Serving food is needed in many fields, including hospitality industry, airlines, casual dining, hospitals, prisons, shelters, etc. In this relation, there is the need to process high quality service, irrespective of the type of food court. Particularly, people are more inclined to arrange food courts wherever they wish. For example, right before Christmas time, they are more dedicated to create special atmosphere and settings of the fest in the open-air. Moreover, there is a great respect to traditions and family values when arranging birthday festive events, wedding, baptizing or confirmation ceremonies, corporate holidays: on each occasion people prefer not only dressing appropriately but also being served food according to the tradition of the occasion.
Managing the catering processes is a priority task for the airlines and casual dining options in different types of restaurants. Irrespective of the type of the restaurant, cooking time, labor costs, typical aspects of the menu, the high quality should be preserved both on land and in the air. For example, the canned food for astronauts has been typically served on many occasions; even in the airplane, the food of the low-acid quality is typically served for the benefits of passengers, regardless of their presence in the economic class or the first class (up to 7 courses options). However, due to the international character of passengers in different airlines worldwide, there is a variety of options for them, in terns of ethnicity and religion. This empowers passengers with the benefits, including the quality and type of food: halal, kosher, Indian, Jain, Buddhist, etc. In this relation, when compared to the casual dining options in restaurants worldwide, there are also similar options in food serving in the air.
This work is aimed at providing the report in two categories, both casual and airline catering, that can highlight the differences between these categories on the matter of the major preferences of the customers who consume food in the air and on land. This report will be potentially useful for the benefits of passengers in the airlines and for the clients of casual dining restaurants globally, in relation to the type of the food court and its orientation in food serving.
The first demands in the airline catering industry appeared to be actual when the cosmos started to be under exploration. The special food was required in the open cosmos far from the Earth as the typical atmospheric air was absent there and traditional ”earthly” food could not be used in space. Astronauts needed special low-acid canned food that allowed to be eaten instantly from special tubes that could be consumed fast and at the same time could be used in the air due to the long-term expiry date.
The tradition to manufacture food for astronauts started in 1959 when NASA requested Pillsbury to create food for astronauts. The first-time demand was created for the low-acid canned food. Moreover, it was required that this type of food should be free from risky environment to prevent hazards and deliver sustainable options in the cosmos setting. This led to the possibility of improvements in this field that happened when in 1985 the U.S. National Academy of Sciences recommended HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) to control microbial hazard in the food industry. This initiative started to be developed in the USA, but later the opportunities were expanded in the Middle East when in 1999 HACCP was initiated in Dubai.
The actuality of HACCP for the food protection activities allowed good control over the food provision options, irrespective of the critically aided environment within the frameworks of the air and cosmos. However, hazards are not the most significant risk in relation to the quality of food and safety of passengers in the airline catering. In addition, there is a risk of not satisfying passengers and using plastic equipment for the food delivery multiple times.
Food safety violations are significant since there is the important need for delivering the high quality food in the airline catering. This problem is actual and is needed to be solved via the overall chain of the food catering, including food producers, manufacturers, transporters, storage companies, service establishments, packaging companies, producers of crops and food equipment, wholesalers/retailers, ingredients/additives providers.
The safety violations are both actual for the casual dining and airline catering industry that are commonly guided by the rules that are included in the official legislation of different countries of the world (national laws) and specific international regulations like rules in the World Food Safety Guidelines for Airline Catering delivered and progressively updated by the International Flight Service Association (2010). The rules provide the critical approach due to the specifics of the airline catering in response to many articles in offline and online media that highlight the problem of the inappropriate taste and low quality of the food on the board of airplanes. For example, the critics provide the mark A for the 90-100% range of the quality, B – for 75-89%, C – for 60-74%, D – for 45-59%. These grades display the range between high and relatively appropriate. However, the grade E (between 30% and 44%) is marked by the “critical red” due to the discordance between the rates of the acceptable quality.
Apart from the problem of food safety in the way from acceptable freshness to the high quality dinner and lunchtime options on the board of the airplane, there are also some applicable troubles with the plastic cutlery re-use on some airlines. For example, journalists and safety inspections revealed that “plastic cutlery on Australia’s largest international airline is being reused as many as 30 times before being thrown away” (Marcus 2010). According to the researcher, airline provision companies willingly re-use plastic knives, forks, and spoons up to 30 times, “collecting them at the end of meals and sending them to a washing facility to be cleaned, before distributing them to a new set of passengers” (Marcus 2010). This creates safety violations on the part of the airline company, for they do not care much about high quality food provision service. Plastic, by the way, if re-used up to 30 times, is dangerous for health due to the chemical reactions that can influence humans when food, washing components, and the material react with each other.
