Hotel Banquet Manager
How to Become a Success
Career Overview and Responsbilities
A banquet manager’s job begins after the event sale is made, the contract is signed and continues after the last guest has left. Banquet managers work with banquet sales directors and chefs to ensure that all of the terms of a contract are met and that guests receive the highest quality in food service and overall experience.
After a banquet facility signs a contract with a client, the banquet manager meets with the sales director and executive chef to review the contract. The banquet manager reviews the number of guests, type of function and room layout. This helps him understand how many wait staff the function will require, how the room should be set up, how the type of meal served will affect the timing of food service and what items the room will need regarding tables, chairs, carving station and bar.
Once the banquet manager is familiar with the event logistics, he will review the execution of event. This includes when cocktails will be served, guests are seated, dinner is served and cleared and the hours the bar will be open. He will ensure the facility has everything needed to fulfill the contract, taking an inventory of tables, chairs, tablecloths, glasses, centerpieces, candles, utensils, linens, heat lamps and all non-kitchen items the function will require. The executive chef is responsible for some of the items the banquet staff will use, such as food racks and heating boxes. If the facility does not have a bar manager, the banquet manager handles all beer, wine, liquor and soft drink logistics.
The banquet manager determines the staffing levels of events, including servers, busboys and bartenders. The manager will assign individual in-house staff and book any contract labor required. The banquet manager and sales director often work on staff budgets to ensure the facility meets its profit goals. A banquet manager helps hire, train, manage, discipline and terminate staff. He also determines the distribution of gratuities, usually built into the bill. The banquet manager might act as the contact between the banquet client and the facility, answering any questions, such as whether the bar can be kept open, if the wine selection can be changed or if additional quests can be added.
After the sales director meets with the chef, the banquet manager and chef work together to fulfill the contract. The chef usually tells the banquet manager how he plans to serve the meal, with the manager making suggestions concerning meal delivery. Banquets usually require servers to help with simple meal prep as part of a pre-service assembly-line process called “plating.” During plating, a row of people send plates from one to another, each adding one item to the plate, with the final person often adding a sauce or gravy and a sprinkle of parsley before covering the plate and placing it in the heating box. The chef might start the line, placing the main entree item on the plate, with the banquet manager performing the last function to ensure each plate looks professional before it’s served.
After a banquet, the banquet manager will make notes about any items the facility needs to repair or replaced to ensure proper inventory. He will have a meeting or conversation with the sales director and/or chef to discuss any problems or suggestions for future events.
Pros and Cons
Pros of a Career as a Banquet Manager
Certification is available to enhance job prospects*
Possibility of promotion from within based on experience alone*
Many employers provide in-house training*
Free meals may be a benefit*
Cons of a Career as a Banquet Manager
Work long days (50+ hours per week) and may need to work every day of the week*
Experience is often required (2-5 years within the field)*
May have to handle complaints from customers*
Potential for minor on-the-job injuries*
Slow job growth (2% reported through 2022 for food service managers)*