Food Service: A Growing Industry

Table of Content

The food services industry in the Philippines has improved over the years. It has been a part of the Filipino culture to dine out during work breaks and when celebrating different occasions. The introduction of foods like hamburger, spaghetti, sushi, Thai food and even Korean dishes has contributed to Filipinos’ food preferences.

Another reason is the industrialization and growth among the number of women in the workforce. Women traditionally do the cooking in Filipino households, but because they are preoccupied with work outside their homes, many of them buy cooked food, have them delivered or just dine out. Because of today’s fast-paced lifestyle, ready to cook and ready-to eat meals have become greatly in demand. The food service industry is sought after by a growing number of people who want to have filling meals in the shortest time and at the most reasonable price. Today, different types of food establishments are being set-up all-over the country.

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While these are the big and fancy restaurants, fast food restaurants, delivery services, catering services and canteens and the smaller ones found within our neighborhoods such as the carinderia, pondohan and lugawan, it is also common to find food carts along sidewalks that sell fish balls, squid balls and other dimsum. Some sell barbequed chicken parts locally known as adidas(feet), pal(wings) and helmet(head). Also popular are the fried day-old chicks known as day-0. These are saleable and convenient to people with limited money to spend, and to travel or be out often.

Going into the food service business needs a lot of study on important principles of managing. Food can affect the health of the consumers; therefore it is the responsibility of its owners to maintain the cleanliness of the foods served and the place. This includes quantity cooking, menu planning, food pricing, and sanitation of work area and process, as well as health care of customers. Another important principle in this business is honest service to customers. Therefore, getting into the food business is assuming a great responsibility to the public.

There are different types of food services established to answer the needs of the public. Among these are the restaurants, panciteria, turo-turo and dimsum houses, bakeshops, coffee shops, pizza houses and specialty restaurants. These are generally categorized in two: the commercial food service and the welfare food service.

Commercial Food Service

All eateries that are into business and profit fall under the commercial food service. In this category, the controlling of expenses, setting of the profit and planning the business growth lies within the responsibility of the owner.

It is he who sets the price of the food and services based on the type of food and services, value of the place and the economic level of the target customers.

Welfare Food Service

The welfare food service is set up to cater to a particular group of people like employees, students and patients. Most are found in schools, office canteens and cafeterias in hospitals managed by a concessionaire. Competition is low because only one canteen or cafeterias serves an entire office building or hospitals. A concessionaire is a person given the right/authority by a building owner or institution to manage its canteen or cafeteria.

Main consideration in the agreement between the representative of the institution and the concessionaire is to give their employees and clients clean and inexpensive food. Usually, a concessionaire is chosen through a bidding process and is given a contract which contains the obligation of the concessionaire and building owner, the length of the contract, food pricing, and benefits given to the concessionaire, the proper cleanliness and maintenance of the area, and the events that will cause the renewal or cancellation of contract.

The concessionaire need not increase his price because regular income is assured with a captive clientele of employees or students from a company or school. Aside from this, food subsidy assistance is given by the management of a company, school or hospital to the concessionaire to reduce the price of food. This may be in the form of free electric and water usage and free space or equipment for cooking. It will allow the concessionaire to save on costs on equipment and focus on the preparation of food at a lower cost. Catering and Food Delivery Services

When going into the food business, it is always best to start small in this way, one to have more time to focus on the important aspects of the business, rather that worrying about managerial problem as in big businesses. CATERING Catering is the cooking and serving of special dishes, preparation and decoration of venue for a special occasion, feast, meeting or other gatherings. Servers and waiters are hired and paid per function or occasion. Kinds of Catering Services 1. Full Catering. In this type of service, the caterer serves the food, prepares and manages all details of the occasion.

This includes the provision of equipment, utensils/wares that will be used, decoration of the venue, table setting, and serving and clean up of the equipment used. 2. Partial Catering. This is almost the same as the full catering. The only difference is that a partial catering serves only a part of the entire menu. Other dishes maybe cooked or served by the client himself or by another caterer. The caterer only does the arrangement of the venue and food servicing.