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Li Jiaxiang (2008) provides a good example of violations by the Air China which “has reported that each domestic flight’s meal requires RMB50 (US$7.30), while international flights require RMB70 (US$10)” (Jiaxiang 2008, p. 241). However, the low costs of meals do not deal with the responsible attitude toward the food safety. Disastrous consequences with the food safety may turn to passengers being poisoned and even led to death. It was “on February 20, 1992, [when] shrimp tainted with cholera was served on Aerolíneas Argentinas Flight 386. An elderly passenger died and other passengers fell ill” (Jiaxiang 2008, p.243). The specific needs for the airline catering are being satisfied with various food suppliers; however, it is still that the World Food Safety Guidelines for Airline Catering is to be offered by the International Flight Service Association free of charge.
The quality of food, however, in the air is not satisfying for there is an assumption that “the decreased humidity in the cabin also dries out your nose and dulls the olfactory sensors essential for tasting the flavor of an ingredient or dish” (DailyMail UK 2014). This can impact on food taste decrease in quality.
Food and beverage operations (commercial and subsidized or welfare) are being provided in many restaurants worldwide. The types of restaurants for the casual dining are the following: fast-foods, coffee-shops, barbecues, family dining, national and ethnical restaurants, wine bars, pubs, cafeterias, cafes, grill bars, etc.
They can be arranged both on commercial and subsidized welfare basis. Commercial option for casual dining includes the restaurant facilities and food provisos that are being operating in the open market: hotels, restaurants, pubs, fast foods and take-aways; restricted market: travel catering, clubs, contact food service, function, and event catering. In its turn, the subsidized and welfare include mainly employee catering: contact food service, in-house caterer; institutional catering: schools, universities and colleges, hospitals, services, prisons, etc. In these groups, event catering stands aside for it includes special options that are discussable with food provisos and clients.
In many cases, casual dining options are followed and regulated by legislative norms of the country of locations, but not only. Quality control services and safety regulations are of actuality for restaurants of causal dining. The cooking time, labor costs, food supplying, rent expenses may cause problems for restaurant managers. In many cases, clients these days are rather oriented on fast-food options due to the intensified rhythm of life. It is because “the slow cooking times limit the ability of a barbecue pit to meet surges in demand. Suburbanites often seek immediacy, as evidenced by the popularity of fast food” (Cowen 2012). Therefore, mainly in the suburbs, fast food options are more preferable than regular casual dining, while in the centers of cities, in most cases, people are more inclined to choose bistros, coffee shops, or grill bars.
The popularity of ethnic restaurants of casual dining can be explained by the intensive immigrant waves and the need to regulate their needs and satisfy the interest in national cuisines. Specifically, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Middle Asian, French, and Spanish cuisines are popular all across the world. In this relation, “food court exclusives cannot be based on ethnic food style alone” (Halper 2001 p.124) as it is explained by the universality of tastes globally that “some food court operations are distinguished from others by their focus on such menu items as fish and chips, hamburgers, chicken, roast beef, coffee, and frozen desserts” (Halper 2001, p. 124). The need for the food diversity is to be satisfied by many food court options, specifically arranged both by commercial and non-commercial initiative (Appelbaum 2011), in a wide variety of food choice options.
Casual dining options are being regulated by internal and external factors that have impact on quality management.
Each organization is guided by the following measurable options:
1. Food and beverage (perish ability of food, need for stock turnover, wastage and portion control, pilferage/shrinkage)
2. Staff (staff or skill shortages, achieving staffing levels to match peaks and falls of sales, absenteeism, illness, use of part-time or seasonal staff, poor supervision/training, high staff turnover)
3. Quality control (cash and credit control/collection, costs in line with budget guidelines and volumes of business)
4. Tight and efficient control of maintaining up-to-date costing and pricing of all menu items, maintaining efficient F&B control system with statistical data.
External factors of quality and safety management originate outside the organization, including government/politics, economic and social background, technical regulations for food quality.
In order to measure performance in the foodservice operations, the following factors should be taken into account for the better understanding and analysis of the company SWOT:
Irrespective of the type of the company, the food court should satisfy the demands in quality, safety, and tastes. Therefore, many food provisos are being in search of improvements, using social media marketing and the adjusted geo-location in ArcGis and Google Maps facilities.
This report is arranged in two sections: airline catering and causal dining. Each of them is particular in terms of safety regulations, quality assurance, satisfying demands and tastes of the clients.
In reference to the safety, airline catering is specific for it displays the demands of customers on the global scale. Many cases of poisoning, plastic cutlery re-use, epidemic infections happen often among airline food providers. Therefore, airline catering norms are being regulated by the World Food Safety Guidelines for Airline Catering by International Flight Service Association (2010). In comparison to the airline catering, the casual dining provisos have more options in delivering high quality services, depending on the type of business and type of restaurant.
The quality assurance management should be regulated by the tastes of customers and by SWOT analysis in reference to the marketing perspectives that business faces with each day of its existence. Either subsidized or commercial, the food court should meet quality standards.