Offshore Catering

Key Considerations in Starting Offshore Catering Companies

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Offshore rigs or marine setups require catering companies to deliver food and beverages, with the highest quality and hygiene standards. 

Considered one of the less stringent avenues into marine business, offshore catering companies are relatively easy to set up than other more technical marine businesses. 

What is offshore catering?

Offshore catering is a business vertical that provides consistent catering services to oil rigs and marine establishments. 

In practice, offshore catering companies can flexibly relocate their business processes to suit disparate countries, while maintaining a high-quality catering operation.

Oil Gas Industry

Services offered by offshore catering companies 

These catering organisations tend to focus on delivering three core services:

  • Offshore catering: As their principal service on marine installations, offshore catering companies focus on providing varied foods via a consistent, high-quality dining experience. 
  • Retail and vending: Since offshore workers sometimes desire small indulgences when far from home, these companies can provide everything from exotic snacks to high-street brand beverages, etc.
  • Cleaning and Laundry: Some companies provide supplementary housekeeping and cleaning services to maintain a healthy offshore environment. Others may also provide inspection reports on cleanliness, and even perform deep cleaning for high-risk areas.

How to start an offshore catering company?

1. Create your catering business plan

Before executing any exciting business idea, you must have a written strategy in the form of a business plan. Since offshore catering is a niche, it is imperative to carefully study the market, and think about how you can stand out.

A business plan helps you to perform due diligence and visualise the execution of your venture while carefully considering elements like menus, storage space, and equipment. 

2. Consider your budget and capital source

The subsequent step pertains to budgeting. It is important to budget to facilitate any efforts to source capital. 

It is understandable that budgets vary according to one’s preferences and requirements. 

However, having a plan in hand helps align one’s ideas to spend money efficiently on elements like: equipment, transportation, staff hires, licensing, rental costs, and other unavoidable expenses.

Furthermore, a solid budget makes it easier to approach investors if you don’t have enough money to start your offshore catering business. This is because a well-thought-out budget helps present your business as promising and organised.


3. Create tie-ups with suppliers

It is essential to make ties with reputable suppliers after you solidify your business plan and budget. Good suppliers can help you save costs with discounts and deals. 

Furthermore, suitable suppliers make your procurement process less stressful. 

For instance, you may require different types of cutlery, or even specific deep fryers. Or you might need a unique oven with particular power specifications that suit marine installations. 

The same level of specificity can be demanded of storage cabinets, refrigerators, multiple-compartment sinks, heated and non-heated holding areas, and basic utensils. 

Reputable suppliers can make your procument and operations smoother.

Additionally, you may later be able to get special deals from larger suppliers once you scale. 

4. Determine the type of legal entity

After you carry out the aforementioned tasks, proceed to work out the legalities that underpin company registration across different territories. 

For instance, you may either choose to register your company as a Limited company (Ltd), Limited Liability Company (LLC), or International Business Company (IBC).

5. Choose a company name.

Subsequently, choose a unique company name to avoid confusion with similar companies that might be in the offshore catering vertical. 

Remember that different offshore jurisdictions could dictate different naming requirements. 

6. Company registration processes

After choosing a unique name, you can commence the company registration process. 

This process essentially involves registering for business licenses and specific permits with a licensing agency to legally bring your company into operation. 

Again, legal requirements typically depend on your registration jurisdiction.

7. Get permits and licenses

You cannot have a successful operation without appropriate licensing. And since catering deals with food, it is usually subject to stringent public health standards, permits and requirements. 

Depending on the territory, you may need to obtain different licenses and clearances. These may include food safety licensing, or even fire and water clearance– all from the concerned regulatory authorities, before you can operate.

8. Create a business account

All business transactions require a business account for management, tax, and audit purposes. So, ensure to sign up for a company account, and if possible, install an accounting system to manage your expenses.

9. Plan on manpower

Since your offshore catering business cannot operate itself, you will need competent staff. 

A dedicated and quality workforce for catering should be extensively interviewed and carefully handpicked, as food is quite sensitive. 

From a head chef to the junior cooks, ensure you have the best people for the job. Or better yet, hire an experienced agency to carefully vet for you trained and competent manpower.

10. Market your brand

After all the legalities, registrations, and hiring is done, focus on marketing your offshore catering business. 

There are several avenues you can use, depending on your budget—for example,  word of mouth, social media campaigns, and even SEO campaigns.

Market Your Brand 
11. Partner with reputed organisations for offshore reefer container arrangements

As a catering company, the most important aspect of your business is your food products. You would need them delivered to your location in the perfect state of hygiene and quality. 

However, these refrigerated food products may need to be transported from various port locations. This would call for excellent offshore reefer containers that can withstand rough environments and transport conditions. 

Offshore reefer containers like ICESTORM and ICEWAVE offer state-of-the-art technology with an ideal refrigeration cycle, and low energy consumption.  


Offshore catering companies enjoy benefits like tax discounts, less reporting for auditing and verification purposes, and confidentiality maintenance. 

Furthermore, offshore catering businesses do not demand a high initial investment, nor have a high bar of entry. This makes them relatively more manageable to set up than other technical marine businesses.  

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