Service Only

The client is the one who prepares the food. The caterer only takes of arranging the venues and is in charge of the food service. This may include the provision of entertainment like song and dance number and games, giveaways or souvenirs for the guest. Utensils, Wares and Equipment Used in Catering Catering does not immediately require a big capital. One may start as a home-based venture for as long as the kitchen space is big and clean enough for cooking varied dishes. However, a complete set of utensils, wares and equipment are needed to start the business. Below are some of the basic utensils needed:

  • Chafing dish, used to keep the dishes clean and hot.
  • Flatware, table utensils such as knives, forks and spoons for ordinary occasions. Silverware, high value and elegant table utensils for grand and special occasions.
  • Drinking glasses, ordinary glasses and goblets used to serve beverages.
  • Plates and serving dishes, separate sets for ordinary and special occasions.
  • Disposable cups, plastic or paper cups used to picnic and children party.
  • Tablecloth and napkin can be tailor-made to fit the style and size of your table.
  • Case, used to keep glasses, plates and other table utensils while in transit.
  • Table decoration like table centerpiece, flower vase and colored lights to makes the venue more attractive. Ashtrays, for smoking visitors and provided only upon request and if there is a designated smoking area in the venue.
  • Tables and chairs that can be rented.

Points to Consider in Making a Catering Service Contract Before entering into a contract, the following should first be settled and understood by both caterer and client:

  1. Occasion or gathering
  2. Motif of the occasion to complement the decoration
  3. Number of guests
  4. Menu based on the choice and budget of the client
  5. Cost of food to be served
  6. Payment scheme
  7. Serving system

A 50% down payment may be required upon signing of the contract to guarantee payment of cost of ingredients already bought should the client withdraw from the contract. In this way, losses are avoided. Allowance for Food In the occasion that the number of the guest exceeds what is expected, a caterer must have food ready for them. Thus, a caterer usually makes a 10% allowance from the agreed number of guests to serve. The caterer will only have to charge the additional foods served. Emergency Be prepared for whatever accident or emergency that arise in delivering or serving foods.

Bring extra equipment/materials like tablecloth, tables, drinking glasses and plates or replacement in case these are soiled, broken or damaged. It is also important in the catering business to have a vehicle to be used for delivery and pick-up of food, equipment and utensils. If the budget is not enough to have your own vehicle, you may have to rent first for your marketing and delivery service needs.


Food delivery service is the easiest to start with compared to other food services businesses. It does not include services like table arrangement, food service by waiters and other catering services.

Instead, a small counter with a telephone line can be set up to accept orders and only about two or three people are employed to deliver them. Capital Food delivery service requires smaller capital than that of the catering services because it only needs to have funds for food preparation and delivery. Aside from the capital for ingredients, food delivery needs funding for the purchase of disposable containers like Styrofoam or plastic lunchboxes and plastic spoons, fork and paper or plastics cups.

There are some who use biodegradable materials like brown paper bag, wax paper, wooden ox and banana leaves Transportation In delivering food, one can use motorcycle for faster delivery of the customer’s orders. If there is no sufficient fund for a motorcycle, delivery can be through public utility vehicles. If delivery is made in bulk, it is best to rent a vehicle for the purpose or just take a taxi. A minimum purchase is the lowest value of order for food delivery business. However, if the place of the customer is just within walking distance from the business, the minimum order policy may not be applied; add a service charge to the bill instead. Lunch Packs and Party Packages

Lunch Packs are prepared meals placed in appropriate containers and delivered to customers who are usually busy and are unable to go out to eat. Party Packages are special meals prepared and delivered to groups of not less than 20. They are usually served in meetings, picnics, seminars, conferences, conventions and other important gatherings. Most customers of food delivery services are from offices, schools and factories. Look for contract persons in these institutions. Send them letters of introduction together with your menu and brochure. You may send a representative to take orders for food.

