Restaurant Food

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Consumers are no more content with eating out once in a while or on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries etc. In today’s society restaurant food is more often a regular treat. To cater to this growing demand restaurants are offering more and more options like wider range of side dishes, small and large versions of dishes, heath menus etc.

Today's consumers want to exercise their freedom of choice when it comes to selecting their dining-out destinations. And there is plenty to choose from. From burger behemoth McDonald's to curbside take away joints to the fancy and exotic, all foodservice operators are making continuous efforts to give customers what they want.

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[edit] Customized Guest Experience

Restaurants which are successful are those which utilize new technologies and the increased availability of information to provide a customized guest experience. The intangible part of the product - added-value, tailored services and safe surroundings – is as important as the food served. With growing customer concern about the origin of their food, restaurants have the added responsibility of assuring them about the quality of the food chain "from farm to fork".

Every customer wants to be treated as the restaurant’s best customer. This is driving the trend towards more menu customization at restaurants across the world. Dining out when you are on a diet is very stressful, especially for those who love to eat. With this in mind hotels and restaurants are keeping up-to-date information about cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, fats, carbohydrates, proteins.

[edit] A Generation too Busy to Cook

Gender equality has made cooking at home less prevalent. Restaurant-association surveys in the US indicate that diners are increasingly treating restaurants as extensions of their own homes. It is projected that over the next decade, more than half the average household food budget will be spent on meals bought outside the home, compared with 25% in 1995.

A National Restaurant Association, UK, study conducted by the Coca-Cola Co found that despite busier schedules an overwhelming number of families are dining out together. Among the respondents 58 percent stated they were too busy to cook, while 70 percent said they were not inclined to spend time in the kitchen. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents felt eating out together was the best way to stay connected with the family and find out what’s going on. Majority of the respondents preferred balanced menu, irrespective of affordability.

Two major factors contributing to the rise in restaurant eating are

• increased affluence and the resultant financial freedom

• time restraints of a working population

The driving force behind eating out is convenience


[edit] Advantages of Restaurant Eating

With restaurant food one has the option of trying out a range of international cuisines, ranging from the Eastern to the Mediterranean. Sitting in any part of the world you can enjoy the best of Chinese, Arabic, Fillipino, Indian and many other exquisite dishes. Eating out also offers a great ambiance to enjoy as most restaurants take great care of their decor, design and lighting to ensure a relaxing environment. Visit and get Restaurant Eating Tips [1]

How can you get the most out of the time you spend in a restaurant?

Here are some suggestions:

• Go for a restaurant whose ambiance permits you and your family to spend a stress-free time. Use the freedom from cooking to enjoy and create genuine companionship

• Try out different cuisine and menus, but don’t make it an occasion for indulgence.

• Look for places where the food is wholesome without costing you the earth

• Some restaurants which provide unique features like special activities or space for children can provide additional fun. Use these as special treats for children

• Help keep the atmosphere lively and relaxed. This will add value to the experience of eating out

Visit Family Diner [2] for information on healthy eating, and tips for dining out with toddlers

[edit] Tips for Healthy Restaurant Eating

• Be informed about the restaurant you plan to go to. Plan ahead. Visit their website and plan a nutritional meal. US Restaurant.com [3] is a website dedicated to restaurants

• Order a salad first. Salads, which are low in calories yet loaded with healthy nutrients and vitamins, will help you to fill up on healthy vegetables before you tackle your main course. Soup can also be a healthy choice before meals

• Prefer a meal which is not grilled in oil or butter. A better option is grilled vegetables or fish.

• If you plan to order a healthy dish for yourself, be the first to order. This way you won’t change your mind if someone else orders something exotic

• Order a small portion. Many restaurants have child-type portions which also cost less

• If you are ordering fish, avoid the ones cooked in butter. You may go for the ones made with lemon or herbs.

• Drink a large glass of water before starting on your meal. This will not only fill you up to an extent but will also help in digestion.

• If everything on the menu is high on fat and calories, opt for fresh fruits or vegetables. Try an appetizer and a salad, rather than a large entrée. If you are still hungry for dessert, try choosing fresh fruit over something with more calories.

