What is a Caterer?

Catering is one of the fastest growing careers in the culinary arts field!

A caterer arranges the preparation, delivery, and presentation of food for clients. If you've ever attended a bridal shower, fund raiser, rehearsal dinner, wedding reception, or a bar mitzvah that had beautifully prepared and presented food, chances are that event was catered.

What does a Caterer do?

A caterer arranging food presentation for a client.

There are three main types of caterers which include:
- Mobile Caterers
- Hotel/Restaurant Caterers
- Private Caterers

Caterers of each type meet a variety of needs for their clients. Note that in some cases, dietary and religious needs may play a part in the event being catered, and need to be carefully observed.

Mobile Caterers - will often be found at a fair, a street corner, a food and drink trailer at a construction site, in a shopping mall kiosk or food court, and sometimes in the lobbies of some businesses.

These types of caterers offer pre-packaged items ranging from sandwiches to salads and may even deliver meals for business clientele too busy to leave their office for lunch.

Hotel/Restaurant Caterers - are often liaisons between the client and the kitchen staff for planning an event.

Their responsibilities include menu preparation, banquet arrangement, table set-up, delivery of decorations, as well as arranging for extra service personnel as needed.

Private Caterers - own their own businesses, contracting vendors as needed. These caterers are often hired for wedding receptions, birthday parties, business and personal anniversaries, business holiday events, retirement parties, as well as many other events.

They are responsible for all aspects of the occasion including menus, plate and dinnerware rentals, and arranging for the appropriate wait staff. They are also often responsible for arranging a clean-up crew to come in after the event has ended.


Catering requires a strong work ethic, as well as patience, excellent communication skills, supervisory skills, and a great eye for detail. Excellent organizational skills, as well as fiscal responsibility, will also help a caterer to become successful in this career.

Legal requirements need to be met by caterers as well. These include a health permit, liability insurance, and the appropriate business permits required by the state or province.

Interested in becoming a caterer?

We can help! Our membership gives you tools, resources, guidance, and support to pursue a career as a caterer. You’ll get access to scholarships, exclusive discounts on career coaching, online courses, and industry training. As an added bonus, tap into savings on food, entertainment, electronics, and so much more.

Learn more

What is the workplace of a Caterer like?

A caterer can work in a variety of locations, both indoors and outdoors.

Some examples are construction sites, business lobbies, hotels, banquet and wedding receptions, and people's private homes.

Caterers are also known as:
Event Caterer Mobile Caterer Hotel Caterer Restaurant Caterer Private Caterer Corporate Caterer Craft Service Caterer Wedding Caterer Social Event Caterer Concession Caterer