Contract Catering: A Flexible Path in Hospitality
When it comes to forging careers in hospitality, contract catering is often considered to be the less glamorous side of the industry. Catering, most commonly associated with corporate events, is overshadowed by the allure of high-end restaurants and fine dining establishments where creativity and prestige are so highly valued.
However, whilst catering might not have the same glamorous reputation as holding a top spot in a fine-dining establishment, there are many bonuses to taking contract catering work that are often overlooked. Contract catering offers stability, a healthy work-life balance, sociable hours and unique career opportunities. Corporate event catering may not be what people imagine when they first get into the hospitality business, but there are some clear advantages to getting into catering services for corporate events.
Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to the industry, you should not discount contract catering.
What is Contract Catering?
Contract catering involves a company or organisation hiring a catering company to provide services regularly. A contract drawn up by the hiring organisation will stipulate the regularity of hours and pay - these contracts can be both short or long-term. Many organisations like schools, health centres and other public facilities will employ caterers year-round. Other businesses will hire for short-term corporate catering contracts for things like conferences, and other short-term corporate events that involve large numbers of people.
There are many different roles in contract catering, from catering managers and directors who will manage bookings, contracts and events, to head chefs, sous chefs and assistants who will run the day-to-day and customer-facing roles.
Contract Catering Offers Stability
One of the main reasons people get into contract catering is for the stability that these roles provide. Taking a contract catering position in a government body like a healthcare centre or in education will mean regular working hours and an income that does not rely on customer numbers, or by sales.
Caterers who work in schools, for example, will know that they will be working Monday-Friday, term time, for the entire school year. What’s more, their hours will also likely be consistent - a rarity in many hospitality roles where rotas can be changing week to week - and their pay will be fixed. Of course, this stability can also be found in corporate catering, such as being hired long-term by a business to provide corporate lunch catering.
This kind of stability is great for people with regular commitments outside of work. Catering in school would be a great choice for someone with childcare commitments who will need to be home outside of school hours.
This kind of stability is great for people who struggle without a sense of routine. Some people love hospitality because of the flexibility - many people enjoy working odd hours that change week to week - however, some people just work better when they have regular hours to plan their lives around. This kind of consistency is something that a lot of people in the hospitality industry crave, and this level of stability can be hard to find in private businesses.
Work Sociable Hours with Contract Catering
The hospitality industry is unique in that it is at its peak when almost all other industries are at their least busy. Workers in the hospitality industry are expected to work unsociable hours, often late at night, or early in the morning, and often over public holidays.
Weekend commitments make holiday planning a nightmare, and it is because of these commitments that hospitality workers often struggle to strike a healthy work-life balance, and consistently find that they have to miss out on important social events.
It cannot be overstated how important it is for our mental health for us to socialise. Constantly having to miss out on events with friends and family because of work commitments will not only harm relationships, but it will also harm our mental health, leading to low mood, stress and eventually exhaustion. Becoming unsociable will also negatively impact our work performance.
However, contract catering can offer an easy fix. Contract catering, often in government bodies like schools or healthcare, offers work during office hours, freeing up workers to socialise at the weekend and evenings, allowing them a better opportunity to strike the perfect work/life balance. You can find the catering contract to suit your needs.
Diverse Cuisine, Diverse Skills
For experienced hospitality workers, picking up roles in contract catering may also allow them to pick up new skills - working in new settings, cooking new cuisines and working with new people. Unlike the consistent menu of a traditional restaurant, catering professionals will often rotate cuisines and cooking styles over the course of the week, or month. Variety not only keeps the work exciting but also provides an invaluable opportunity for hospitality workers to expand their skill sets.
Moreover, catering is not solely about cooking; it extends into areas like event and budget management. Professionals in the catering industry may find themselves orchestrating events, managing venues, and acquiring practical skills such as first aid training. The multifaceted nature of catering opens doors to a spectrum of experiences that contribute to a well-rounded and adaptable skill set. In other words, catering is a great way to expand and build your CV.
Catering also trains chefs to become adaptable to a variety of allergens, as well as become adept at working on a tight budget. Part of providing catering services for corporate companies includes having to adapt to a client’s budget and dietary needs. This requires creative and adaptable thinking.
It is perhaps unfair how contract corporate food catering is seen as a lesser side of the hospitality industry when catering requires many important and difficult skills. Catering is not for the faint of heart; it demands adaptability and quick thinking. Professionals in this field encounter varying customer needs daily, meaning that they have to develop the ability to pivot and cater to a diverse range of preferences.
Catering - A Unique and Promising Career
The catering industry is a dynamic and rewarding career path that requires talented workers. Unlike many hospitality roles, contract catering offers stability and the chance to keep sociable hours free to spend with friends and family.
The world of catering is broad - from corporate event catering to serving school lunches to prepping meals to complex diet plans in a healthcare centre. Catering can offer a broad range of work that will teach you valuable skills whilst offering stability.
Interested in working contract catering missions? Contact customer support via the assistance on the app, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Or, if you’re a contract caterer looking for talented and experienced workers, create a Brigad account today!