• In case you are going for full meal, split the appetizer and dessert with your companion

[edit] Fast Food Restaurants

Detroit was named the fattest city in the world in 2003. Word went round that it earned this distinction because of the proliferation of fast food restaurants in the city. Now almost all big cities in the world have fast food joints in nearly every street corner.

Fast Food is preferred because of its convenience, lower price and because it fits well with today’s hurried lifestyle. More and more people are becoming dependant on fast food. Doctors say that fast food, or junk food as it is also called, is the prime cause of obesity in the US, a country credited with the innovation of fast food.

Fast food restaurants mostly include foods high in fat, sugar and calories and low in fiber and nutrients and hence are known to cause obesity. Young adults who frequent fast food restaurants not only gain weight but run the risk of insulin resistance in early middle age. For teenagers fast food is not only convenient but is also a social affair.


[edit] Food Safety

Food safety now rules our collective consciousness. Linked to food safety are other issues like mad cow disease, genetically modified foods, fungicides, growth hormones. In the aftermath of globalization food items from one part of the world is reaching various other parts. Items like haricot beans from Kenya, Kiwi from New Zealand, Israel, Chile, or Italy, pineapple from Thailand, herbs from Costa Rica, avocados from the Caribbean, papayas from Brazil, mangoes from Central, swordfish from Chile, cod from Norway and even dried fish from Maldives are going round to different countries of the world. It is likely that some of these items are contaminated.

Restaurants being a major link in the food supply chain need to be extra careful about food inspection and ensuring safety. Food borne illnesses are caused by ingesting food that has been contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals, such as:

Salmonella: Such bacteria, found in the natural environment, animal feed and animal intestines, cause a disease called salmonellosis. Symptoms may include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and fever. Such bacteria are mostly found in raw and undercooked meats (especially poultry), raw milk, eggs and sprouts.

Shigella: This is pathogen found in the intestinal tract of humans and is caused by lack of hygiene by food handlers. Another means of transmission is ingesting of contaminated water, such as water supplies contaminated by untreated sewage.

E.Coli 0157:H7: found in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals and can be transferred to the meat consumed by us. E.coli 0157:H7 infection can be spread by hand-to-hand contact with an infected person. Symptoms include flue, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, vomiting and low-grade fever.

[edit] E.coli in Restaurants

In 1996 there was a major incident in which a large number of people getting infected by E. coli virus after eating at Taco Bell restaurants which affected more than 70 people and spread to six states in the US. Nearly 80 percent of those affected had to be hospitalized. Iceberg lettuce was considered overall to be the single most likely source of the outbreak.

In another instance, 10 children and three adults were found infected with E. coli virus after eating at a Lake Forest restaurant in the US in March 2007.

[edit] Eating Out With Kids

Kids make eating out that much more enjoyable. Children often are the main decision makers in the choice of restaurants. People may not go to places where their children do not want to go. Hence most restaurants take special care to offer menu preferred by children.

Here are a few suggestions on how to make a trip to the restaurant with your kids easy and fun:

Pick the right restaurant

Choose a child-friendly restaurant – that offers your kid’s favorite dishes in the children’s menu, booster seats or high chairs, private booths or eating nooks etc. And a family-friendly atmosphere.

Teach restaurant manners at home

Practicing good manners will prepare your children to behave at restaurants

Use regular meal time

Choose a time which fits his routine so he is not famished by the time you reach the restaurant.

Appetizer is a must

Ask for appetizers in case it is not brought to you as a rule

Take care of boredom

Bring along a few toys or picture books to occupy his mind if he is bored

Leave early

Children normally run out of patience once their meal is over. Try to leave as early as possible

Select known items on the menu

Experimenting in a restaurant may not go well with kids

Leave if it is not fun

If your child is not having fun, there is little chance you too can. If things are going out of hand it is better to leave.

See also Sanity Tips for Eating Out With the Kids [4]


[edit] Restaurant Lure

Faced with the rising trend in eating out, restaurants worldwide deploy varying marketing tactics to lure customers their way. From online ordering, e-mail marketing campaigns to tech savvy wireless options are driving customer demands in growing markets.

In a South California restaurant waiters are connected via watches enabling them to communicate with their customers. In Atlanta, specially equipped mobile phones are used to pay for pizza wirelessly. All these efforts are aimed at increasing guest satisfaction.

Longer happy hours are common stuff; the concept of playing a film while people dine is also catching on.



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