service and its management in hotels



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Catering service and it’s significance

Whenever a person leaves his/her home for more than a few hours, s/he has to seek hospitality elsewhere. Often it may be a snack, a drink or even a meal because his/her home is too far away to go to and eat. In a long work day, even if a person takes a packed lunch, s/he may want to drink some beverage — it may be tea, coffee, juice or an aerated drink. Thus, we require services that will supply food whenever and wherever necessary. These services are performed by the catering industry. The catering industry provides, to varying extents, a substitute for food that one would have got at home. In ancient times in India, dharmashalas catered to travelers who went on pilgrimages. Even today, such dharmashalas are in operation, offering an economical place to stay and have meals. Besides this, at religious places, it is traditional to give Prasad or langar to the devotees. Similarly, during the month of Ramzan, food is provided to all people when they break their fast. All of these foods are prepared in very large amounts, by persons who have the expertise to do so. With changes in the socio-economic scenario, food service and catering has evolved into an industry that is expanding, as there is much greater demand for food outside home which is tasty, hygienic, healthy and aesthetically served. In some situations, there is a demand for food with longer shelf life. Scientific and technological advancement has helped those involved in mass production of food to streamline their activities, be more effective, improve the safety and quality and yet make it less tiring. Use of computers has also contributed tremendously- not just for maintenance of records, accounting systems, but also for on-line ordering of food, information about equipment manufactured in different parts of the world and recipes for various preparations. 


Significance

Today with increasing migration, urbanization, globalization, international travel, tourism, exposure to various cuisines and advertisements, as well as increasing interest of local people to try out new foods, there is demand for variety of cuisines and typical ethnic foods. Fig. 4.1 shows the factors influencing development of food services. Knowledge of a variety of cultures and their ways of cooking is important. Thus people involved in this business need to have broad culinary experience.  Media, particularly television, has stimulated interest in cooking and the different food patterns of various cultures. Have you seen most TV channels deal with cookery and cuisines? In India alone, we have a very wide variety of typical cuisines from Kashmir in the North to Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the South, to the North Eastern states, Orissa and West Bengal in the East to Gujarat and Maharashtra in the West. This has made “Cuisinology” an area of interest and provided new professional avenues. Similarly, across the world, there are numerous cuisines e.g. British, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Austrian, Russian, Eastern European, Swiss, Scandinavian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, American, Mexican, Caribbean, African. In Asia and S.Asia, besides Indian, we have Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Indonesian, among others. In each of these cuisines, the ingredients used and the methods of preparation vary considerably.

Food needs to be provided to people of all ages, in all walks of life, at any and all times in a 24-hour period. One thing is common to all – the need for food to be cooked and served well. Besides, providing food at the workplace, institutions providing care for different target groups, such as hospitals, old age homes, orphanages, hostels, have developed. Other institutions where food is routinely provided are school/college/office, prisons, feeding programmes undertaken by the Government or voluntary sector to improve the health and nutrition of specific groups.

Catering can also be regarded as a service that provides a pleasant change from home cooked food. People like to enjoy a meals/snacks/ beverages that have been prepared and served in different and pleasant surroundings. More families are now eating out at weekends or go out to eat sometimes in the evening for pleasure. Also, many families increasingly travel away from home on holidays. They need to eat while traveling and throughout the holiday period in restaurants/hotels etc, making national and international tourism and catering a ‘growing’ industry There are individuals or groups who prepare food and send them to persons at their places of work or to their homes. This is known as home – based food service. Such entrepreneurial catering activities are many, for example take home meals/ delivery of homemade meals. Many of these enterprises are undertaken by women who use their interests and skills at cooking. The demand for food to be catered is brought about by the large number of families where both husband and wife are working, and in some places where people live alone / have limited facilities for cooking or are unable to cook for themselves. There are also mobile units that serve food. Provision of food/snacks, beverages is needed in community activities such as fairs, exhibitions, flower/fruit/vegetable shows where visitors would like to avail of some refreshments. Similarly, refreshments may be served at a rally; lunches may be served at some meeting etc. All of these reflect the scope of opportunities to be found in the catering industry and the potential for different careers in this field of food service management.


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