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Hiring and compensation for catering manager

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Im about to open a restaurant. I have a huge kitchen and a huge storage/staging room available. I want to put the expansion of my business into catering into my business plan.

 

I have done a little catering, many years ago. I did enough to know that I dont want to do it. I understand that will need to buy a van or 2, and also buy equipment. My question is, how to I hire and compensate a Catering manager.

 

My thoughts were I would pay a modest salary and tie the rest of the compensation to a % of the events they book. Is this typical?

 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

post #2 of 14

Many years ago I worked as a Catering Steward in Hawaii, my beginning in this business. The company had a Catering manager who booked the parties and made up the party sheets for the Stewards to follow. The Catering manager was involved in the larger off site parties to insure all the clients wishes were taken care of. The catering stewards did bar tending, buffet set up and buffet back, waiting tables, clean up and so on. The catering stewards would do the off site small caterings by themselves, either one or two people would pack the truck with warmer and all the salads and set up the party for the client. I was in charge of many large parties from a 2000 luncheon on a beach to catering Movie sets.

IMHO, it all depends on how busy the catering business will be, you don't want to pay someone to sit around waiting for someone to call. I would pay a % or commission on the catering sales ( make them sell )........................Bill

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks Billy.

I was thinking if they were in charge of just catering and bulk orders, I would offer a modest salary and a nice commision %...OR, I could pay more, make the % smaller and use them in the restaurant if they arent bringing in a lot of business.

 

There are lots of networking groups around, and I think if someone were to join all of them, they could drum up some business.

post #4 of 14

Hm, you "may" want to "think this through" a little more.

 

Basically, you're anticipating your "catering manager" will be "selling" for you, are you SURE you can deliver what (s)he is selling?

 

Make sure you definition of "commission" is VERY clear, I'd have a STRONG tendency to make it a percentage of the gross PROFIT (gross sales less direct costs including labor and overheads, food, rentals, any other direct cash outlays), not the gross SALES.

 

And I would make ALL quotations subject to MY approval BEFORE being presented to  prospective client. I'm the one in control of the "bottom line" not my "sales force"!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

Hm, you "may" want to "think this through" a little more.

 

Basically, you're anticipating your "catering manager" will be "selling" for you, are you SURE you can deliver what (s)he is selling?

 

Make sure you definition of "commission" is VERY clear, I'd have a STRONG tendency to make it a percentage of the gross PROFIT (gross sales less direct costs including labor and overheads, food, rentals, any other direct cash outlays), not the gross SALES.

 

And I would make ALL quotations subject to MY approval BEFORE being presented to  prospective client. I'm the one in control of the "bottom line" not my "sales force"!



Thanks Pete. Part of me thinking it through is coming here to the pro's such as yourself for advice.

 

I anticipate we would have a catering menu and a catering schedule online. I think unless we overbook we should have no problem deliverying what they sell (hope I understood what you meant by deliver).

 

I understand I will be in charge of my bottom line. My thought was a catering mananger would be just that. They would manage the catering end of the business. They would tell myself and the Chef what is needed and when.

 

I am here to gather ideas, thanks for taking a moment to respond.

post #6 of 14

there's so much negiotiation happening with events, especially with smaller caterers,

Pete was right in saying, defining the perimeters from the beginning is key.

 

Another option is: bigger salary to start out.....first 4-5 months say, with smaller % of sales commission

Then rotate....

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shroomgirl View Post

there's so much negiotiation happening with events, especially with smaller caterers,

Pete was right in saying, defining the perimeters from the beginning is key.

 

Another option is: bigger salary to start out.....first 4-5 months say, with smaller % of sales commission

Then rotate....



Ohh, ok. So, its pretty standard that prices are negoiated on catering events? My thoughts were I would price my product competitive, and that would be that.

 

I think you are right that I should probably start with a higher salary and give them time to network and advertise before dropping the salary.

 

Is it standard that catering managers will help in the restaurant if they have nothing going on, or will a quality catering manager balk at that?

