There are no formal educational qualifications to begin a catering career, but that doesn't mean it's not a good idea. You can save yourself a lot of headaches down the line by taking a few classes in food management and small business administration. Of course, you may want to consider a culinary class or two if you aren't already an accomplished cook. There are also professional catering certifications and workshops to help train you in event coordination. A certification can go a long way to putting a customer's mind at ease about your abilities.
It may sound obvious, but you'd better be able to cook and be able to do it well under stressful conditions. Try some trial runs at a few extended family events if you're not sure about your abilities. Strong organizational skills are critical in the catering business. A lot needs to happen to successfully cater an event and it has to be done in a very specific sequence and timing. Communication skills are also imperative in order keep clients and coworkers satisfied and happy. Prepare yourself ahead of time by taking some business classes to understand the steps involved in running a successful small business.
Previous work in food and hospitality can create a great foundation for a catering career. Be careful if you're thinking of jumping into catering without a bit of experience under your belt. It is difficult to develop the food preparation and service qualifications you will need as a caterer if you haven't had some experience in the industry. Working in the industry can also help you build important relationships with suppliers, other chefs, and potential future staff that may come in handy as you prepare to launch your catering business.
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