A week in the life of a Catering Manager
My friends don’t really understand what I do ‘You’re just a glorified server, right?’ or ‘A professional plate taxi?’. Well, no, not really....
What am I?
Catering is a beast; I’m an event organiser, operations manager, logistics manager, delivery driver, server, bar tender, large equipment mover, sales assistant, cutlery polisher, dishwasher and occasional garbage removal expert.
Last week was a hectic one, and one I’ve been planning for months. We had our usual deliveries, small events and corporate groups throughout the week, then a 500 person cocktail party at the Audain Art Museum on Friday night followed by GranFondo; feeding 3600 Athletes and 400 VIP guests the next day on Saturday morning. We aced it all and I couldn’t have done it without the awesome Whistler Cooks team!
Here’s how my week went:
Wednesday – I started by purchasing all of the alcohol and soft drinks for the cocktail party, finalised the staff planning and ensured we have all equipment that we need for the weekend.
Thursday – packing the trucks for the 500 person cocktail party, and also packing the trucks for GranFondo (good job we’ve got a lot of trucks). Someone calls in sick, so I need to re-juggle the staff for the next day. I need 25 servers, so I keep my fingers crossed that the staffing agency comes through for tomorrow’s large event.
Friday – set up the Athletes tent and Alta Classe (VIP) tent for GranFondo and, unexpectedly, the tent installation team are running 3.5 hours behind schedule. I hurry back to the warehouse to finalise the pack up for the cocktail party, gather the set-up team then get to the venue and unpack all the trucks and set up for the event in under 1.5 hours (phew – that was a busy day and the event hasn’t even started yet).
There's just enough time for a quick photo and then its time to execute the event, which goes off without a hitch. Now its time to pack all the equipment back into the trucks (why is it so much harder to fit everything in on the return journey!). We unload at the warehouse, have a quick beer then it's home for 5 hours sleep.
Saturday – I'm back at the warehouse for 6.30am and my colleague Alistair has the truck loaded with the coffee drop for the GranFondo volunteers, so its its time to head to the venue to deliver the coffee, then I'm off to the Athletes tent. We finish the set up and then serve 3600 well-deserving and incredibly cold athletes, whilst checking in with the VIP tent, making sure the client is happy and the 400 VIP guests are getting the best service. The event finishes and it's time to once again pack up the trucks (you can sense a theme here!), we go back to the warehouse to unpack the food with a quick beer, and at this point I should have gone home to sleep, however one of my friends was getting married (an event which we were also catering!) so I went there for a few hours to celebrate before going home for a small respite.
Sunday - There's a a couple of smaller events today, deliveries and a huge tidy up and sort out to do. The trucks’ get pretty full after a big events and it’s difficult when a helicopter event needs something that’s in the back of the truck!
Every week is different and with the ever changing environment of the events world we are always kept on our toes. I like to start every week with a smile and with appreciation for the people that we serve, understanding that they are one of the reasons that I can live and work in this beautiful town. A smile and a good attitude will get you through almost any problems that the catering world will throw at you.