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Food Service: The Mover Of The Culinary Arts

Aug 17, 2007
There are a few restaurants nowadays that can really sweep you off your feet from merely displaying their exquisite style in food serving. Years ago, food serving was an art that was practiced like a ritual. This is because, for one, people were so deeply religious that even the preparation of the food was a cause of celebration and joy. Two, people used to have all the time in the world that even the preparation of food was made into a beautiful ritual of blessing.

Of all the people in the known world, the Japanese has managed, up to now, to maintain rituals that they have observed all throughout their life, of which include preparation and serving of food and drinks. In fact, they have this so-called tea ceremony for special events like weddings or funerals, with teas served in little cups. Most of Japanese food preparations and rituals are meant as an offering to their master, teacher, deity or God. In some other parts of the world, like in Africa, for example, there still exist more radical rituals such as dancing or the banging of congo drums to exalt their God. The food were said to be a gift from their God and they are dancing out of joy for the blessing.

Such rituals of food service are colorful memories of tradition that is slowly being forgotten. Notwithstanding the lost tradition of food serving, some people still do understand the importance of proper food serving.

The Civilian Food Service Manager

In the modern age, a hotel or food chain or restaurant needs food service managers who can direct and organize food attendants to prepare and serve the food to the customers or guests. Food service managers are normally found in first-class hotels, restaurants or cafeterias. The work of the food service managers, however, is so much streamlined into the process that sometimes a food service manager has other responsibilities in tow. In fact, there are instances when the food service manager is also the restaurant manager, two managerial jobs for a single person.

Over the years, nonetheless, the continuous integration of work processes in the food industry and the automation and improvement of some of the process lines simplify the work of food service manager. Today, the food service managers can also be the restaurant manager, food service directors or dining room managers.

In some five star hotels, however, there are special areas in food management that needs keen supervision. In such cases, hotels or restaurants hire a food and beverage manager, a kitchen manager, a banquet manager and catering manager, depending on the needs of the hotel.

Duties Of A Civilian Food Manager

A civilian food service manager is tasked to hire his own serving and food preparation staffs, must write his planning menus and food utilization techniques, and must enforce compliance to current food, health and fire regulations. Certain nutrition standards by the government, such as iodine requirement in food, must be enforced properly. So, the work of a food service manager is to be thorough in planning from beginning to end. This planning will revolve around the expected number of guests, the popularity of the establishment, the nutritional value and palatability of the food and most importantly, the over-all cost of the menu.

Planning is not very easy when you think of the randomness of the number of guests or customers of the establishment. A food service manager will have to periodically review the existing menu of the restaurant and assess the recipes based from comments received from customers. Any comment, such as too much salt or too sweet a food, is a major concern for a food service manager. He also needs to assign appropriate prices to the menu items. The feedback from the guests is not only to be able to determine the possible labor and overhead costs but also to continuously improve the service to the customers.

He will also direct and organize training programs for his workers, evaluate performance of each workers and resolve existing problems between personnel, if there is any. It is important for the food service manager to be able to keep-high the morale of his workers to make them more effective in their word. In serious situations, he will have to investigate and resolve conflicts not only between his staff but also between a customer and staff, or complaints by the customer regarding the quality of food, service or accommodation.

A food service manager also makes sure of the economical use of raw food materials and the timeliness of food preparation by coordinating assignments of food preparation to different personnel. He is also tasked with the estimation of food and beverage consumption in relation to the existing stocks in the pantry.

The tiring part in the work of a food service manager is monitoring. The monitoring of methods in food preparation, size of portions and food preparation, although very exhausting, should be done regularly. Aside from this, he will also have to monitor the performance of his staff, the budget and the payroll records.

The Military Food Service Manager

The military food service manager, on the other hand, works in a military organization. This is necessary because there is a need for organization when feeding hundreds or thousands of service members every day. The daily meals are carefully planned to suit the diet and nutritional requirements of soldiers.

Even in a battle, there exists a food service manager that directs the food requirements. This is very important since there have been records in military history of battles lost due to famished soldiers that have become weak both physically and morally.

Duties Of A Military Food Service Manager

In comparison, a military food service manager has fewer duties than a civilian food service manager. He merely manages the cooking and food serving preparations in mess halls and directs the operation of the officers' dining halls. He also determines the staff and required equipment for the dining hall, kitchen and meat cutting areas.

He is responsible for setting standards for food storage and preparation and estimates food budget. In doing this, the military food service manager will be able to maintain the nutritional and sanitary standards in food service facilities.
About the Author
Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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