The healthy meal experience

If people have decided to eat out then it follows that there has been a conscious choice to do this in preference to some other course of action. The reasons for eating out may be summarized under seven headings:
If people have decided to eat out then it follows that there has been a conscious choice to do this in preference to some other course of action.
Food serving point.
  1. Convenience: for example, being unable to return home, as in the case of shoppers, people at work or those involved in some leisure activity.
  2. Variety: for example, trying new experience or as a break from home cooking.
  3. Labor: for example, getting someone else to prepare and serve food and wash up, or simply the impractically of housing special events at home.
  4. Status: for example, business lunches or people eating out because of their socio-economic group do so.
  5. Culture/tradition: for example, special events or because It is a way of getting to know people.
  6. Impulse: a spur-of-the-moment decision.
  7. No choice: for example, those in welfare, hospital or other forms of semi-or captive markets.

The decision to eat out may also be split into two parts: the decision to do so for the reasons given above, and then the decision as to what type of experience is sought it is generally agreed that there are a number of factors influencing this latter decision. The factors that affect the meal experience may be summarized as follows;
  • Food and drinks on offer: this cover the range of foods, choice, availability, flexibility for special orders, and the quality of the food and drink.
  • Level of service: depending on the needs people have at the time, the level of service sought should be appropriate to these needs. For example, a romantic night out may call for a quiet table in a top-end restaurant, whereas a group of young friends might be seeking more informal service. This factor also takes into account services such as booking and account facilities, acceptance of credit cards and the reliability of the operation’s product.
  • Level of cleanliness and hygiene: this relates to the premises equipment and staff. Over the past decade this factor has increased in importance in customer’s minds. The recent media focus on food production and the risks involved in buying food have heightened public awareness of health and hygiene aspects.
  • Perceived value for money and price: customers have perceptions of the amount they are prepared to spend and relate these to differing types of establishment and operation. However, many people will spend more if the value gained is perceived to be greater than that obtained by spending slightly less.
  • Atmosphere of the establishment: composed of a number of factors, such as design, d├ęcor, lighting, heating, furnishings, acoustics and noise levels, other customers, staff and the attitude of staff.
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