Have you ever been to a wedding or an awards banquet? When someone hosts a large party, they need to feed many people. A catering company cooks and prepares food for big events. You can hire a catering company to provide meals for all of your guests. Most catering companies can provide food for groups of many different sizes. They give the host the freedom to choose a menu within his or her budget.

#### Right-Sized Recipes

Caterers have to be able to make the same recipe for guest lists of varying sizes, whether for 10, 25, or 100 people. To change the number of servings produced from a recipe, they multiply fractions and mixed numbers. Imagine that a standard recipe for fruit salad feeds 10 people and requires \begin{align*}5 \ \frac{3}{4}\end{align*} cups of pineapple. To make the recipe serve 25 people, the caterer has to make it \begin{align*}2 \ \frac{1}{2} \end{align*} times as large. The caterer will have to multiply \begin{align*}5 \ \frac{3}{4}\end{align*} cups by \begin{align*}2 \ \frac{1}{2} \end{align*} in order to figure out how much pineapple is required: \begin{align*}5 \ \frac{3}{4}\cdot2 \ \frac{1}{2}=\ \frac{23}{4}\cdot\ \frac{5}{2}=\ \frac{115}{8}=14 \ \frac{3}{8}\end{align*}, so the caterer will have to use \begin{align*}14 \ \frac{3}{8}\end{align*} cups of pineapple to serve fruit salad to 25 guests.

Most catering companies are small businesses. The owner of a catering company needs to know a lot about cooking, customer service, and finance. Some catering companies hire teenagers to work weekend events such as weddings and conferences. If you think you might like to own a catering company someday, try working for one first. The work experience will help you see if the catering industry is a good match for your skills and talents.

See for yourself: http://www.localcatering.com/articles/10-things-good-caterer.asp

#### Explore More

Miriam owns her own catering firm. She's just been hired to cater a wedding for 75 guests. Her standard lasagna recipe serves 10 guests and uses \begin{align*}3 \ \frac{3}{4}\end{align*} pounds of tomatoes. How many pounds of tomatoes will she need in order to serve 75 people?