Food Service Industry

Food Service Industry


a branch of the national economy that produces and sells prepared food and serves consumers. In the USSR the food service industry includes large factories involved in all phases of food processing, preparation, and serving; enterprises producing “convenience” foods; takeout kitchens; and various eating establishments, including restaurants, teahouses, cafés, snack bars, and buffets. Some of these serve consumers at their places of work or study, in many cases providing food at reduced prices, since plants, factories, and educational institutions assume part of the cost of preparing and serving the food. The food service industry plays a vital role in the organization of dietotherapy. Food service enterprises are incorporated into government trade organizations or consumers’ cooperatives.

The state has paid great attention to the development of food services since the first days of Soviet power. Many restaurants and taverns were converted into community dining rooms for workers and their families. V. I. Lenin pointed out that under model working conditions common dining rooms economize on human labor and products; are convenient for consumers; free women so they can work; and provide improved conditions for women’s all-around development. Under Soviet power the food service industry has become an important branch of the national economy. Especially important in its development were party and government resolutions of the 1950’s (On Measures for Improving Operations of Food Service Enterprises, Mar. 1, 1956, and On the Further Development and Improvement of Food Services, Feb. 20, 1959).

By the end of 1973 there were 260,000 food service enterprises, compared to 87,600 in 1940. The merchandise turnover in constant (real) prices nearly quintupled between 1940 and 1973. Over the years, food service enterprises have been enlarged. The overall seating capacity rose from 3.1 million in 1955 to 12.2 million in 1973, and the average seating capacity per facility, from 30.5 to 52.3. At the beginning of the 1970’s, the food service industry was serving about 77 million persons, or 31 percent of the total population. The number of workers employed by the industry increased from 788,000 in 1940 to 2,167,000 in 1972. At the same time, labor productivity increased by 63 percent, owing to mechanization of production.

Food service is more developed in cities than in rural areas. In the consumption of food products, the percentage of products acquired through the system of food services at the end of the 1960’s by urban residents was 12.8 percent, and by rural residents 2.6 percent.

Mass development of food services is being made possible by highly mechanized plants, which produce partially prepared foods, ready-to-eat meals, and canned and frozen prepared products (see below: Food engineering). At the beginning of the 1970’s, partially prepared foods accounted for the following percentages of all food produced in their categories by the food service industry: meat, 53; fish, 34; vegetables, 5; and potatoes, 22. The field is acquiring many highly qualified specialists, trained in specialized higher educational institutions and in technicums and vocational-technical schools. Problems of dietetics are studied by the Institute of Nutrition of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, and problems in the economic organization of the food service industry are dealt with by the Scientific Research Institute of Food Services. Growth of merchandise turnover and production is developing in two directions: the number of people served by the industry and the percentage of each user’s food intake supplied by the industry.

The food service industry is highly developed in foreign socialist countries. In the German Democratic Republic, there is one seat in a dining room, restaurant, café, or snack bar for every 12 inhabitants (1968); in Bulgaria there is one for every 11 (1970).

In capitalist countries the food service industry is a branch of the national economy affected by big monopoly capital. Eating establishments are found in a variety of places, including shopping centers, department stores, hotels, campgrounds, and motels. In the USA at the beginning of the 1970’s there were about 145,000 restaurants, cafés, and other eating establishments, with a total of 3.5 million employees; they accounted for nearly 25 percent of all food products sold. In France in the same period, about 15 percent of all expenditures for food products went for food eaten away from home.


Food engineering. Food service enterprises are equipped with various mechanical, heating, and auxiliary equipment and with vending equipment. Their basic operations involve the cold (initial) processing of raw foods, the hot (secondary) processing—the food preparation proper—and the dispatch of food to points of immediate consumption, where the food is put in its final, consumer-ready form.

Cold processing is done by mechanical equipment, which performs the following operations: washing of raw materials (washers and baths); sorting (separators and sorters); peeling of vegetables and scaling of fish (potato peelers, fish scalers); cutting (vegetable slicers, meat choppers, cutters, bread and sausage slicers); comminution (mashers, graters, mincers, food mills, machines for pureeing cooked vegetables); mixing (meat mixers, dough mixers, beaters); forming of meat patties and pel’meni (meat ravioli); tenderizing meat (tenderizers); and dividing dough and butter into portions (dough and butter dividers).

Appliances used in the hot preparation of food are classified according to their heat source—electricity, gas, steam, or fire—and according to the cooking method—boiling or roasting and frying. Cooking utensils include kettles, pressure cookers, cooking cabinets, coffee brewers, sausage cookers, and boilers. Roasting and frying equipment includes ranges, skillets, deep-fat fryers, roasters, and ovens. The heating of food is done by traditional methods (surface heating by means of heat transfer), as well as by intensified methods that make it possible to raise the coefficient of heat transfer. Such intensified methods include various devices with infrared and combined heating or with forced convection, boiling and steaming utensils that function at high temperatures and pressures, or ovens heated by vapors of high-temperature organic intermediate heat carriers. Appliances utilizing currents of microwave frequency are effective; they heat food products thoroughly and quickly, bypassing most forms of ordinary heat transfer. Thermoses and other temperature-control devices, including kitchen and banquet carts, are used to keep cooked food hot.

In addition to food-preparation equipment, food service establishments possess equipment used in merchandising and storage (including refrigeration). Other equipment includes dishwashing machines and equipment for cleaning the premises.



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“O dal’neishem uluchshenii obshchestvennogo pitaniia na proizvodstvennykh predpriiatiiakh.” In Resheniia partii i pravitel’stva po khoziaistvennym voprosam, vol. 7. Moscow, 1970. Page 509.
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