Francois Offshore Catering appoint Cath Whyte as Bid Manager

15th May 2023

Francois Offshore Catering (FOC) are delighted to announce the appointment of Cath Whyte as Bid Manager.

Cath brings a vast amount of experience to an already well versed team, with over 14 years working in the catering sector focusing predominantly on offshore delivery.

We sat down with Cath to find out more about her and her decision to join Francois Offshore Catering.

How has your start to Francois Offshore Catering been?

The team at FOC has been very welcoming and I feel like I have worked here for months opposed to only 3 weeks! Obviously, I felt a little apprehensive prior to starting as I had been with my last employer for over 14 years, so moving to another company after so long was daunting, however I should not have worried as I have slotted into the FOC team well and have been adopted into the family.

On day three of starting, I attended FOC’s first ever Managers Forum for the offshore managers. The forum was hosted at Lochter, which is located seventeen miles north of our Aberdeen office. The agenda included a business update, a few team building events and provided an opportunity for me to meet with some of the managers who are delivering the services directly to our clients. I firmly believe that our people are our biggest asset and ensuring we are communicating well and working as one team is paramount to delivering a safe and efficient service for our clients.

Tell us about your previous experience in Offshore Catering?

I have been in the Offshore Catering industry for over 14 years. I held a few different roles within this time ranging from supporting Business Development (BD), HR, and operations, however the universe kept pulling me back to BD.  I started in the offshore catering industry in 2008, initially on a four-month temporary contract, and I am not sure what happened, but the contract lasted for 14 years!

In that time, I have been involved in many aspects of offshore catering operations, but the vast bulk of my experience has been in commercial proposals and business development.

I would say my ultimate superpower is organising people and managing the tender process, whilst ensuring we capture the win themes using client insights. It takes a lot of time to prepare for a bid and pull a bid together and it involves a team of people, so it is important that the tender process is managed properly and that everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities. I like being organised and get a buzz conducting all the elements and watching the winning tenders come together!

I have been told that I am an empathetic person and particularly good at putting myself in the client/consumer’s shoes and asking myself whether our solution resonates, and does it add value, which helps when working on our tender submissions.  

As Bid Manager, how does FOC stand apart from competitors?

FOC has a great continuous improvement model in place. We don’t just stand still once we have won a contract.  The Operations Managers and onsite Chef Managers are continually reviewing the service delivery and looking for opportunities to be more efficient, add value or propose innovation throughout the contract term.

FOC is a small lean team that can react to client needs immediately without having long approval processes or internal red tape to deal with. Issues will arise over time but acknowledging them as soon as possible enables us to quickly resolve them in a timely manner, which makes a significant difference to the quality of the service and builds trust with our clients. 

In addition to offshore Catering, Housekeeping and Laundry services, FOC can also offer in-house training solutions, travel bookings and offshore asset management services through our sister companies – Clyde Training Solutions, Clyde Travel Management and Northern Marine Manning Services. Reducing the administration and supply chain burden on our client’s business whilst reducing costs.

How have the needs of customers in Offshore Catering changed during your career?

Over the last 4 years, I have seen a notable shift towards plant based alternative dishes that are healthier for customers, better for the environment and look and taste as authentic as the meat versions.

Over the past 10 years, there has been more demand for innovations in working practices/equipment that helps reduce the environment impact of our services.

Finally…What would be your dream offshore menu?

Good question…

After a hard 12-hour shift onboard an offshore asset surrounded by nothing but sea, I would need and want a meal that is nutritious, cooked well and is a taste of home. Food would be extremely important to me as it not only gives me fuel to perform my duties safely, but it would also give me something to look forward to which is vital during a 3/4 week trip at sea. 

My dream menu would have to be the Saturday theme meals which range from Premium Steak, Indian, Cantonese to name a few. FOC also do theme days which the theme is celebrated all day and not restricted to one menu in the evening. If I had to choose one theme meal, it would have to be the Chinese New Year as I adore Chinese food.