The Nature of Food & the Menu
Nature of Food and the Menu 2
The Nature of Food and the Menu
Food tourism has during the contemporary times, emerged as a critical component of the tourism industry. As such, food tourism denotes travel that is induced by the desire to experience and gather information regarding the food and drink that is specific to a particular location. This can consist of the experience of the customary food items that are purveyed by street vendors and local restaurants. It could also denote the elaborate menus provided by restaurants distinguished by a Michelin star or by restaurants that have been included in list of the 50 best restaurants of the world by S Pellegrino and Acqua Panna. It has now come to light that food tourism constitutes the cardinal motivation for many people to undertake travel to a destination. However, the majority of the present-day tourists consider the enjoyment of food of a particular locale to be one of the expected features of their trip[CITATION Nel16 p 134 l 1033 ]. Nevertheless, it has been demonstrated in several studies that food and drink are important determinants of the place that tourists visit.
Evidently, the hospitality and the tourism industry are inextricably intertwined. Consequently, the entities involved in this sector experience a diversity of culture via interaction with others. The individuals working in the hospitality sector invariably have to interact with customers from diverse regions. This multiplicity demands sensitivity, concern and knowledge about the religious convictions and cultural leanings of customers and colleagues from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds[ CITATION Cha132 l 1033 ]. For instance, the emergence of vegetarianism, has made it indispensable for restaurants to provide vegetarian food as an option.
Nature of Food
At present, food has become a major feature of tourism, and this is a dramatic change from the past when it had enacted nothing more than a supporting role in tourism. Albeit, some tourists entertain reservations with respect to the consumption of unfamiliar food items whilst travelling, on account of misgivings regarding hygienic preparation or quality controls that are suspect, there has been a surge in tasting exceptional local food items and obtaining exclusive eating experiences. The promotion of food by the media, as well as the burgeoning of ethnic restaurants, has exposed a larger number of individuals to the exclusive food items of places that they have not yet visited[CITATION Nel16 p 134 l 1033 ].
Breakfast tacos have found favour with the majority of the patrons, as is evident from the serpentine queues to be found at the restaurants that sell this food item. In addition, this food item is replete with beans, cheese, eggs and peppers. Moreover, it does not cost a fortune, and proves to be quite substantial. For instance, the Brothers Taco House in Houston charges less than $2 for this filling food item[CITATION Nel16 p 138 l 1033 ]. In fact, the optimal way to undergo a common local experience is to enjoy a hearty meal that is served in a relaxing environment.
Nature of Menu
The pride of place in restaurants is indisputably occupied by the menu. This is due to the fact that it is the basis of food and beverage operations. As such, the menu determines what is to be prepared; the equipment and ingredients required; and the skills to be possessed by the concerned employees. In addition, the menu constitutes a device for effecting sales and communications[CITATION Ozd14 p 3 l 1033 ]. Furthermore, the menu conveys to the interested parties several details, including, the food and beverage items on sale, and the image of the restaurant. Strictly speaking, customers base their food and beverage choices upon the menu [CITATION Ozd14 p 4 l 1033 ]. Thus, a properly formulated menu serves to draw the attention of the customers to the food and beverage items that the restaurant desires to sell in greater quantities.
In addition, the design, pricing and planning of menus are correlated. Whilst undertaking the task of pricing, the restaurant managers have to be cognisant of the menu items, their contents and cost. Moreover, menu design involves familiarity with the names, content and prices of the menu items. As such, managers have to plan, price and design the menu after studying the results of situational analysis and objective review. After these have been accomplished, production in the planned menu commences. Consequently, operating the planned menu demands adoption of standard procedures, so as to realise the expected performance that had been envisaged during the planning phase of this exercise. In addition, the menu operation should include sales forecasting, food safety, budgeting and cost control [CITATION Ozd14 p 11 l 1033 ]. As such, the objective of the operation stage is to ensure that actual menu performance is in harmony with the expected performance.
Thus, the importance of the layout and design of the menu cannot be overemphasised, as customer choices and likelihood of ordering additional items while dining in the restaurant are significantly influenced by it[CITATION Cur131 p 33 l 1033 ].
Hospitality Industry- Australia
Australia enjoys the enviable reputation, across the world, of being a producer of food that has optimal levels of safety and freedom from disease. The Australian food system is robust, safe and stable and it promotes and preserves outstanding food security and safety standards. There has been an increase in the consumption of dairy, meat and other protein based products. This has been accompanied by an increase in the consumption of vegetables, fruits and nuts[CITATION Aus136 l 1033 ].
The presence of a wide-ranging and large agricultural sector in Australia enables food processors to obtain high quality products at competitive prices. In addition, the regulatory structure of this nation ensures industry-specific protection via food labelling, food safety regulations and quarantine. The food and beverage sector of this country accords considerable importance towards the export and increase of food production. This is in response to the growing international demand for it. The Australians produce much more food than what is required for satisfying their domestic requirement. It has been estimated that 60% of the food demand of the world will emerge from Asia by the year 2050, and that Australia will be fully equipped to fulfil this demand for fresh and processed food items[CITATION Aus136 l 1033 ].
Several changes had been undertaken by McDonald’s Australia, during the past ten years. Some of these included the introduction of greater choice in its menu and reduction of salt in its sauces, salad dressings, crispy chicken strips, tortillas, buns and marinades. Furthermore, Yum! Restaurants Australia has exhorted the populace to consume all types of food to achieve a balanced lifestyle. This organisation, which is the franchisor of KFC and Pizza Hut in Australia, has indicated its commitment towards promoting responsible dietary choices by means of complete disclosure of nutrition information. In this endeavour, Yum! has concentrated upon diminishing sodium in its core products[ CITATION awa16 l 1033 ]. All the same, it has not compromised upon the provision of delectable and fresh food items to its customers.
Moreover, Subway Systems Australia has reduced sale in its products by engaging in intensive and extensive research and development. In fact, from the year 2008, Subway Restaurants has limited its products to those with significant sodium reduction. For instance, it had reduced sodium in its Roast Beef to the extent of 55%, 36% in Chicken Strips, 25% in Chipotle Sauce, 15% in Honey Mustard Sauce and 10% in Wheat Bread and White Bread[ CITATION awa16 l 1033 ].
The quality of the food and beverages at a restaurant can be portrayed with greater prominence than the environment. In several instances, it had been discerned that a description of the food items could easily dominate and even override the absence of a sophisticated menu or ambient surroundings. For example, a recently inaugurated bar had advertised that it was the type of place where the owner and his friends would gather for entertainment, and that it was devoid of pretence, fuss and snobbery. The bar was meant solely for the purpose of imbibing excellent drinks in a convivial and congenial atmosphere.
Nevertheless, the menu is crucial for inducing customers to frequent the restaurant in the first instance. Menu development and monitoring have to work in tandem with recognition of the association between the menu and successful management of a restaurant. Food, beverage and restaurant management is based upon the constant monitoring of the menu and its performance. This facilitates the introduction of changes that enhance profit via improved sales volumes or reduction in food cost.
In addition, the menu determines the ingredients that will be procured and then transformed into the various food and beverage items sold by the restaurant. It determines the training and development requirements for the service staff of the restaurant. As such, financial controls and profitability encompass the pricing of menu items, which in turn, facilitates the targeting of crucial parameters, such as turnover and mean consumer spend. Thus, it can be surmised that quality of food and menu are essential components for attaining success in the tourism and hospitality industry.
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