Make sure to ask the permission of the building owner and guard before doing so. Or you may set a take-out counter within the eatery to take orders of packed lunch. Points to Remember: Utmost care in the preparation of lunch packs and party packages is very important. The key in successful food service business is for the food to reach the customers properly and on time. The following are some important points to remember in this type of business:

  1. Prepare a good combination of dishes for party package and lunch packs. For example, if there is fried fish or meat, these should be complemented by a vegetable.Avoid dishes that are not good complements like rice and noodles, and kare-kare and chicken curry. Study the best combination of dishes and choose foods hat do not easily spoil.
  2. Make sure that the food packages are clean. Styrofoam is usually used for this purpose because it keeps the food warm longer.
  3. Place food in lunch box at the right temperature. Example, pancit bihon should be cooled first before being placed inside the lunch box. There are dishes that easily spoil when exposed under the heat of the sun like ginataan and pancit bihon.
  4. Use containers with compartments. In this way, rice and different viands are not mixed inside the lunch pack. Waxed box, Styrofoam, plastic bag and banana leaves are used as containers of packed lunch. Plastic spoon and fork should be provided. It is also better if sauce or seasonings, like soybean sauce with calamansi, are included in the package.
  5. Make sure that the cooking and working area is clean. It is important in any type of food business to make sure that the food and its preparation area is clean, this is to avoid the spreading of germs or viruses carried by insects and pests.
  6. Make sure that the delivery personnel are dressed in clean and proper outfit.
  7. Food should be delivered properly and promptly.

Remember that a prompt service is a good indicator of a prosperous business. Hygiene and Sanitation Hygiene and sanitation are the foremost considerations in setting-up and managing a food service operator to take care of the health of the customers and workers. This can be done through knowledge of proper hygiene and sanitation even before the operation starts. A. Water This is to ensure the cleanliness of the food, equipment at the dining area, and the surroundings.

Make sure that you have clean water containers that are always covered. It should be boiled if you are not sure if it safe from germs and other bacteria. You may use water purifier or buy mineral water if you have enough funds. B. Clean Surroundings Dirty and messy working areas bring about most cases of food contamination or food poisoning. Pests and insects like rats, flies and cockroaches that touch the food bring bacteria that may cause disease. Because of this, cleanliness, orderliness and maintenance of a pest control system in the kitchen and dining area is important.

The dining area should be cleaned regularly. When spraying insecticide, do it during evenings when the eatery is closed to the public. Keep the equipment and utensils safely covered in the kitchen to avoid being sprayed by insecticides. C. Sanitation Head It is advisable to have one staff in charge of maintaining the sanitation of your kitchen and dining area. Working table, sink, stove and other cooking equipment should be cleaned daily. Dining utensils should always be sterilized should be done every week to control insects and other pests. D. Proper Food Handling

In the food service business, proper food handling and storage is important to avoid spoilage and wastage. Remember spoiled food that is served would damage your reputation and business. It may even cause harm to the customers. Avoid buying food or ingredients that are easily spoiled. Determine the shelf life or the length of time food or ingredients will stay edible. For example, fish can be stored in the freezer for 2 to 3 days only. Leafy vegetables should be cooked on the day bought; and meat should not be stored in big cuts because the inner part of the meat will not be frozen. E. Waste Disposal

Having a proper system in waste disposal should not be disregarded. Segregate wet and dry garbage. Put black plastic bag in the trash can for ease in disposing the garbage. The black plastic bag should be closed and tied when already full to avoid being reached by flies and other insects. F. Cleanliness, Orderliness and Health of Workers in the Food Service These are other important considerations in the food service business. Give specific responsibilities to all workers and make it clear to them that it is their responsibility to satisfy and ensure the health and safety of the customers.

Ensure also that the cook and waiters have clean bill of health. Require them to have regular medical check-ups. Only in this manner can anyone be assured as to whether or not they are afflicted with a communicable disease. G. Uniform or Clothes of the Workers The clothes or uniform of the cook and waiters should be given considerations. Clean and neat clothes and uniforms give the food business a good reputation. Wearing an appropriate outfit is one way of showing respect to the customer. Design and Layout of the Dining and Working Area

The design and layout of a food service establishment help in the success of its operation. If the design and layout is right, you can save your time, effort and money. Service and food can be made faster and better. Design refers to the size, style and decoration of the area. On the other hand, layout refers to the details of the arrangement of the dining area, kitchen and working area including the arrangement of the equipment and other facilities.

