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General Manager, Catering and Conference Services

Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted date
Jul 21, 2021

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Other Business & Administrative Affairs, Auxiliary Services, Public Relations & Marketing (Campus), Conference & Special Event Administration, Food Services Management
Employment Type
Full Time
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Job Summary

RISD Caters and the Campus Conferences and Event Services (CCES) office is actively seeking a General Manager for Catering and Conference Services to join its growing team.

RISD Dining and RISD Catering delivers exceptional hospitality by supporting local farms through seasonally-inspired menus, and utilizing the strengths of its staff to provide the absolute best in culinary artistry to the greater community. CCES focuses on marketing the college event resources and coordinating events and services on campus such as residence hall accommodations, event space, and catering. The CCES office acts as the central point of contact for both internal and external clients, providing accurate information and handling requests for conferences, meetings and events.

The General Manager is responsible for creating an exceptional hospitality experience by directly overseeing RISD Caters and Conference Services activities and events both on- and off-campus. Ensures that RISD Caters and Conference Services is efficient, distinctive, competitive and fiscally responsible. Actively fosters a team setting. Provides careful attention to the needs, palette and aesthetic associated with a diverse, multicultural community. Oversees the scheduling, staffing, set-up, service, presentation, and other aspects of RISD Caters and Conference Services planning to ensure that events are timely and quality standards are met. Regularly seeks customer feedback in order to gauge success and challenges, while staying abreast of emerging trends in the industry. Proactively identifies, sets, and measures the short and long-term goals for RISD Caters and CCES to assure that offerings are competitive, financial goals are met, and to inspire growth, innovation, and strategy in keeping with the missions of Dining and RISD at large.

Essential Functions
  • Oversee and successfully manage the planning, communication, staffing, implementation, and breakdown of internal and external RISD Caters and Conference Services events. Either directly or through other staff, ensure appropriate facility selection, dining, catering, housing, transportation, parking, audio visual requirements, building access, registration, etc., to maximize revenue. Provide logistical guidance, consultation, and support for internal event planners. Act as a liaison between outside and internal campus administration and services. Ensure that business practices (quotes, AR/AP, billing) associated with RISD Caters and Conference Services are timely and accurate.

  • Lead and inspire the Catering and Conferences teams, and serve as a hands-on catering and conference expert for the department. Establish, implement, evaluate, and modify, as appropriate, department vision and goals, which are supportive of and in alignment with those of the Dining Department and RISD community at large. Anticipate and proactively monitor and manage upcoming catering and conference-related needs by utilizing extensive industry experience and soliciting feedback from peers, customers, and staff.

  • Promote RISD as a premier conference art and design school/center through the creation of marketing material, entrepreneurial packaging, professional membership, and community engagement. Respond to inquiries from clients regarding the use of facilities and services for conferences in a prompt and professional manner. (20%) Identify, develop, evaluate and deliver innovative concepts, tools and systems to better engage staff, students and clients. Anticipate and analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to RISD Catering and Conference Services. Regularly benchmark and evaluate current systems, programs, policies, and procedures to ensure they are efficient, competitive, and applicable within current and future business models. Research, develop, and recommend alternatives when necessary, and implement as approved.

  • Create a positive working atmosphere that fosters communication among all workforces. Act as a participatory member of the supervisory and managerial staff, mentoring through example. Responsible for hiring, training, on-boarding and evaluating performance for RISD Caters and Conference Services staff. Develop and implement training plans to continually improve and refine operational procedures and communication methods for Catering and Conferences. Identify inefficiencies and work with all labor sources to remedy, using tools and techniques including meetings, checklists, performance audits and goal setting. Revise and review employee training manuals as needed.

  • Leverage knowledge and expertise of RISD’s campus to identify and expedite value added services for clients who are utilizing RISD’s campus. Seek out internal and external service providers to ensure a well-rounded suite of offerings. Evaluate and select providers of services according to customer requirements and maintain these relationships. Engage RISD’s Purchasing Department to create a framework which allows for the successful negotiation of vendor contracts at the best possible price/value and complete renewals in accordance with approved framework. Maintain and archive client conference and event records and details

  • Create and implement customer service goals and standards. Oversee customer service-related feedback programs for example: secret shopper, surveys, and customer focus groups. Maintain excellent public relations with students, staff, administrators, faculty, and external constituents by being accessible and customer service oriented. Communicate and coordinate effectively with other campus departments to provide comprehensive services to clients. Work to solve problems in a proactive and mutually advantageous manner.

Required Knowledge/Skills/Experience
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination education and experience.

  • Five or more years in catering, banquet, or conference/event planning, and/or related food service industry experience is required, with two to three years of management/supervisory experience.

  • Must be able to market and sell catering to a visually discerning audience, and to communicate effectively in oral and written formats with faculty, staff, students and a discriminating external clientele.

  • Must be sufficiently experienced in food presentation, logistics and service and use independent judgment in regularly determining product substitutions for food items including specialty catering items, choice meats, and perishable produce.

  • Strong ability to work independently and as a member of a team.

  • Ability to continue job related training and professional development.

  • Ability to read, write and follow written procedures.

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office software and other computer-based systems.

  • Must hold a Rhode Island Certificate of Sanitation Management, and be Barcode or TIPS Certified for Responsible Alcohol Service.

  • Must possess a valid Rhode Island driver's license.

  • Knowledge and compliance of safety and HAACP standards.

Valued but not required skills and experience:

Previous experience with budgeting, banquet purchasing, rental contract agreements, accounts receivables/payables, and catering and conference software is strongly preferred.



Work Schedule

Full-time, 35 hours per week. Must be available to work on evenings and occasional weekends. Travel to off-site events, to complete site visits and to attend conferences is required.

Employment Status (Temp, Term, On-call, etc)

Regular, Full-Time



Documents Needed to Apply


Cover Letter

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please upload all required documents.

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

For internal use only - Job Family:

Dining - Catering
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