As a key member of the Campus Dining Team, the Assistant Director of Catering assumes a strategic role in the overall planning and management of Campus Dining’s Catering Department. The Assistant Director provides Catering with expertise in event and hospitality management, customer management, culinary trends and overall program development. Reporting directly to the Director of Catering, the Assistant Catering Director will oversee the event planning responsibilities of the department and work alongside the culinary and operations teams to build internal relationships and knowledge.
The Assistant Director will be responsible for the daily interaction with customers and all of their catering needs (creating event sheets, menu proposal writing, vendor management, invoicing/ payments and event follow-up, and relationship building). This position manages the overall customer event planning process, ensuring all changes are communicated accurately and timely to the Catering and Events team. This position leads the department and staff by example, with respect and an orientation of servant-leadership. This includes the development of a customer centered department where excellence is the standard and team work is enhanced.
The Assistant Catering Director is responsible for assisting with the execution of daily catered events as needed, including but not limited to; Chancellor receptions, private high level receptions, seated dinners, buffet lunches and dinners, continental breakfasts, breakfast buffets, and coffee breaks.
About the Catering Department:
Vanderbilt Catering delivers the excellence expected from Vanderbilt University. As a division of Vanderbilt Campus Dining, we are engaged with our campus community. Whether the function is a continental breakfast for ten, a buffet for one hundred or a gala dinner for one thousand, Vanderbilt Catering will provide the caliber of food and distinction of service the University expects from its on- campus caterer.
Key Functions and Expected Performance:
Ensure new customer relationships are being cultivated and relationships with current customers are maintained (develop client base, follow-up on leads, meet with customers face to face, perform walk through of event space) ?
Create proposals, event orders for events and coordinate events -working closely with the Catering and Events team to monitor event schedule; maintain event changes and ensure event order details and calendar appointments and changes are communicated to the entire catering team. ?
Work with vendors to place orders for lighting, linens and décor for events.
Researches catering/food trends and recommends strategies to promote continued change, growth or expansion of Vanderbilt Catering. ?
Maintains appropriate documentation of events to ensure compliance with Vanderbilt Catering policies and procedures. ?
Manages group or interpersonal conflict situations and escalates issues when appropriate.
Customer Relations Management: ?
Be present during normal business hours and after hour events as necessary (including high level events and peak times). ?
Create awareness of group dining in all internal campus dining departments, communicating information in a timely manner to facilitate efficient purchasing, scheduling and staffing. ?
Resolve problems and answer customer/vendor inquiries concerning event activities. ?
Work closely with Catering Director to implement customer survey feedback program. ?
Financial Management: ?
Provide weekly updates on events confirmed during the week and lead weekly catering meetings to review event orders. ?
Create and maintain invoices, event files, billing/accounting files and department card purchases ?
Invoice both internal and external customers for events ?
Caterease and Oracle Management: ?
Build and maintain the Caterease data with regards to customers, locations, vendors, staffing and any other aspect related to events management ?
Work with Business Services to ensure billing in Oracle is accurate and matches Caterease data
Departmental Support: ?
Continuously meet with Catering team member store view event details. ?
Work closely with Catering Operations Manager to outline work load and continuously review ?event orders. ?
Coordinate events for campus dining and unit specific special events. ?
Communicate ideas, suggestions and inquires to Director of Catering ?
Plan and schedule work priorities in accordance with departmental goals, objectives and deadlines. ?
Attend all scheduled meetings and continuously work to build cross departmental relationships
?Supervisory Relationships: ?
This position reports administratively and functionally to the Director of Catering. This position works in a team driven environment and manages a Catering and Events Manager.
Key Characteristics of Successful Leaders at Vanderbilt University ?Accountability and Execution ?
Holds everyone in the workgroup accountable for accomplishing the outcomes of the unit. ?
Let’s the buck stop with them; owns the outcomes for the work units and doesn’t throw ?subordinates under the bus if things go wrong. ?
Practices what they preach; doesn’t set expectations of others that they don’t live up to ? ?
Pitches in to help the team when it really needs help. ?
Coaching and Developing Staff/Nurturing a Team
Ensures that team members have the tools and resources to do their jobs. ?
Praises publicly and is genuinely appreciative of the accomplishments of members of the team. ?
Criticizes privately and focuses more on how to do it better next time than how it went wrong ?this time. ?
Willingly shares expertise with team members; actively coaches. ?
Is clear with deliverables and outcomes needed but allows members of the team to tackle ?problems in the way they see fit, without micromanaging every process. ?
Cares about their employees as people, not just resources. ?
Makes Vanderbilt a fun place to work. Enhances comradery, builds trust and invites members of ?the work group to be their authentic selves. ?
Addresses problems among the workgroup quickly when they arise rather than letting them ? ?
Decision Making ?
Makes decisions, even in the face of incomplete information, rather than avoiding making decisions. ?
Seeks first to understand before making decisions. Doesn’t shoot first and ask questions later. ?
Solicits input from a diverse group of individuals including members of the work group, other ?stakeholders and critics, when faced with complex challenges, before making a decision. ?
Personal Learning ?
Thinks creatively when tackling a challenge; questions the status quo in search of better ways. Looks for insights and assesses risks.
Is willing to course correct if things aren’t going as planned, even after decisions have been made and communicated. ?
Welcomes inquiry and recognizes mistakes as learning opportunities. ?
Is willing to learn from their direct reports. ?
Setting and Communicating Strategy and Direction ?
Shares a clear vision for the work of the unit and is clear about outcomes are expected. ?
Provides clear guidance and direction, doesn’t change direction with the wind. Communicates in ?ways that are clear and succinct, rather than confusing or ambiguous. ?
Communicates early and often, even as information is evolving. ?
Champions the work unit’s causes and makes compelling business cases for its needs ?
Education and Certifications: ?
Bachelor’s Degree is necessary.
Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management or a related field is preferred. ?
Experience and Skills: ?
Two years offsite catering, restaurants, or specialty events planning experience is strongly preferred. ?
Strong time management and multi-tasking and organizational skills ?
Strong verbal communication skills and good business and commercial acumen ?
The ability to work and communicate with a diverse group of clients and colleagues ?
Assertive, professional and positive approach with a proven ability to develop and lead in a team ?environment ?
Financial, budgeting experience preferred ?
Ability to work independently and maintain a positive attitude within a busy, stressful ?environment ?
About Vanderbilt University
JDRQUEST&CO is a global executive search firm dedicated to recruiting diverse top talent in higher education and hospitality. We apply over 20 years experience in placing top talent in hospitality companies and leading colleges and universities in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
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