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Director of Catering

SMG- Premier Food Services - Del Mar Fair Grounds
Del Mar, CA
Food and Beverage: Food/Beverage Management


This position is responsible for all Catering and Dining services generating approximately $7M in annual revenues. This senior position is also responsible for supervising all Catering, Banquet and Restaurant Managers.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Overall success of events and Catering operations.
  • Develop and maintain a local customer base.
  • Hire, train and supervise Catering Sales staff, Managers and FOH staff.
  • Produce contracts and Catering Event Orders for each event.
  • Develop proposals for potential clients and follow through on pending bookings.
  • Entertain prospective clients of the facilities.
  • Maintains an active role in local hospitality community and professional associations.
  • Attend in-house event-related meetings and relays immediate changes with other departments.
  • Plan, organize and direct various personnel and activities necessary to establish a safe and efficient environment.
  • Coordinates with the unit’s Safety Officer training programs for regular and part-time employees to increase awareness of safety issues, policies and procedures.
  • Schedule event staff for day-to-day operations and special events. Adjust and update work schedules to reflect cost efficiency and building activity.
  • Conducts reviews, coaching sessions and disciplinary actions in a professional and timely manner. Provides feedback and support to employees which further enhances their development.
  • Teaches and adheres to SMG’s philosophy, culture and commitment to quality food and service standards.
  • Assist with budget preparation and track budget allocation throughout the year.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with police, fire, EMS and other security personnel and/or safety organizations.
  • Maintain records and compile reports for management on a periodic basis.
  • Handle complaints, disturbances or related problems with the public, staff or promoters.
  • Investigate, report and provide follow-up on incidents including damage or injury to the facility or individuals.
  • Gain control over unusual circumstances caused by fire, storms, riots and other emergencies.
  • Train event staff, and other personnel in protective procedures, fire safety emergency procedures.
  • Meet and/or exceed projections, schedules and timelines.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Financial Management and Analysis:

  • Prices all menu and Catering items, specifying portion and prep quantities while adhering to food and sustainability guidelines.
  • Maintains and monitors Events and Catering payroll in conjunction with business forecasts and budgets.
  • Ensure that labor meets budgetary goals each week in all operations by establishing clear labor objectives and processes.
  • Ensures that invoices are coded and prices are updated on a weekly basis.
  • Reviews Catering portions and pricing quarterly, suggesting changes and monitoring waste from events.
  • Develop menus and oversee final Catering billing, refunds, rebates, event P&L and Union gratuity allocation.
  • Continues to test and update menu ideas and concepts, staying abreast of new Culinary trends.

Customer Service and Client Relations:

  • Represents SMG in a courteous, efficient and friendly manner in all customer, client and employee interactions.
  • Responds to all comments and complaints within 24 hours and follows up with a written response to the General Manager.
  • Interacts with customers and resolves complaints in a friendly and service orientated manner.
  • Communicates with the Client honestly, accurately and in a timely manner.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and/or Experience        

Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university and five (5) years related experience and/or training; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of sales and marketing principles necessary to promote the Fairgrounds.
  • At least (5-7) years of operational experience in Fairgrounds, Hotels or Convention centers.
  • Advanced oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong orientation to customer service and ability to work with other staff members in the facility.
  • Results oriented individual with the ability to meet required sales goals.
  • Excellent organizational, planning, communication, and inter-personal skills.
  • Ability to undertake and complete multiple tasks.
  • Excellent computer skills.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of principles and techniques of planning, implementing and supervising event staff. 
  • Possess knowledge of security issues related to entertainment venues.
  • Handle conflicts, make common sense decisions and exercise proper action during high tension and stressful situations.
  • Work independently, exercising judgment and initiative.
  • Organize and prioritize work to meet deadlines.  Work effectively under pressure and/or stringent schedule and produce accurate results.
  • Remain flexible and adjust to situations as they occur.
  • Follow oral and written instructions and communicate effectively with others in both oral and written form.
  • Maintain an effective working relationship with clients, employees, exhibitors, patrons and others encountered in the course of employment.
  • Possess any appropriate licenses as required by the state.
  • Operate a personal computer using Windows, Word, Excel and other standard office equipment.

Computer Skills  

Depending on the position, describe computer knowledge in specific software or type of computer system.

Hours of Work and Travel Requirements 

Must be able to work extended and/or irregular hours including nights, weekends and holidays as needed.

Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to move around the facilities; to stand for long hours during events; talk and hear. This position may require work inside or outside of the building, as needed by events.


The essential responsibilities of this position are described under the headings above.  They may be subject to change at any time due to reasonable accommodation or other reasons.  Also, this document in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to be performed by the employee occupying this position.

To Apply

Ariel Popa
Del Mar Fairground – Premier Food Services
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
Del Mar, CA 92014

Applicants that need reasonable accommodations to complete the application process may contact 610-729-1023.

SMG is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, and encourages Women, Minorities, Individuals with Disabilities, and protected Veterans to apply. VEVRAA Federal Contractor. 

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