. Banquet managers also interact directly with clients who may be organizing a social event, such as weddings, anniversaries and other special occasions.
According to data from Salary.com, the national average base salary for an banquet manager falls between $35,000 and $50,000 per year (June 2010):
- 25th percentile: $35,000
- 50th percentile: $42,000
- 75th percentile: $49,500
Banquet manager and catering manager positions usually require a bachelor's degree and 2 to 5 years of experience in the field or related area. Banquet managers rely on their extensive experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals. They perform a variety of tasks, and work under general supervision. A certain degree of creativity and latitude is required. Typically reports to a supervisor or manager.
With 4-6 years of experience, catering managers can pursue the next career level as a catering director. And the average base salary for a catering director is between $43,000 and $74,500, according to Salary.com (June 2010).
With benefits, including bonus (average 7%), social security, retirement, disability, health care, pension, and time off, the total median compensation is $89,000 for Catering Directors (June 2010).
Even the entry level - a catering coordinator -isn't always so entry level. Catering coordinators are expected to have a similar knowledge of catering activities and supervising personnel, according to Salary.com.
Like catering managers, they tend to have 2 to 4 years of experience prior to stepping into this role. But the average base salary is slightly lower as they gain that initial experience: between $30,000 and $40,000 (still, not so bad). Catering coordinators don't usually earn a bonus, but their total compensation package is about $53,000.
Gaining Experience in Food Service Jobs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes catering managers as part of the chefs, head cooks, and food preparation and serving supervisors job classifications. So for those who wish to pursue a career as a catering manager, it's best to gain experience in any number of the jobs found in food service at restaurants, hotels and other venues.
Today's banquet server at the right organization could easily prepare himself or herself to become tomorrow's catering director. What follows? Maybe your own catering business.