A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drinks to customers in return for money, either paid before the meal, after the meal, or with a running tab. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services. Restaurants vary greatly in appearance and offerings, including a wide variety of the main chef's cuisines and service models.
While inns and taverns were known from antiquity, these were establishments aimed at travelers, and in general locals would rarely eat there. Modern restaurants are dedicated to the serving of food, where specific dishes are ordered by guests and are prepared to their request. The modern restaurant originated in 18th century France, although precursors can be traced back to Roman times.
A restaurant is called a restaurateur both words derive from the French verb restaurer, meaning "to restore". Professional artisans of cooking are called chefs, while preparation staff and line cooks prepare food items in a more systematic and less artistic fashion. Restaurants range from unpretentious lunching or dining places catering to people working nearby, with simple food served in simple settings at low prices. Typically, customers sit at tables, their orders are taken by a waiter, who brings the food when it is ready, and the customers pay the bill before leaving. In finer restaurants there will be a host or hostess to welcome customers and to seat them. Other staff waiting on customers includes busboy and sommeliers.
Restaurants often specialize in certain types of food or present a certain unifying, and often entertaining theme. For example, there are seafood restaurants, vegetarian restaurants or ethnic restaurants. Generally speaking, restaurants selling food characteristic of the local culture are simply called restaurants, while restaurants selling food of foreign cultural origin may be called ethnic restaurants. But some categories of "ethnic" food are usually categorized singly Restaurants may also be classified on the structure of their menu or the style of offering food. For example, one might choose a tapas bar, a sushi train, a tasted restaurant, a buffet restaurant or a yum cha restaurant not only for the type of cuisine but for the way it is offered.
For some time the travelling public has been catered for with ship's messes and railway restaurant cars which are, in effect, travelling restaurants. (Many railways, the world over, also cater for the needs of travelers by providing Railway Refreshment Rooms [a form of restaurant] at railway stations.) In recent times there has been a trend to create a number of travelling restaurants, specifically designed for tourists. These can be found on such diverse places as trams, boats, buses, etc.
Restaurants Industry Overview
Excerpt from Restaurants Report
Companies in this industry operate restaurants and other eating places, including full-service restaurants (FSR), quick-service restaurants (QSR), cafeterias and buffets, and snack bars. Major companies include Bloomin’ Brands (Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill); Brinker International (Chili’s Grill & Bar, Maggiano's Little Italy); Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster); McDonald's; and YUM! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell).
Demographics, consumer tastes, and personal income drive demand. The profitability of individual companies can vary: while QSRs rely on efficient operations and high volume sales, FSRs rely on high-margin items and effective marketing. Large companies have advantages in purchasing, finance, and marketing. Small companies can offer superior food or service. The industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 20 percent of revenue.
Products include appetizers, entrées/main dishes, desserts, and beverages. Companies may specialize in a...