The History of the Restaurant Industry

The idea of offering food in exchange for money dates back to at least medieval times. Street vendors and caterers were readily available in Ancient Rome. Medieval travelers would often dine at inns and taverns, but the meal options were limited and often times, everyone would eat the same thing at the same time. However, restaurants as we know them today are credited to the French Revolution, and modern food service is a product of the Industrial Revolution. Keep reading to learn more about the history of the restaurant industry from Fast Fix LLC.

18th Century France 

While public eateries existed in Ancient Rome and Sung Dynasty China, restaurants as we know them today are generally credited to 18th century France. The word "restaurant" is derived from the French word "restaurer"which means to restore. Pre-revolution French restaurants were not fancy establishments; they were actually a place that people who were not feeling well could go to get a meat-based soup intended to restore a person's strength.

The French Revolution

The French Revolution is credited to the launch of the modern restaurant industry. During the French Revolution, chefs began establishing places where customers could come in whenever they were hungry and choose food selections from a menu. Before the time of the revolution, the guild system severely limited the offerings that any artisan could prepare, making the idea of restaurants impossible. For example, if you didn't belong to the charcutiers guild, it was illegal to sell cooked meat in any form. When the guilds were banned after the revolution, many chefs employed in aristocratic and royal households found themselves unemployed. These chefs ended up opening their own restaurants in Paris, bringing French citizens a new way of dining.

American Restaurants

The French restaurant concept was introduced to the United States at the end of the 18th century. A former cook to the archbishop of Bordeaux opened his own French0style eating house in Boston in 1794. The restaurant industry was dependent upon a large enough population willing to accept it and pay for it. By 1805, New York had four coffeehouses, four oyster houses, four tea gardens, two victualing houses and a cookshop. The restaurants based their menus on ingredients that were readily available and abundant in America. Due to the fact America is a nation of immigrants, American food quickly began to diversify, with Chinese, Italian, Greek and other immigrants offering their dishes to the public.

Restaurant Chains

In the second half of the 20th century, the Unite States led the way in industrialization of restaurant and food service offerings by establishing food chains and family dining franchises. The biggest change in the restaurant industry during the 20th century is credited to McDonalds. The franchise began as a hot dog stand owned by two brothers from Illinois. In 1948, they switched to hamburgers, and taking ideas from Henry Ford's assembly line concept, began offering the fastest, cheapest food possible. While they were good at serving food efficiently and inexpensively, they were not good at franchising. A restaurant equipment salesman named Ray Kroc saw the potential in the concept and bought the brothers out in 1954. His franchising formula set a precedent for fast food chains and completely changed the landscape of American dining.

Restaurants and the food service industry as we know it today would not be possible without commercial kitchen equipment. The ability to produce mass amounts of food each day is dependent upon proper working equipment. For all your Missouri and Western Illinois restaurant equipment repair needs, give us a call at 573-54-0456. 

Fast Fix LLC. Restaurant Equipment Service & Repair - 

One Call Does It All! 

Fast Fix LLC. Restaurant Services
9403 County Road 154
Auxvasse, MO 65231

Phone: 573-254-3748
St. Louis Customers: 636-FASTFIX

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