When we say catering, the first thing that pops up in our mind is food. The served food should look exquisite and taste delicious at the same time. Catering like any other careers involves combination of intense training, hard work and many other skills. Here below are the characteristics of a good caterer:
Basically, catering is all about food. You need to have passion for making good food as you will be going through various processes like cooking, storage, presentation and taste of the food. Planning menus, having substitution recipe and timely transportation of large quantity of food are the results of your intense training. It depicts your experience. Your behavior with the food—presentation, hygiene and proper service—will surely retain customers.
Flexibility and creativity
Catering requires long dealing hours with people. So, you have to develop good listening habit. Customers have different choices and dietary requirements. Hence, a good caterer needs to handle different options and changes effectively. They should even deal with last minute changes easily.
Continuous experiment with food will lead them towards expertise. This will help a caterer to create unique dishes and new menus taking him/her one step ahead among others in this business.
Smart caterer needs to be up to date about food safety laws and comply with these laws. Use of fresh food must be prioritized to those of frozen foods. Storage, cooking, handling and prevention from food contamination should be properly taken care.
Knowledge of social, religious, cultures and customs
Enthusiastic caterer should always be prepared for any kind of dish to be prepared. Different cultures have different varieties of dishes and have their own cooking recipe. Good chef needs to refresh and update his various dishes making ability constantly.
Excellent organizational and time management skills
Being a caterer means having all-round skills and abilities. Caterer needs to manage front end and back end staff—cook staff, servers, dishwashers and cleaners— at once. Experienced caterer need to have broader mind to look for big picture: maintain the menu, advice on safety regulations, address the concern matter and take immediate action where necessary.
Kitchen before service is packed with people moving here and there, shouting about order and service. Food preparation and presentation is very time consuming thus, a caterer needs to balance the time before and during the service. He/she should be able to handle the pressure without losing his temper and ensure that food being served is of utmost quality and taste.
Good customer service can buy loyalty from the customers. You need to be diplomatic, polite courteous while handling clients. Caterers work with the clients while designing the menu. There may arise a need to change the dish so, caterer must be able to convince the client in such a way that the client may not think that he had been cheated. Good communication and people managing skills lead to gaining customer loyalty and having successful catering business.
Attention to details
When you are providing full service you are not just in charge of food but also décor, table management, plating and little details that makes the special day of the clients more enjoyable and memorable. Pay attention to details about lines, cleanliness and presentation of tables, plating of the meal ensuring best of quality. Caterer also needs to see that every guest is comfortable with the arrangements, ambience, lightning and food accordingly with the evening.
Proficiency in accounting principles and marketing
Catering business does not limit within the frame of food, service and manner. It also means book-keeping, accounting, marketing and managing employees. Catering has fluctuating work hours thus, needs to deal the finances accordingly during peak and off seasons. Pricing, taxes, schedules and budget needs to be properly managed.
Marketing is essential way of increasing the clients and most marketing is done with the word of mouth. Beautiful decorations and excellent presentations may go waste if the quality and taste of food does not satisfy the guests. And, negative review will hamper your business. You need to have good networking skills and increase contacts that can help in marketing about your catering services, like maintain a good network with florists, event planners who make up part of the large event.