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The purpose of this report is to identify and examine the differences and similarities within sectors of food and beverage operations. I will be concentrating on several different sectors, to include a restaurant, educational operation, fast food operation, hospital catering and travel catering. I have investigated these different industry sectors to gather my research to support this report. I am going to look at some different criteria that apply to these sectors and identify any similarities or differences that may exist between them. Some of the criteria will be menu content, marketing material, food production and style of service.
Food production within an educational operation will be of large scale. Food will be pre prepared in bulk, and cooked in advance. The cooked food will be held hot on the service counter during lunch time service. This is similar to food production within hospital catering, although some hospitals may produce food in a central kitchen and responsible for cooking and delivering food to other hospitals in the area. The style of service within an educational operation is counter service, where the customer will queue to be served. Whereas the hospital ward meal service is delivered to the ward in insulated hot trolleys which is capable of keeping food at an acceptable and safe temperature for serving. The food is served to the patient at their bedside, the patient will see the menu and pre order their meal earlier in the day with the ward staff. The food for the ward round will be assembled on a conveyor belt system in the kitchen, there are a number of catering staff all responsible for one item from the menu and placing it on the correct tray. The food will be checked at the end of the line to ensure it has the correct food items in accordance with the patient's particular meal card. Meal cards are coloured differently to denote a certain allergy, illness or dietary requirement. The menu for the ward round contains four choices for starters, main courses and desserts, choices such as soup, fisherman's pie and lasagne, followed by sticky toffee pudding and apple crumble for dessert. Also available is a choice of lighter options, jacket potatoes and sandwiches. The menu in a hospital is very simple in its make up, and the reason being is the hospital serves food for large numbers of people every day so the menu must reflect this to ease on preparation and service time. Hospitals offer stage foods that are served to patients with a risk of choking or to introduce the patient back on to solid foods. The meals are individually pre portioned and the textures and ingredients within the meal represent what requirement it serves. They are packaged in three different classifications, smooth chew, easy chew and soft texture. All of the menu items are labelled with vegetarian choices and healthy choices. Whereas the menu for an educational operation is slightly different, it offers 1 main course, a selection of vegetables and potatoes, and a selection of desserts, but still offering the vegetarian and healthy eating options. The menu changes daily and items like chicken casserole, shepherd's pie and roast pork dinner, followed by peach and pear sponge and rice pudding are commonly seen on school menus. Similar to the hospital menu, the school menu is simple in its make up, and the reason being is that a school has a high demand on meals so the daily menu must be easy to prepare and cook. The marketing and promotional material used in a fast food operation differs from each brand and company. A fast food company will spend a substantial amount of money on creating brand awareness to reach its captive audience, the majority of their marketing is delivered through the medium of television advertising and website advertising. They will promote heavily on foods to complement the seasons of the year or any special event during the year, for example McDonalds will advertise their Cadbury cream egg mcfulrry's at Easter time, and introduce healthy salad options in the summer. A large company like McDonalds will support various charities and projects, for example the London 2012 Olympics, McDonalds has become a sponsor to promote British foods during the games. And to promote these events within their restaurants, they introduce a range of memorabilia to sell with meals, the most commonly known is the branded drinks glass. Fast food outlets target market is children, teenagers and young adults. They're marketing strategies will reflect their target market for example they will promote meal deals in order to draw in teenagers and students who may not have a lot of income. Fast food companies will also promote a children's play area within their restaurants and take bookings for children's parties. They will heavily promote their children's menu, and create the image that the children's area within their restaurants as being a safe place to hold parties for young children. The decor within their restaurants will be very modern, with modern amenities such as wireless internet connection. Tables will often be polished stainless steel or wood with complementing chairs. Restaurants will have leather armchairs to attract the business clientele, and will promote and sell a wide variety of coffees. This is a key selling tool the combination of leather armchairs, wireless internet and good coffee makes it a good place for the travelling business people to come and meet with their fellow business peers. Many of the fast food restaurants are built to include a lot of windows to create a light and airy feel, the ambience of a fast food restaurant is a busy and fast moving one, often the customer comes there for a fast meal and drink. Whereas the decor of a fine dining restaurant is very different. The decor will reflect the establishment's image, neutral colours will be used in order to complement the food. Tables will be laid with a linen table cloth, and the cutlery and crockery will be set to the standard of the menu whether it be a la carte or table d'hôte. Linen napkins, cruets and crystal glasses are provided on each table along with candles and soft relaxing music. The style of service within a restaurant will be waiter service, your food order will be taken at the table by your waiter, and the food will be