Food Offerings and the Menu

Eating out in restaurants and cafés is a fairly recent invention. In the middle ages travellers would seek shelter and food at castles and monasteries. The development of the Inn and coach house was an early form of providing hospitality for profit. Food was also produced for the poor in workhouses and soup kitchens these were sometimes run for profit though many were run by charities.

Food provision can be categorised in various ways.

Cost sector catering


Canteens Cafeterias Directors' dining rooms

Welfare catering

Schools Hospitals Hostels Nursing Homes Meals on wheels

Transport catering

Air - Terminal In-Flight On board ship Rail Motor way Roadside


Take away Fast food Steak houses Ethnic Cookery

Coffee shops Carveries

The Menu otherwise known as the Bill of Fare is a selection of items available.

There are three main types of Menu :

a la carte a selection of individually priced dishes

table d' hôte a fixed price menu with a choice of dishes within each course

banquet or function menus a fixed price menu usually with fixed courses usually selected from a choice of alternative menus.