Catering Project Management


I have run various successful catering businesses over the years both in the UK and in Hungary. One of the biggest problems faced by even good caterers is a lack of planning in preparing a catering project. This is where catering project management comes in. So here are some key things to know before you get started:

What is a Catering Project?

The definition of a catering project is the same as all projects – a unique series of actions designed to accomplish a unique goal within a specific time and cost limitations.

What is Catering Project Management?

Catering Project Management deals with planning, delegating, monitoring and controlling the project; in other words the administration of the project.

The role of a Catering Project Manager is to achieve project objectivities within the targets set for time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risk.

Let me look at some typical things that can go wrong in a project:
I will use a building of a kitchen as a sample project. This should be easy enough for the majority of people to understand. Let me suppose that you are using different subcontractors and all this need to be coordinated so that work gets done properly.

You might find out just one week before the plumbers are due to arrive that they may be delayed for one month. This will have a series of effects on most other work, as it will be difficult to reschedule other contractors and you may still have to pay part of their costs due to the agreement that you have with them.

So, project management is needed to better plan, monitor work, do numerous checks and signoffs, deal with risk, deal with issues as they arise, identify areas to cut costs, and so on. Other common failures are:

  • Insufficient product definitions at the start, resulting in the wrong product being developed.
  • Lack of communication, which may cause a black cloud over the project.
  • Poor estimation of time and cost, which may cause the project to run out of money.

So, I am sure now you can see that there is a need for a good Catering Management method.

The Project Management is principle-based, meaning that a catering project includes 7 principles:

(1) Continued business justification (2) Learn from experience (3) Defined roles and responsibilities (4) Managed by stage (5) Manage by exception (6)  Focus on products (7) Tailor to suit the project environment

Six variables / Six Performance Targets (TeCQuilla SoBeR)

Timescales: The question to ask for timescales: When will the project be finished?
Cost: Project have to give a return on investment: therefore, the question to ask are: Are the costs being controlled? and Are we within budget?
Quality: Will the product be usable at the end of the project? (in other words fit for the purpose?)
Scope: Is the scope well-defined and clear to all stakeholders? Care must be taken by the Project Manager to avoid scope creep, which is to allow new requirements to be added during the project.
Benefits: Why are we doing this project and what are the benefits?
Risk: All projects are unique and therefore have risk. How much risk can we take on and how can risk be managed? For example, in the project concerned with building a kitchen, what happens if one of the subcontractors does not show up?

I hope that you find this article useful in getting you started. If you have any comments or questions feel free to get in touch via the contact tab.