The difference between small and mass food production is very difficult to define. Most food standards, principles and large number of techniques are the same. Some define quantity food production ( for volume feeding ) as the production of 25 or more portions. A report compiled by the National Restaurants Association, lists food service units under two major groupings
- Commercial or those establishments which are open to the public, are operated for profit and which may operate facilities and / or supply mela service on a regular basis for others.
- Non-commercial (as employee feeding in schools, industrial and non-commercial organisations), education, government of institutional organisations which run their own food service operations. Food services in schools and universities, hospitals and other transportation armed services, industrial plants and correctional units are in the second group and may not show a profit or even balance out financially at the break even point.
- To serve hygienically prepared wholesome food.
- Food is primarily as a service to complement their other activities and contribute to the fulfillment of the objectives of the institute.
- Cyclic menus
- Not profit oriented
- Educational experience for those who are involved as they happen to experience different regional cuisine through the cyclic menus. As a result, the food habits become more flexible.
quantity control and portion control are very important. A good quality standard, should cover essential characteristics that indicate quality in a product. Quality control programmes make it possible to serve as a consistent standard. Employee evaluation, taste panel, scoring customer reaction and other menus can be used to evaluate quality.
Good purchase specifications and finding the right product to suit the production need can do much to raise and maintain the quality standards. Proper forecasting of quantities needed in production and controlling portion size are two essentials of good quality controls. Portion size varies according to food, type of meal and patron, cost of the food, appearance. Adults, teenagers and small children consume different quantities and portion sizes vary from them. Men eat more than women, an individual doing hard work eats more than other doing sedentary tasks.
Giving liberal quantities of less costly foods and smaller ones of the more expensive foods can be practised. The portion appearance is affected by the portion size and shape of the dish, decoration and width of the rim, dish colour and food arrangement.
OFF PREMISES CATERING :- Off premises catering has always been a specialised business. It is the service of meals in offices, clubs, canteens and also in individual homes. In this reference, premises means the area where food is planned and prepared. Its growth has been tremendous and there is a vast improvement of the equipment used. It covers everything from take home meals to the most elaborate meals at weddings.
QUALITY OF A GOOD PARTY CATERER :- The success of any catering service depends upon the person behind the venture. He must have good contact with the people who will be most likely to make use of his services. He must be able to perform these services satisfactorily and must employ suitable, efficient and capable staff. Most important he must be able to serve tasty, eye appealing food deliver it to its destination on time at right temperature.
COMPLEXITIES OF PARTY CATERING :- Party catering like other skilled technical jobs is highly specialised job. While profit is an interesting part of the catering industry, the multitude of activities throwing a challenge to the caterer, is the difficult side of the coin. If careful consideration is given to certain small details and the people concerned take active participation. It will increase turnover, improve profits and generally enhance the reputation of the caterer. There are no get standard procedures and formula for a successful caterer. Procedures and techniques vary from job to job to place and according to the requirement of the occasion. The facilities available and the cost factor also plays an important role.
PLANNING OF THE MENU :- The arrangement of a suitable menu, perfect from all points of view necessary for any successful party catering. The caterer must be an individualist full of novel ideas and must be able to pressure them profitable for the company and attractively for the client. The dishes chosen should be fhuirless in quality rasry in and attractive in appearance. Equally important is the cost of the dishes.
Nothing could be more disappointing and irritating to the guest as being served a dish smaller in portion size than he was tole at the time of booking the party. This could be avoided if the price of an item is given along with its portion size. Every party, whether for 20 or for 2000 must be a specialty and different from anything that has gone before. Clients seldom come to the caterer and ask him to arrange a party like the one they have had before, usually suggestions are wanted to make the party different, something that is unique and will be talked about. The following points will help in thoughtful planning of the menu.
- Planning well in advance will ensure minimum amount of repetition of the dishes.
- Planning a menu for a definite cycle of time have been found to be different.
- Variation must be produced by serving different vegetables and meats having a colour contrast.
- Seasonal availability is very important as parties are booked in advance.
- Nutritional balance must be ensured.
- It must fir within the budget of the customer and to his satisfaction.
- Equipment and personal must be adequate for the party.
- The menu must adhere to the established standards of service and must ensure quality and variety of the food.
- It helps to procure stores in advance.
- The occasion for which the catering is done is an important factor and so the pattern of food will change accordingly.
To be successful, the menu must reflect the eating habits and expectations of the restaurant market. The tastes of customers are complex and varied and change from day to day and time to time.
EQUIPMENT : – These may include an assortment of good china, for special occasions such as weddings and anniversaries, good hollow ware and flatware, attractive glass and silverware, serving dishes of all kinds and sizes, good quality linen and all kinds and types of buffet service equipment. These are the items that the guest see and by which they judge and catering establishment. For storage and transportation of these equipment, it is important to have special boxes where the equipment will fit. There are many kinds and types of kitchen equipment, such as insulated carriers for soup, coffee and other beverages. There are containers to carry ice cubes, portable hot cases to keep food warm and also portable griddles. Caterers could also hire out tables, chairs and other accessories on a contract basis.
CHECKLIST :- Various checklist help the caterers in smooth and systematic functioning of the parties. Server should be informed before service on the size of the portion by weight, Volume or count. The dish in which they are served, the serving tool etc.
The use of standard recipe offers a sound basis for controlled portioning and the achievement of a uniform product.
In almost all organisations where they have to cater to a large group of people, the kitchen as well as the service areas will be well equipped. The personnel handling the food will also be educated in the field of food production, nutrition, hygiene and service.