Restaurants are classified or distinguished in many different ways. The primary factors are usually the food itself (e.g. vegetarian, seafood, steak); the cuisine (e.g. Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, French, Mexican, Thai) or the style of offering (e.g. tapas bar, a sushi train, a tastet restaurant, a buffet restaurant or a yum cha restaurant). Beyond this, restaurants may differentiate themselves on factors including speed (see fast food), formality, location, cost, service, or novelty themes (such as automated restaurants).
Restaurants range from inexpensive and informal lunching or dining places catering to people working nearby, with modest food served in simple settings at low prices, to expensive establishments serving refined food and fine wines in a formal setting. In the former case, customers usually wear casual clothing. In the latter case, depending on culture and local traditions, customers might wear semi-casual, semi-formal or formal wear. Typically, at mid- to high-priced restaurants, customers sit at tables, their orders are taken by a waiter, who brings the food when it is ready. After eating, the customers then pay the bill. In some restaurants, such as workplace cafeterias, there are no waiters; the customers use trays, on which they place cold items that they select from a refrigerated container and hot items which they request from cooks, and then they pay a cashier before they sit down. Another restaurant approach which uses few waiters is the buffet restaurant. Customers serve food onto their own plates and then pay at the end of the meal. Buffet restaurants typically still have waiters to serve drinks and alcoholic beverages. Fast food restaurants are also considered a restaurant.
Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel, London.
T H E P U R P O S E O F T H I S C H A P T E R
This chapter first presents an overview of the restaurant business. It then focuses on two basic
markets served by restaurants: the dining market and the eating market. Under dining, we are
primarily concerned with the “casualization” of fine dining and the growth of the casual and
upscale casual food service segments.
A still-growing part of the eating market is in off-premise operations, such as home meal replace-
ment (HMR). We also look at the contemporary popular-priced restaurants that are the largest segments
of the existing restaurant industry: quick-service and midscale operations, such as family restaurants.
This discussion of the major components of the restaurant industry closes with a look at restaurants
in retail settings such as malls.
TH IS CHAPTER SHOULD HE LP YOU
1. List by size the major components of the food service industry, and describe the economic impact
that the food service industry has on the economy.
2. Understand the changes that have shaped the restaurant business in recent years, such as new
3. Define the terms dining market and eating market, and describe and contrast the major kinds of
restaurant operations in each.
4. Identify the food service segments that currently are growing or declining, and explain the reasons
for these trends.
5. Describe the relationship that exists between shopping and dining and how healthy this particular
THE VARI ED F I E LD OF FOOD SERV ICE
The word restaurant covers a broad range of food service operations. The term comes
from the French word restaurant, meaning “restorer of energy.” The term was used as
early as the mid-1700s to describe public places that offered soup and bread. Today, any
public place that specializes in the sale of prepared food for consumption on- or off-premise
can be described as a restaurant. Food service is generally used to represent the bro