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Caterers provide food and refreshments and, in most cases, the necessary cutlery and related catering equipment for luncheons, wedding receptions and other large gatherings.

More importantly, they often help clients to plan these social gatherings, choose the colour scheme and sometimes a particular theme, set reasonable limits on the guest lists and plan the details of the menus, while making every effort to stay within budget.

Caterers give directions to, and supervise, assistants who prepare and serve the food and refreshments, and they may also be involved with the food preparation themselves.

Caterers plan the arrangement of tables so that guests will not be crowded as they serve themselves (at buffets) or sit down to enjoy their meal. They ensure the tables are well laid and decorated. Caterers may also arrange flowers, candles, other table decorations and organize the hiring of bartenders and entertainment for these gatherings.

Some caterers own and often manage a mobile catering service or dining rooms, cafeterias or restaurants, in hotels, department stores, factories, schools, hospitals and private country clubs.

Satisfying Aspects
- the possibility of being self-employed
- offering quality food and service to the public
- usually working in pleasant surroundings
- meeting many different kinds of people

Demanding aspects
- working under pressure
- working long and irregular hours
- trying to please disagreeable customers
- providing quality service while staying within the budget

A caterer should:
- have good business sense
- enjoy food preparation
- be responsible, poised and self-confident
- get along easily with other people
- care about people and their needs
- have good organizational skills and able to make decisions
- have initiative, courage and some artistic flair
- set high standards and stick to them
- be able to supervise the work of others
- have physical stamina and common sense
- be able to take pressure and hard work

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Hospitality Studies, Physical Sciences, Visual Arts, Consumer Studies

Degree: Food Science is offered at US

Diploma: Food Technology may be studied at CPUT, DUT, UJ and TUT.

N.Dip: Hotel or Hospitality Management, is offered by UJ, CPUT, CUT, DUT, TUT and VUT.

Certificate: at FET?Colleges such as Boland, Northlink, SW Gauteng, Port Elizabeth, Elangeni, False Bay, Flavius Mareka, Vuselela, Maluti, and South Cape.

The Hotel Industries Training Board (HITB) provides in-service training, including the following courses:

- Hotel management (3 years)
- Commercial catering and restaurant management (CBMT)
- Supervisory course
- Facilitator's course
- Professional cookery (3 years)
- On-the-job instruction course

Several cooking and chef schools offer appropriate training, from one to three year courses. Some schools focus on innovative cooking skills, whereas others offer a more rounded approach to cooking, service and catering management.

- Hotels
- Restaurants
- Guesthouses
- Hospitals
- Schools, universities and universities of technology with hostels
- Contract caterers
- Government departments
- Self-employed, with own catering business

Tourism Hospitality Board (THETA)      
P O Box 1329
Rivonia, 2128
Tel: (011) 803-6010 / 0860 100 221
Fax: (011) 803-6702

South African Chefs Association (SACA)    
P O Box 787584
Sandton, 2146
Tel: (011) 784-7464 Fax: (011) 784-7468

The Culinary Academy
P O Box 579
Green Point, 8051
Tel: (021) 461-0106/8 Fax: (021) 461-0104