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Become A Catering Associate

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Working As A Catering Associate

  • Getting Information
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • $22,530

    Average Salary

What Does A Catering Associate Do

Food and beverage serving and related workers perform a variety of customer service, food preparation, and cleaning duties in restaurants, cafeterias, and other eating and drinking establishments.

Duties

Food and beverage serving and related workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and answer their questions about menu items and specials
  • Take food or drink orders from customers
  • Prepare food and drink orders, such as sandwiches, salads, and coffee
  • Relay customers’ orders to other kitchen staff
  • Serve food and drinks to customers at a counter, at a stand, or in a hotel room
  • Clean assigned work areas, dining tables, or serving counters
  • Replenish and stock service stations, cabinets, and tables
  • Set tables or prepare food trays for new customers

Food and beverage serving and related workers are the front line of customer service in restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service establishments. Depending on the establishment, they take customers’ food and drink orders and serve food and beverages.

Most work as part of a team, helping coworkers to improve workflow and customer service. The job titles of food and beverage serving and related workers vary with where they work and what they do.

The following are examples of types of food and beverage serving and related workers: 

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, are employed primarily by fast-food restaurants. They take food and beverage orders, prepare or retrieve items when ready, fill cups with beverages, and accept customers’ payments. They also heat food items and make salads and sandwiches.

Counter attendants take orders and serve food over a counter in snack bars, cafeterias, movie theaters, and coffee shops. They fill cups with coffee, soda, and other beverages, and may prepare fountain specialties, such as milkshakes and ice cream sundaes. Counter attendants take carryout orders from diners and wrap or place items in containers. They clean counters, prepare itemized bills, and accept customers’ payments.

Food servers, nonrestaurant, serve food to customers outside of a restaurant environment. Many deliver room service meals in hotels or meals to hospital rooms. Some act as carhops, bringing orders to customers in parked cars.

Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers—sometimes collectively referred to as bus staff—help waiters, waitresses, and bartenders by cleaning and setting tables, removing dirty dishes, and keeping serving areas stocked with supplies. They also may help waiters and waitresses by bringing meals out of the kitchen, distributing dishes to diners, filling water glasses, and delivering condiments. Cafeteria attendants stock serving tables with food trays, dishes, and silverware. They sometimes carry trays to dining tables for customers. Bartender helpers keep bar equipment clean and glasses washed. 

Hosts and hostesses greet customers and manage reservation and waiting lists. They may direct customers to coatrooms, restrooms, or a waiting area until their table is ready. Hosts and hostesses assign guests to tables suitable for the size of their group, escort patrons to their seats, and provide menus. They also take reservations over the phone, arrange parties, and help with other customers’ requests.

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How To Become A Catering Associate

Most food and beverage service jobs are entry-level jobs and do not require a high school diploma. The majority of workers receive short-term on-the-job training.

Most states require workers, such as nonrestaurant servers, who serve alcoholic beverages to be 18 years of age or older.

Education

There are no formal education requirements for becoming a food and beverage serving worker.

Training

Most workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting several weeks. Training includes basic customer service, kitchen safety, safe food-handling procedures, and good sanitation habits.

Some employers, particularly those in fast-food restaurants, teach new workers with the use of self-study programs, online programs, audiovisual presentations, or instructional booklets that explain food preparation and service procedures. However, most food and beverage serving and related workers learn their skills by watching and working with more experienced workers.

Some full-service restaurants provide new dining room employees with classroom training sessions that alternate with periods of on-the-job work experience. The training communicates the operating philosophy of the restaurant, helps new employees establish a personal rapport with other staff, teaches employees formal serving techniques, and instills a desire in the staff to work as a team.

Some nonrestaurant servers and bartender helpers who work in establishments where alcohol is served may need training on state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some states, counties, and cities mandate such training, which typically lasts a few hours and can be taken online or in-house.

Advancement

Advancement opportunities are limited to those who remain on the job for a long time. However, some dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers may advance to waiter, waitress, or bartender positions as they learn the basics of serving food or preparing drinks.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Food and beverage serving and related workers must listen carefully to their customers’ orders and relay them correctly to the kitchen staff so that the orders are prepared to the customers’ request.

Customer-service skills. Food service establishments rely on good food and customer service to keep customers and succeed in a competitive industry. As a result, workers should be courteous and be able to attend to customers’ requests.

Physical stamina. Food and beverage serving and related workers spend most of their worktime standing, carrying heavy trays, cleaning work areas, and attending to customers’ needs.

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Catering Associate jobs

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Catering Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

71.7%

Male

26.4%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

80.9%

Hispanic or Latino

10.9%

Asian

6.6%

Unknown

1.2%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.0%

French

11.5%

German

4.9%

Russian

3.3%

Arabic

3.3%

Italian

3.3%

Swahili

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.6%

Bosnian

1.6%

Serbian

1.6%

Japanese

1.6%

Catalan

1.6%

Polish

1.6%

Croatian

1.6%

Korean

1.6%
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Catering Associate Education

Schools

Central Piedmont Community College

9.5%

East Tennessee State University

9.5%

University of Kentucky

8.0%

University of Phoenix

6.6%

Santa Fe College

5.8%

Johnson & Wales University

5.1%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

4.4%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.4%

Owensboro Community and Technical College

4.4%

Anne Arundel Community College

4.4%

Tidewater Community College

4.4%

Greenville Technical College

4.4%

Blinn College

3.6%

Wayne State University

3.6%

West Virginia University

3.6%

University of Louisville

3.6%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

3.6%

Southwest Tennessee Community College

3.6%

Towson University

3.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.6%
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Majors

Business

17.0%

Medical Assisting Services

7.9%

Criminal Justice

7.8%

Culinary Arts

6.6%

Health Care Administration

6.6%

Psychology

6.2%

Nursing

5.3%

General Studies

4.7%

Dietetics

4.7%

Food And Nutrition

4.5%

Education

4.2%

Hospitality Management

3.8%

Management

3.0%

Social Work

2.8%

Accounting

2.8%

Communication

2.6%

Marketing

2.6%

Early Childhood Education

2.5%

Cosmetology

2.1%

Pharmacy

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

33.4%

Other

32.9%

Associate

18.6%

Certificate

5.8%

Masters

5.1%

Diploma

3.3%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Catering Associate

FoodTraysPatientMealTraysCustomerServiceSkillsTrayDeliveryPatientsDietFoodPreparationDietRestrictionsSet-UpBanquetPatientMealOrdersTrayAssemblyPatientRoomsSpecialRequestsDietOrderLimitationsFoodItemsPatientMenuSelectionsPatientMealServicePatientTrayLinePatientSatisfactionFoodAllergies

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Top Catering Associate Skills

  1. Food Trays
  2. Patient Meal Trays
  3. Customer Service Skills
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepare and deliver food trays to patients within the hospital.
  • Communicate and apply customer service skills.
  • Perform tray assembly, tray delivery, and tray pick ups in between meal food delivery.
  • Interact with Nursing to ensure patients diet prescriptions are accurate, and patients food needs are met.
  • Monitor food preparation or serving techniques to ensure that proper procedures are followed

Top Catering Associate Employers

Catering Associate Videos

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