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Marine Catering

No statistics are available to determine the number of people served meals at sea; three clear areas can be identified. 1. Short stay clientele travelling on cross-channel ferries. 2. Holiday makers on board a cruise ship for at least five days or more. 3. Employees working at sea, which includes personnel employed abroad off rigs. The demands made by these three categories of customers are very different too and this is reflected in the nature and style of catering on board. A] Ferries: In this case like the rail catering the customer have no other alternative unless they bring in their own food. Ferry comparies operate catering facilities on their ships for two reason: 1. Another source of revenue in addition to the price of the ticket. 2. To satisfy customer demand. Unlike the railway, however the customer has a choice of operators. B] Cruise Lines: The aspects of catering for cruise lines that are of particular importance are the need to satisfy passengers over extended periods and the need to restock the ship during a very short turn around I port with enough stock for up to several weeks cruising. There should be a wide range of stock of food and beverage items sufficient to stimulate the appetiser of a captive market. Consideration should be given to the role of food and mealtimes have as a part of holiday package. Good food of a high standard is synonymous with this type of holiday package and since all meals are part of the original all inclusive price, passengers tend to make the most out of their meal opportunities. In order to satisfy consumers expectation, most cruise ship operate full la carte restaurants and a coffee shops, while speciality and ethnic menus are prepared and presented daily. C] Oil rigs: In many respects off-shore catering is typically institutionalized. However there are specific problem that make off-shore catering both complex and costly. 1] 24 hrs operation: -

Due to the rig personnel working shifts around the clock in order to extract oil continuously most catering operation are open permanently, serving a choice of meals at four meal period in each twenty-four hrs. This has implication for the caterer with regards to menu planning staffing, cleaning and maintenance. 2] Food and Menus: The oil companies regard the provision of good food as one of the most important factors in maintaining the moral of their personnel. Basically rig workers have little else to do apart from work, sleep and eat which they must do in relatively ramped conditions. This mans that a wide variety of dishes must be offered at each meal time while the caterer must recognise that the personnel will require well balanced meals since the opportunities for exercise, sports and recreation are limited. 3] Supply: It is common practice for a catering contract to stipulate that a minimum of 21 days supplies are kept on board. Difficult weather condition, remote locations and problem of access can disrupt planned schedule and there has to be close co-operation between supplies caterers and boat or helicopter operation. 4] Equipment: The main purpose of an oil rig is extraction of oil and installation, particularly older rigs, are not well designed from a catering point of view. The increased use of accommodation rigs, not used for exploration or production, has improved the situation but none the less kitchen and galleys are often cramped, as well as being in continuous use. This places strenuous demands upon the equipment and consequently some manufacturers are installing custom- designed modular units.