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As an on-call staff member of a large catering company, you're basically a mobile food display or roving trash collector. Your instructions will include dehumanizing commands like, "Please don't talk to any of the guests" and "Don't look the host directly in the eye." And since you work primarily for tips, when the client stiffs you, the only power you feel is the ability to shout really loudly at no one in particular.

If you're the owner of your own catering company, you're at the opposite end of the power ladder. Prep cooks, servers, and bartenders look to you for guidance (and payment). A lot of new chefs coming out of culinary school will apprentice under you, hoping to glom off your expertise. 

Also, cooks without a culinary background need guidance when preparing food. The only people you have to worry about are your clients—and you should, because they ultimately decide whether or not you work again.

In this biz, you're only as powerful as the last event you hosted. If you knocked high society's socks off with a magnificently prepared feast for their latest fête, you should have some good word-of-mouth; but if you grossly undercooked the salmon, you may be too busy handling lawsuits to spend time salvaging your reputation.