Catering Sales Coordinator Career Profile
Hotel and conference center catering departments offer some good entry-level positions for folks looking to break into event planning as a career. Understanding the daily operations of an on-site catering operation is required knowledge for most hotel management positions, so acquiring this experience early in your career will lay the foundation for long-term job growth.
Entry-Level Opportunities in Event Venue Catering
Every venue has a different hierarchy of catering sales positions, but the most prominent opportunity for those with limited event backgrounds is typically advertised as “catering sales coordinator” or “catering accounts representative.” These positions are essentially one in the same; certain venues use different titles to describe the position.
Here is an overview of the basics of catering sales coordinator jobs.
Catering Sales Coordinator Job Requirements and Salary
Catering sales positions typically require a bachelor’s degree or some combination of higher education and work experience. Catering sales coordinator salaries can fall between $30,000 and $40,000 per year depending on experience and the size and prestige of the venue. Annual performance and sales bonuses are usually included at the big hotel corporations as well.
Catering Sales Coordinator Responsibilities and Skills
The primary role of a catering sales coordinator is to meet with the client or lead planner to discuss food and beverage needs for their event. In some venues, coordinators work directly with the client and handle all aspects of catering for them. Other venues assign an event coordinator to clients, and in this scenario the catering sales coordinator would process food and beverage requests from the event coordinator and advise them on menu selection, prices, and staffing needs.
The catering sales staff is expected to be familiar with the venue catering guide and ordering policies. Because this is primarily a sales position, one of the goals is to upsell menu selections and maximize revenue whenever possible. This is achieved through increasing per person food spends and applying structured fees in situations where costs overrun prices.
Beyond sales and customer service, catering sales coordinators are also responsible for managing the details for client food orders. This includes creating banquet event orders and ensuring that relevant details are communicated to both the kitchen and banquet staff. Efficient use of event management programs, email, and room diagram software is often essential for good performance.
As with any coordinator position, communication is one of the key important skills to have. As the main contact for the client, catering sales representatives are trusted to communicate all of the client’s food and beverage requests to the appropriate catering channel.
Opportunities for Career Advancement
The best catering sales coordinators are proactive problem solvers who know how to anticipate and identify problems before they occur. A lot of catering mishaps occur due to a lack of information, which is why the sales coordinator has to really work with the client to understand all of their needs and chief concerns. A good coordinator will also help identify inefficient departmental practices and suggest ways to streamline them to shape a better, more efficient experience for the both the client and event staff.
Advancement opportunities are wide-ranging for individuals who demonstrate the ability to handle a high-volume work accurately. Within the catering department, sales coordinators can become catering managers or food and beverage directors. Hotel-related career opportunities can also include room and banquet sales, front desk management, and even general manager.