What Is Food Service?

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Food service is one of the most ubiquitous forms of business today. It is a means where food is served at any establishment that isn’t done at home. In the United States, the food service industry is the biggest employer in the private sector. As of the 2023 data from the National Restaurant Association, the workforce is expected to grow by 500,000 jobs, for a total employment of 15.5 million by year-end.


Now you may be wondering, what is food service? The purpose of food service is to provide food and entertain groups of people. Food businesses such as canteens, cafes, and restaurants are examples of food service. They pay close attention to purchasing, preparing, and serving food to meet customers’ expectations.


Here is an in-depth look into the inner workings of food service!


An Overview of Food Service


What is Food Service?

Food service is preparing, handling, packaging, and distributing an establishment’s food, beverage, and services. It intersects with many industries, including restaurants, cafes, bars, cafeterias, and catering companies. Also known as catering, they provide daily food products and services to community members. They aim to deliver quality food while adhering to established food safety laws.


Segments of the Food Service Industry

The food service industry comprises many different food businesses. Each business varies depending on the target market. In addition, these segments aim to provide food and beverages with their own goals in mind. 


The segments of the food industry are divided into two, namely:


Non-Commercial Food Service 

The non-commercial segment provides food and services to fulfill social needs. They do not put profit as their goal. It refers to businesses providing food and beverages to support their main functions in different institutions. Examples include schools, healthcare facilities, government institutions, and military bases.


Commercial Food Service 

The commercial segment operate to make a profit by serving food and beverage to consumers. They make up 80% of the entire food service industry. Commercial food services rely on food trends, demand, and competition. Examples include cafes, restaurants, hotels, bars, and commercial kitchens. 


Operations of Food Service

All food services follow daily operation protocols. A manager would provide guidelines so the staff would know what to do. Many food businesses have a standard plan followed regardless of size. These include:


Greeting the customer 

Customers prefer to eat their meals quickly. They should be greeted when they enter the restaurant or sit at the table. Avoid letting the customer wait at all times. This affects their overall experience.  


Take food orders 

The staff takes food orders after the customer introduction. Ensure that the staff notes the customers’ orders as clearly as possible. The staff will send the order to the kitchen so that the chefs will prepare the food.


Provide customers with cutleries and beverages 

While waiting for the food, the staff provides customers with beverages and cutleries. The staff can get extra through a utensil dispenser if the customer needs more cutleries.  


Deliver the food 

Once the food is ready, it is important to have its owner eat it right away. Cold meals will usually get sent back to the kitchen for reheating. Afterwards, the table should be cleared of empty plates so the customers receive their meals.



Check-ins are a customary protocol to see if the customers liked their orders. The customers will provide feedback. Feedback also helps the staff knows if their service is effective and if they need any suggestions and pointers to work on. 


Ask for dessert 

This is an optional opportunity for larger food businesses. After clearing the table, customers may ask for dessert or a cup of coffee or tea. In any event, get everything prepared to avoid waiting. Afterward, you can give them the bill and thank them for their visit. 


Types of Food Service

These types vary depending on the food business. Each type comes with different perks and challenges for each guest. 


They include:

Waiter service 

Waiter service is the most common type of food service. A server takes customer orders, provides continuous service, and takes payment. It is more personalized as customers will interact with staff throughout the meal. This also includes having highly trained staff with customer service skills. 



Buffet services are popular inside hotels and cruise ships. It allows customers to choose from a variety of food. Sometimes, the buffet follows a specific cuisine set by the chefs. The wait staff only takes beverage orders and clears empty dishes. 



Banquet is a smaller type of buffet. They entertain a group of 10-12 guests with preordered dishes to cut down waiting time. With this setup, the kitchen and wait staff must be on point to serve fresh food. 



Self-service is a common setup in fast-food restaurants. The staff stays behind the counter and looks out for any orders. They ensure they prepare them promptly so customers can get started quickly. 


Room Service 

Most luxury hotels have room service available. Guests can call down to the dining room and place orders to their rooms. The wait staff transports the food from the kitchen to the room. 


Importance of Food Service

The food service industry is one of the most indispensable fields of any business. They contribute to a community’s economic, social, environmental, and cultural aspects and lifestyle. Food service brings more benefits to any given community. 


Here’s why food service is important for any business.


Food safety 

The food service industry complies with international food safety standards. Before staff can cook the food, they rinse the raw ingredients to prevent the spread of germs. They make sure that all prepared food is safe for consumption. The industry complies with regulated food laws to prevent issues that may put consumers’ lives at risk. 


Access to prepared food 

While most food services are businesses, they help consumers access meals. They do this for leisure or convenience. Food businesses such as restaurants provide unique products accessible to a larger community. It brings cooked food easier for every hungry consumer.


Culinary innovation 

Professionals such as chefs can introduce new products or meals to set new trends. It promotes better nutrition, sets new preferences, and highlights the community’s offerings. Through innovation, food services cultivate creative minds.


Job opportunities 

The significance of food service for employees continues to grow each year. It creates opportunities for millions of people. Through food service, it helps them create a sustainable lifestyle. Furthermore, revenues generated by food services help a community to grow. 


Supply chain management 

Alongside job opportunities, food service provides opportunities in the supply chain. These include farms, producers, and logistics. The supply chain serves as a connecting sector to many different industries. 


Essential Food Service Skills

While the industry provides opportunities for people, certain skills are required for a business to survive. The food service industry is one of the most competitive, and only the most efficient thrives. Some skills are entry-level, skilled, or supervisory. This depends on the employee’s expertise and can improve through training and experience. 


Here are the skills that employees should have.


Culinary skills 

If you are a chef or cook, you should be able to cook any food. This includes proper food handling, preparation techniques, cooking methods, and presentation.


Food safety and hygiene

All food personnel must practice food safety and food hygiene. Staff will come in contact with many surfaces and must have a basic knowledge of food safety. This prevents food safety hazards in the food system that may cause foodborne illness. 


Customer service skills 

In the industry, it always involves customer interaction. Employees must have people skills and good communication. This skill settles any conflict and promotes customer satisfaction.


Time management 

Any food service employee should know how to manage their time well. It is key to an efficient operation to improve coordination among staff. There are times when there is downtime. However, showing the best service at any moment is important. It ensures that customers experience satisfactory dining.


Menu planning

While it is a function provided for specialized employees, planning is also important. Food service managers are responsible for the meals that get served to customers. Moreover, menu planning helps food businesses and consumers to provide competitive but reasonable prices.



Ultimately, food services are businesses. Managers must analyze and gauge the costs and expenses of any food service operation. It gives them insight into its performance for a set time. 


Upgrade Food Services With Dispenser Solution

Food services are one of the most important sectors in the community. They provide food for consumers and follow food safety standards. If you plan to manage a food service business, you need to gauge the costs, expenses, and expected revenue. Depending on your goal, You can serve food for profit or social services. Ultimately, food service bridges the gap between consumers who want to eat at their convenience and provide easy meal access. 

Dispenser Solution is a leading cutlery company that manufactures high-quality cutlery dispensers. With our high-quality service, we help make the world a cleaner and better place to enjoy your food! Our safety regulations allow you to enjoy a safer, more convenient, and amazing dining experience. Contact us today!


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