 

Thanks again for the education.

post #8 of 14

Look at it this way, at the extremes, there are two methods of compensation:

  • Salary
  • Commission

 

On salary, the Catering Manager has NO financial interest in booking ANYTHING, (s)he gets paid no matter what.

 

On commission, the Catering Manager has EVERY financial interest in booking ANYTHING, after all, (s)he get a percentage of the gross whether you make money or not.

 

IMHO, you are NOT really hiring a "catering manager", you are looking for a "catering salesperson" who might be able to oversee a catering gig.

 

If they are supposed to be "selling", you DO NOT want them working at something else because, if they are "doing something", they are NOT selling!

 

IF you can put "adequate controls" in place so that you won't "lose money" or end up with "impossible jobs", I'd hire a "sales person" on straight commission (maybe a "draw" against commissions for a few months) AND a catering manager, on salary, to handle the events, with the understanding that the catering manager has a share in any "tips" that might come along.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #9 of 14

Grits, think this one out very carefully now.

 

Who is going out and getting the contracts?

 

If it's your catering mngr., protect yourself.

 

The most desirable thing about salespeople to new employers is thier "little black book", the most nerve wracking thing about salespeople to current employers is their "little black book".

 

More than one caterer in this town has had the majority of their accounts walk away with sales people.

 

Forget about non-competition contracts and legal mumbo jumbo, only an idiot would sign it with intentions of honouring it, and a good honourable sales guy would never sign it anyway.

 

Just a few thoughts.........

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #10 of 14

Well all good educated advice from above ...I agree with all....I really do not understand opening a catering division with basically next to none catering experiance,,,,My advice to you ...start small with this new gig and grow from there...you don't know much and your already gung ho on hiring a catering manager?

My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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My feet are firmly planted in mid air
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post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsy2727 View Post

Well all good educated advice from above ...I agree with all....I really do not understand opening a catering division with basically next to none catering experiance,,,,My advice to you ...start small with this new gig and grow from there...you don't know much and your already gung ho on hiring a catering manager?


I have done some catering, but I dont like doing it, and Ive never done a lot of it. Im not gung ho on hiring a catering manager. Im finishing my business plan, and thinking future concept growth. catering just makes sense considering the space I have and cooking space under hood.

I just dont want to do catering personally. I love executing a service but set up and breakdown is torture (but I dont mind opening or closing a store, go figure).

 

Again, I appreciate the advice.
 

post #12 of 14

party manager....someone who setsup, breaksdown and makes sure that the party runs smoothly.   Paid salary or by event.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grits-N-Gravy View Post

I have done some catering, but I dont like doing it, and Ive never done a lot of it. Im not gung ho on hiring a catering manager. Im finishing my business plan, and thinking future concept growth. catering just makes sense considering the space I have and cooking space under hood

I just dont want to do catering personally. ...

Hm, so you have the physical facilities for on-site catering...OK, have you considered "leasing/renting out" the catering "space" and contracting for the exclusive supply of food?

 

That way, you are  "in control" of what you do  (and enjoy) the best and you let someone else take the risk/responsibility for catered events. You don't have to "pay a salary" or allow for commission payments or worry when no catering events are booked or panic when someone sells an event that ends up costing more than was charged.

 

As long as your "catering menu" is priced correctly, you're not going to LOSE money, and you might even make a little!
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #14 of 14

I was picnic salesman in Orange County California back in the late 20th century. The way it worked for me was this.

 

I got paid 7% of the net sale, (before tax, excluding labor and gratuity). All I had to do for my 7% was get the deposit check of 50%. Passing on what I sold to the production dept was just handing them the contract, so no real coordination was needed for my commission. I may have been drawing a minimum salary as well.

 

Before you rack your brains too much over how to pay, consult your local labor laws. Industries such as sales, the service industry and some factory work (food canning I think), all have wage, and overtime rules specific to their respective industries. Also the independent contractor rule may come into play. If you tell them when to work, where to work, or provide them tools to work, then they are employees and need to be paid a wage.

 

Mark

 

"You are only as good as who you hire."
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"You are only as good as who you hire."
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