Catering Strategy Manager

Contract Type: 
Fixed term
Part time
Application deadline: 
Monday, 20 April, 2020 - 11:45
Fixed Salary
Pro Rata

Are you looking for an opportunity to work in a dynamic social enterprise with a strong social mission? Do you believe the scale of food waste globally is unsustainable and shocking? Do you believe in the power of food to bring together community across any background or barrier? Do you describe yourself as high energy, committed and self-starting? A job at REfUSE could be the perfect opportunity for make a meaningful impact on the world.

Based around a “Pay As You Feel” café in Chester le Street, REfUSE is a not-for-profit social enterprise which intercepts food that would otherwise go to waste. Our vision is to reveal the true value of things, places and people that are unjustly wasted or overlooked.  We intercept food before it becomes waste and turn it into healthy, accessible meals, served on a ‘Pay As You Feel’ basis. Along with a force of other organisations, activists and campaigners, we’ve raised awareness of the injustice of food waste at every level, from households and families to big businesses, supermarket directors and government decision makers.

Alongside our café, which opened in April 2018 and is open 5 days a week, REfUSE does external and internal catering. The aims of the catering side of things are to raise awareness and education about food waste, showing the quality and value of food that has been wrongly deemed as “waste”; to give opportunities for people who have barriers to employment to work at the living wage, giving a valuable bridge back into work; and to raise funds for our food waste-saving and community work at the café.

We are looking for someone to take the lead on our catering strategy, to help our fast-growing catering business become sustainable and smoothly run alongside our café projects. Alongside building a new strategy and business plan, you would also take the lead on our upcoming catering events already booked in: from restaurant nights to weddings, children’s birthday parties to work lunches. We are wanting to build the catering arm of REfUSE  to be a “profit-for-good” business model which helps REfUSE move towards financial sustainability without the need for grant funding.

This is an opportunity to join REfUSE at an exciting stage in its journey and we would love to see the right candidate join our team, contribute to our supportive environment, and help us “Feed Bellies Not Bins”.

We are looking for someone with experience in the catering and food service sector to build an Action Plan for REfUSE’s catering. This position will be a 10 month fixed-term contract, starting as soon as possible. It will require flexible working hours, very likely weekend and evening work managing events.  Funding for this role has come from a grant from County Durham Community Foundation that is focussed on the long-term development/sustainability of an organisation: it is hoped that role will continue after the grant period to continue to oversee the implementation of the Action Plan. S/he will need to consider how this role will be financed as part of the Catering Strategy.

Job Role

  • Put together, implement and manage a financial plan for the catering side of REfUSE: identify costs and expenditure involved, carry out market research, develop a better charging structure for catering, and ultimately increase our profit from catering, so that REfUSE can move towards financial sustainability without the need for grant funding.
  • Work out the best approach to recruiting, training and supporting service and kitchen staff, who currently come from our current list of café volunteers. Manage this catering team, who will be paid for events hourly on a Living Wage Foundation living wage.
  • Working alongside our café support worker and partner charity Handcrafted, develop a supportive work experience programme for people who have barriers to employment, for example learning difficulties, mental health problems, or just a lack of confidence.  This supported work experience programme would be centred on empowerment and encouragement.
  • Identify opportunities for developing outside catering opportunities of our organisation, as well as catering opportunities within the premises. Build a marketing strategy, alongside our communications manager, to build a better understanding of our target audience and ultimately increase the number of event bookings. Alongside our graphic designer, produce leaflets, social media posts, menu examples, website pages about catering.
  • Be the point of contact for catering enquiries.
  • Evaluate the quality of the food and food service being delivered currently, help build better training and management to ensure top quality food service that makes us competitors in the North East catering sector
  • Manage our restaurant nights on the first and third Thursday of every month, and take the lead on upcoming bookings for catered events. (We have 6 weddings already booked in for 2020!)
  • Ensure that Food Safety and Hygiene policies are being followed and the relevant paperwork is being completed for catering events. Develop and manage any systems and processes that may help ensure Food Safety and Hygiene is being managed at 5* level.
  • Manage catering equipment, cleaning and cooking supplies within a budget in line with REfUSE’s ethical values and needs.

Personality, capabilities and experience: required

  • Experience working in a kitchen/catering setting, ideally at management level
  • Experience in business planning and implementation, strategy writing and project management
  • Passionate about food, creative and resourceful with ingredients
  • Full understanding of Food Safety and Hygiene practices. Level 3 Food Safety and Hygiene qualification
  • Strong organisation and time management skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, work well as part of a team
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, self-starter, ability to generate new ideas
  • Willingness to work in a community focussed start-up environment: flexibility and creativity are a must!
  • Keen interest in sustainability and passionate about REfUSE’s mission to reduce food waste
  • Full clean driving licence


  • Experience with people from lots of different ages and backgrounds with various support needs
  • Proficient in use of multiple social media platforms; using photography, video, blogs, written text and any other means to promote REfUSE online
  • Experience in the voluntary sector, social enterprise or start-ups
  • Experience volunteering with REfUSE or other food waste organisation

Reporting to: REfUSE managing director, Nikki Dravers

Key relationships: Handover from current Events Co-ordinator, Nikki Dravers; Company Director and Support Worker Mim Skinner (safeguarding, employability support); Food & Logistics Co-ordinator, Jonny Forster

Working Hours: 22.5 hours per week which can be used flexibly on a timesheet basis and will include some weekends and evenings.

Salary: as all paid staff involved in REfUSE cafe, UK living wage, £9.30/hour

Location: Based at REfUSE Café, 143c Front Street, Chester le Street, some home and external events work

Job Type: 10 month contract basis as it is subject to funding, though the desire is to extend the contract if Action Plan is able to build additional finance.

Ideal start date: March 2020

To apply, email with a CV and covering letter before the deadline below.

Application deadline:  Friday 31st January 2020
Interview date: Week beginning 3rd February 2020