Food Service Operations
Food service operations are broadly cate-gorized as commercial and non-commercial.
Commercial food service operations are operated as business or for a profit motive Eg: hotels. The types of food service operations are many to meet the demands of the cus-tomer and the following are some of the com-mon commercial food service operations.
a. Cafeteria: Cafeteria system consists of straight-line counters containing a vari-ety of hot and cold dishes. The customers pick up a tray and move along and select the dishes. The cashier at the end of the counter makes the bill for items selected and collects payment. In India, in most cafeteria operations guests make payment at the cash counter before hand for items they want to eat.
The tables have the basic require-ments such as salt and pepper, straw holder, napkins and water glasses. Cafeterias are situated in railway stations, cinema halls, shopping complex and in premises of office, school and college where guests expect quick service.
b. Coffee Shop: It may be an independent outlet or situated in a restaurant. It mainly serves snacks and beverages 24 hours a day.
The service and ambience are informal.
The furniture and service equip-ment are not very expensive. Dishes ordered by the guests are neatly plated in the kitchen, garnished and placed before the guests.
c. Kiosk: A kiosk is a small permanent or temporary structure on a side walk. Here items like coffee, tea, chocolates, pastries and savories are sold. The items bought may either be taken away or consumed at tables arranged nearby. Most kiosks do not have seating provisions.
d. Meals on Wheels: The concept of ‘Meals on wheels’ was developed in the United Kingdom during World War II. It was in 1943 when food was delivered to servicemen, in old prams using straw bales to keep the meals warm in transit. The invention of meals on wheels which started as a voluntary programme has reshaped and taken a new dimension of becoming a profit-making business in recent times. This idea has been improvised in the modern day.
Food that is cooked in a central-ized kitchen is supplied to homes, offices, hospitals and to elderly people who live in a community in separate homes. Now-a-days restaurants supply food by taking orders from customers on wheels. Meals are also prepared in centralized kitchens and supplied in buses, trains and flights.
Assorted snacks and main meals are prepared elsewhere and transported by vehicle to a central point and served.
This type of outlet moves from place to place or stationed near busy areas.
e. Airport Lounge: Airport lounge has a wide menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with hot and cold beverages, sal-ads, main meals, and desserts. It also has formal ambience, appealing for having meals at leisure and resting gracefully at the airport. The traveler selects food and beverage of choice, and takes to the table himself.
f. Family Restaurant: Family restaurant has elaborate menu of single or multiple cui-sines which may change according to the operating hours. They have good ambience and comfortable seating arrangements so that the guests can dine leisurely.
g. Fast Food Outlets: Fast food outlet has limited menu of hot and cold beverages with easily prepared and fast meals cooked in advance and kept warm. The service must be speedy. The food is pre-pared in the kitchen, placed in the trays, and passed to the customer.
h. Food Court: Food court consists of multi-cuisine menu. Multi-cuisine food outlets are located around with central dining. The customers pick up food and beverages of their choice from multiple outlets around and sit in the central din-ing area to consume. This type of food service can be seen in shopping malls.
i. Theme Restaurant: Theme restaurants have limited menu that is based on the theme. Architecture, lighting, and music induce the feel of the theme. Mostly infor-mal ambience is maintained with various other interior decorations.
Robot Theme Restaurant: Introduction of novel ideas in production and service has taken the industry to great heights. New themes with special ized services have taken a new momentum these days. The advancement of technology has seen online service of food, ordering through iPads in restaurants and the use of robots to serve foods.
Currently in India, the first Robot theme restaurant with robots serv-ing food to the guests at the table has emerged in Chennai.
Non-commercial food service operations could be defined as operations includ-ing colleges and universities, healthcare, industries, military, day-care centres, orphanages and old age homes which give free food and accommodation. This segment prepares, serves food and sup-ports some other establishment’s main function or purpose. For example, the caf-eteria in a university supports the goal of educating students by serving them meals so that they have the energy to partici-pate in class and other activities. Within the noncommercial segment, food service is typically handled either by contractors who will manage and operate the food and dining facilities or which is self -operative, which means the institutions hire their own staff to operate food services.
a. Welfare Catering: The provision of food and beverages to people to fulfill a social obligation is known as welfare catering. It includes catering in hospitals, schools, colleges, the armed forces and industrial catering. In hospitals, the patients are given nutritious food at a reasonable price so that the convalescence period is not too long.
Schools and universities provide on-campus food services to students and staff. Students stay as residents in school hostels and eat from the mess or school food service.
b. Industrial Catering: The provision of food and beverages to ‘people at work,’ in industries and factories at highly subsidized rates is called industrial catering. It is based on the assumption that if employees are fed better they are happy and more productive. Food is given at a concessional rate.