What is the Restaurant Industry?

G. Wiesen

The restaurant industry is the industry of professional restaurants, bars, and other food service providers that allow customers to enter, order food, and eat on the premises. This term can be used in a number of different settings and can refer to just about any type of eatery, from the most expensive restaurants to fast-food locations. These can be standalone restaurants located as part of a plaza or as a remote location, or restaurants that can be attached to hotels or casinos. The restaurant industry is typically considered part of the hospitality industry and employs a number of different types of employees, from chefs and waiters to managers and bartenders.

The decor and menu of a restaurant is designed to match a particular customer base.
The decor and menu of a restaurant is designed to match a particular customer base.

Often associated with or used synonymously with the food service industry, the industry is a professional industry composed of countless locations and employees throughout the world. Just about any location that serves food could conceivably be considered part of the restaurant industry, though it is typically associated with locations in which a person can sit at a table and eat. For this reason, there is some distinction between the restaurant and food service industries; “food service industry” is often used to indicate any facility that prepares and serves food, without consideration for eating at the location.

Most fast food restaurants offer drive-thru service.
Most fast food restaurants offer drive-thru service.

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This distinction is not always important, but the restaurant business is not necessarily considered to include locations such as kitchens that prepare and deliver food but do not serve it at the location. Beyond this stipulation, however, there is not any real standard by which different members of this industry are judged, and just about any type of restaurant, bar, or other eatery is typically a part of the industry. Even fast-food locations that are often associated with drive-through windows and “to go” orders typically provide seating and tables for eating, making them part of the industry.

Fast-food eateries are part of the restaurant industry.
Fast-food eateries are part of the restaurant industry.

The restaurant business is typically associated with or considered a part of the hospitality industry in general, and so those interested in working in this industry often learn about hospitality in general. Hospitality workplaces are locations such as hotels, restaurants, resorts, casinos and other locations where people tend to go for enjoyment and vacations. Hotels, casinos, and resorts have increasingly set themselves apart by the types of food or restaurants located on their premises, and so the importance of restaurants at these locations has increased over the years. This is why someone interested in management in the restaurant industry will typically learn about the hospitality industry in general to better understand how different forms of hospitality can be connected.

Many restaurants employ dish washers.
Many restaurants employ dish washers.
Waitstaff make up a significant percentage of the workers in the restaurant industry.
Waitstaff make up a significant percentage of the workers in the restaurant industry.
The restaurant industry includes all realms of preparing and serving food and beverages, and ensuring that business operations run smoothly and efficiently.
The restaurant industry includes all realms of preparing and serving food and beverages, and ensuring that business operations run smoothly and efficiently.
Restaurant industry food is not served somewhere other than where it is prepared.
Restaurant industry food is not served somewhere other than where it is prepared.
Many restaurants serve food in a buffet style.
Many restaurants serve food in a buffet style.
The majority of a restaurant's profits may come from liquor sales.
The majority of a restaurant's profits may come from liquor sales.
Fine dining establishments are expected to have diverse wine selections.
Fine dining establishments are expected to have diverse wine selections.
Many four- and five-star hotels have restaurants that serve formal meals.
Many four- and five-star hotels have restaurants that serve formal meals.

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Discussion Comments

anon997711

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The official name of the industry is ''The Public House Keeping.''

Hospitality was created by corporations to make the employees feel obligated to be nice and hospitable when you don't have to be.

You're not even required to smile or be happy, and that's a federal law; in fact, T-mobile Mot sued and lost just for saying on their employee handbook, ''employees are expected to maintain a positive attitude''

profess
@Ivan83 - Agreed. Another trend is for established restaurants to open up food trucks. This creates another revenue stream for the restaurant and spreads their brand and menu to people that might not have heard of it before. It is a clever tool and I wish more restaurants would jump onto the bandwagon.
Ivan83

One of the hottest restaurant industry trends over the last few years has been the growth of fast casual restaurants. Typically these restaurants serve food that is higher quality than fast food, but with the same speed and relaxed atmosphere. If you look around they are popping up everywhere, from burritos to rice bowls to Italian favorites. It will be interesting to see how this trend evolves moving into the future.

jonrss

The restaurant industry is bigger than most people think. Of course there are the restaurants themselves, but there are tons of other huge industries that exist just to support the work of restaurants.

There are food distribution business, companies which make tables and chairs, knife sharpeners, and dishwasher repairmen. It takes the work of many, many people to keep a restaurant running smoothly

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