Catering Assistant Job Information

A catering assistant is one of the baseline jobs found in the food and hospitality industry. These jobs are sometimes overlooked as career entry points, but many industry professionals began their careers as assistants. The catering assistant jobs can create some good career paths with further qualifications and experience. 

You don't need qualifications to become a catering assistant, although prior experience and familiarity with the workplace environment are advantages in getting the jobs.

The work environment

The catering assistant's role is as a manual worker, doing basic food preparation, cleaning, washing dishes and cooking utensils, essentially everything involved in kitchen operations. Catering assistants also operate as gophers, doing the various incidental tasks that happen in the course of business.

The kitchen workplace is always busy, and can be demanding. Catering assistants work with other kitchen staff in a variety of tasks, so interpersonal skills are important. This is very much a team environment, working to orders from clients as well as coping with the basic roles. That means you can be multi-tasking on a regular basis, juggling orders and other duties simultaneously.

Depending on the line of work, workplace conditions are variable. In hotels and restaurants the usual workplace environment is the kitchen and stores areas. These are generally good, clean workplace environments, and in top level establishments the working conditions can be excellent. If you're working with a commercial caterer, you may be on the move a lot, because travel to venues is one of the additional requirements.

Hours of work

Working in the food and hospitality industry means working according to the requirements of the business. That can require some adjustment, if you haven't worked restaurant-like hours before. Hours and shifts can vary enormously. Kitchens operate on both sides of working hours, before opening and after closing. Some 24 hour businesses operate in shifts. With caterers, working times are often on demand, but usually within basic restaurant times.


The salaries for catering assistants at entry level are low to median, but improve with additional experience and supervisory roles. Most professional hoteliers and restaurateurs are prepared to pay for reliable staff, particularly in the all-important kitchen operations area, so wages with these higher quality employers can be good.

The career environment

These are "from scratch" positions, in career terms, but there's an unsuspected upside that can lead to management positions. You can literally start by cleaning the floors and end up running the business, as a catering assistant. The catering assistant role, experience and additional training can provide the basis for career advancement.

For example, one of the most important ongoing roles in any kitchen operation is food hygiene. Hygiene is a vital statutory requirement in the food industry. Food industry businesses therefore want someone who can deal with food hygiene and keep them on the right side of the law.

 Keeping the workplace hygienic is the catering assistant's role, and it's also one of the primary qualifications they obtain in initial industry studies. The food hygiene qualification is one of the essential requirements of managers.