The Increasing Impact of Food Service Restaurants

cafeteria | Culinary Business Strategy Blog
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By Deagon B. Williams

Technically, all restaurants are food service restaurants, but the term ‘food service’ is usually used to indicate a large scale, high volume dining establishment. I think it is a term that was adapted to get away from the term ‘institutional dining’. Nonetheless, what we now think of as food service restaurants are large chain restaurants and college campus cafeterias. Food service really is about daily meals and becoming an integral part of the consumer’s life.

Ironically, as the name has lost some cache the quality of food has gone up considerably. In fact, we are seeing food and beverage options on college campuses that are unequalled in history. Last year the New York Times published an article on the increasing influence of food service on the choice entering students make in their college selection!

These types of restaurants are a huge sector of our trade, so when the standards go up it has a significant effect on the rest of the food system- for example fair-trade, shade-grown coffee was a key driver at the University of Wisconsin’s food service program, as were organic vegetables. This adoption of higher quality food in daily consumption means that there is greater demand and therefore will significantly influence the supply side as well. In this way food service restaurants are pushing up standards throughout the industry.

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