silver served. Customers will dine at a restaurant to celebrate a special occasion, or to just be pampered and experience good food and drink. The restaurants style and standard of service must reflect this, and the staff must be attentive to their customers every need. Whereas in a fast food outlet, the style of service is fast paced, you will queue at the hot counter to place your food order. Condiments and cutlery will be in a central station within the restaurant and the customer is responsible for picking these up on the way to the table. The table setup will be very simple with just the menu and marketing material on them. Food is served in a cardboard meal box and drinks are served in a polystyrene cup. The menu content of a fine dining restaurant will be designed around its awards and accolades, the menu will promote local produce. Dishes will be prepared using fresh ingredients and presented with style, flair and imagination. The wine list will be compiled to complement the food. Whereas the menu content in a fast food restaurant is very different, their main key menu items will be burgers and fries. The food is bought into the premises in and very little is prepared. Food will be cooked in batches to satisfy the demand of service. Whereas a fine dining restaurant will cook menu items to order. Fast food premises will operate all day and often may operate twenty four hours. Whereas a restaurant will open for lunch, and open in the evening for dinner. If a restaurant is housed within a hotel it serves breakfast to the hotel residents. The type of customer that will dine at a fine dining restaurant are wealthy people, and business class people who desire to eat good food and have the income to pay the higher price of fine dining. This is very similar to the type of customer that will travel and dine first class on an airline. Customers will pay a substantial amount of money to travel and dine first class, and will expect the high standards that the airline provides. The menu content of an airline will differ between the different classes. The economy class menu served on the United Arab Emirates airline is a five course menu, with choices such as grilled chicken breast, lamb brochette and sticky date pudding, an extensive wine and drink menu is also available. The business and first class menus on the United Arab Emirates airline offer a seven course menu with cocktails and canapés to begin, followed by appetisers that include caviar, and smoked tangerine chicken. The main courses offer choices such as braised beef and glazed duck breast, followed by strawberry cheesecake. We can see a similarity here to a fine dining restaurant in the content of menus, both operations use freshly prepared produce and present their food to a high standard. The style of service in the economy class will be trolley service and the food is served on plastic plates and trays, with plastic cups and cutlery. Whereas the service in business class and first class will be trolley and waiter service, food is presented on bone china plates and tables trays are set up with linen and flowers, we see a difference between the standard of service for economy and first class. These changes are reflected in the price that the customer pays for their airline ticket, the first class customer will expect this level of choice, comfort and service. The decor will differ from class to class. Economy class decor is very simple, seats are in close proximity to each other with very little leg room. The online entertainment is limited to one television overhead. Whereas the decor in first class is very luxurious, offering all the amenities that the passenger will need. Private and individual cabins are available on long haul flights with sleeping facilities, this offers the passenger comfort and privacy. The main cabin will have leather reclining armchairs with a personal television, and plenty of leg room and privacy. First class cabins have a cocktail bar and more staff on hand to service the passengers every need.
I have identified similarities between the airlines first class catering and a fine dining restaurant, where the type of customer is similar, customers who have the money to pay for the higher end cuisine and services are more likely to travel first class and dine in a restaurant. Food in these two operations is of high standard, the choices on the menu are locally sourced good cuts of meat and seafood, and food items that are classed as speciality ingredients for example truffles, and expensive chocolate.
I have identified some similarities between the food production and menu content within an educational operation and hospital catering. Food production in both of these operations is a large task. Menu content in both operations are relatively the same, the only change being that school menus have slightly less food choice than the hospital menu. The style of service is very similar between school catering and hospital cafe catering, but very different on the ward meal round. One of the differences between all of the sectors is the menu content, every operation will devise its menu around the customer's needs and expectations. The menu should represent the operations image, and take into consideration the amount of money the customer will be paying. Restaurant and airline catering operations desire to have freshly prepared produce on their menu as this is what their paying customer will expect, whereas the hospital catering and school catering will have more pre prepared items and cheaper dishes on their menu. The reason being is that a school or hospital catering contract is subsidised by the government and the price for the meal could be as little as two pounds per day. Another difference is marketing and promotion. Every operation has its own methods of communicating its product and service to its customers, but each operation will have its own brand standards. Each company's promotional and marketing material will differ , but will be designed so that it reaches its target market effectively. Promotion of their key selling points is done in a way that generates the most business. The industry sectors that I have researched and discussed are all unique in their own way, whilst they all hold some similarities and differences, the end result for each business should always remain the same.