Catering manager

NHS catering managers make sure our patients and staff have highly nutritious, high quality food and drink when they need it. 

"For me, though, the best part is getting that elderly lady the egg roll that she really wants or some toast for a patient who’s quite ill and just doesn’t fancy anything else."

Read Lynn's story

Working life

As a catering manager, you'll:

Who will I work with?

Most catering departments also have assistant managers and catering supervisors who are responsible for day-to-day food and drink service. They supervise catering staff to make sure that meals are prepared and served correctly and that supplies are available and carefully used.

Catering managers may spend time liaising with dietitians and dietetic assistants to plan meals for patients on special diets. They also spend time with chefs and cooks planning menus.

You'll be part of a team responsible to hotel services managers.

Entry requirements

Catering managers in the NHS have a relevant qualification, usually a degree or HND. This could be in, for example

To get onto a degree or HND course you usually need 

or alternative qualifications, including

However, each institution sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully.

Skills needed

Catering managers have to be
  • interested in food and drink
  • flexible and adaptable
  • able to plan ahead and prioritise
  • keen to provide good customer service
  • organised
  • able to manage people and budgets
  • able to solve problem
  • be able to communicate

Training and development

If you join the NHS as a catering manager you will be given the training you need to introduce you to the department and its systems and procedures. You are likely to have opportunities to take further qualifications. You may also be expected to go on short courses in particular topics such as special diets.

Catering managers can become members of the Hospital Caterers Association or the Institute of Hospitality.

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