The staff employed for catered events varies with each job, based on the event’s guest count, level of formality and degree of complexity. However, you never want to have to turn down a job that would render a sizable profit because your business is understaffed. Although the number of employees needed for an event may fluctuate, most catered events require particular employees.
The event planner meets with the client in order to determine his needs for the event. As the business owner, you may want to fulfill this role. The planner often discusses various characteristics of the event with the client, such as the level of formality, the guest count and the vision that the client has for the event. The planner may suggest particular meals or drinks that correspond with the client’s aspirations for the event. She also may inform the client of the number of staff required for the event and presents an estimate for the services to the client. The event planner arrives at the event to help with setting up and tearing down.
The supervisor ensures that the wait staff and cooking staff complete tasks in a timely manner. He handles any problems that arise during the event and ensures that food is resupplied in buffet lines and cocktail trays.
The chef assists with decisions regarding the menu and prepares the food. One chef may be able to handle a small event, such as a family dinner. He may require sous chefs to assist him with meal preparation if the event is large or complicated.
Servers bring food to the guests and may refill water, tea, coffee and other beverages. Their role is based primarily on the type of event. For cocktail events, they pass trays around to the guests. You need one server per 25 guests for a cocktail event. Servers for buffet dinners resupply food and drinks. You need one server for every 25 to 45 guests, depending on the complexity of the food items and the number of different dishes. Servers must bring each dish to guests for a sit-down dinner, and you need one server for every eight to 12 guests. Use a higher number of servers for events that have multiple courses so each table receives prompt and personalized service.
With events in which alcoholic beverages are served, plan on having one bartender for every 50 guests. You may want to have more bartenders if the client wants to provide signature drinks to guests.
Busboys and Dishwashers
Busboys clear the tables, although your servers may be able to handle this job if the event is more intimate. Hire three to five busboys for clearing or more if you must use the same space for multiple events, such as a cocktail hour and then a reception for a wedding. If you are not using disposable dishes, you also need three to five dishwashers.
You may need additional employees to set up and tear down the event. Workers may assemble tables and chairs, rearrange the room and place linens on the tables. You also may want to hire a hostess or someone to assist guests in finding their assigned seat.