The design and layout of food established depends on the type of food service. You may use the following as guiding principles in the design of your establishment:

  1. Allocate enough floor space and area for the waiter, busboy and customer to pass. The convenience of the customer is the main consideration of this space. If there are no barriers and the space is wide, service is faster because the waiter has more room to move. Aside from this, accidents like tripping and spilling of food in the dining area can be avoided.
  2. Arrange the work areas that are related for systematic workflow. For example, the area where you place soiled plates and drinking glasses should be near the kitchen sink. The working table can be placed in the middle of the kitchen for accessibility, surrounded by the refrigerator and freezer, kitchen sink and stove.
  3. There should be an access doorway for the delivery of food and supplies. It is better if there will be an extra access doorway at the back or side of the dining area mainly for the delivery of food and supplies to avoid inconveniencing customers.
  4. Minimize the distance between the cooking areas to the point of service. This is to make service delivery faster and assure that food serve to customer will still be hot.
  5. Cooking utensils and ingredients should be within the reach of the workers. The shelves for the equipment and ingredients that are use often in cooking like salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, ginger and onion should be near the work area.
  6. Place a garbage disposal near the working area or kitchen. Separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes.
  7. Use a clean and bright colored paint for the ceiling, wall and floor. One of the qualities a customer looks in a restaurant is a clean and brightly painted dining area.
  8. There should be enough lighting and ventilation in a kitchen and dining area. A well-lit dining area adds appeal while good lighting helps prevent accidents in the work area. If the dining area and kitchen have no sufficient windows where air could pass freely. Use an exhaust fan to remove unwanted color inside the restaurant.
  9. If the kitchen is small, install built-in cup-board in the wall. In this manner you can save on space and movement of workers in the kitchen are not obstructed.
  10. Have a clean comfort room. This is important for the convenience of the customers. Also, a clean comfort room will impress your customers.
  11. As much as possible, the decoration of your restaurant should complement the food served. If you are serving native dishes, the design of the restaurant should also be native. If you are in fast-food business, you may use attractive colors and lively decorations and simple equipment or utensils.
  12. If the dining area is small, this will look spacious if you place mirrors on the wall. At first, you may use folding tables and chairs if the space is small.

Principles of Quantity Cooking

It is important in the food service business to know how to cook for a big number of people. One should study this standard measure very well to be able to estimate contract price, purchase ingredients and avoid possible loss. Suggested Portion Serving for Meat In quantity cooking, one must consider the correct portion of main ingredients for every serving so that one can easily estimate the quantity of ingredients to be purchased and the profit. The following are the suggested serving size for beef, pork, chicken and sea foods. In a fine dining restaurant, all servings are weighed.

These are other things that a food business operator must know in quantity cooking.  The quantity of ingredients cannot just be multiplied from a standard recipe for 5 to 6 persons or a family according to the number of diners. If your recipe is good for about 6 persons and there are 24 persons that are to eat, you cannot increase the ingredients (especially the seasonings) four times. For example, if the recipe for 6 persons needs to 2 teaspoonfuls of salt, it does not necessarily need 8 teaspoon of salt for a recipe good for 24 persons. Study the adjustment of recipe and the balancing of ingredients.

As much as possible, use a weighing scale and measuring utensils in measuring the ingredients. In this way, the measurements of ingredients or serving size are exact. It is cheaper this way than merely estimating the ingredients. Have a proper storage system of ingredients purchased in bulk. Allocate an area to store canned goods and ingredients that are not perishable. Take extra care in cleaning and storing highly perishable ingredients like meat, vegetables, egg and fish.

Allot three to four months trial period. This is to determine which food or meals sell and which don’t. This will also guide you to determine the quantity of ingredients to purchase and the meals that are to be included as regular menu.  Take extra care in storing, handling and delivering cooked foods. Cooked foods need to be stored properly to avoid spoilage. These can be covered with plastic to avoid dirt.

Look for regular and trusted sources of ingredients. It is better to have regular and trusted sources of ingredients because aside from being cheap, you are assured of its freshness and quality.  Study how to make use of leftover or excess foods to make another dish. If there is leftover lechon, it can be re-cooked into lechon-paksiw.

Leftover fried fish can be cooked into sarsiyado or as ingredient for fried lumpia. Meat broth can be used in cooking noodles or soup. Planning a Menu The menu is the most important foundation and attraction od a restaurant. It presents the different dishes served by an eatery, catering or food delivery establishments. The following are some practical guides in planning you menu.

Know what specialty foods you can cook that your customers will like. For example, if you are excellent in cooking kare-kare, make this the specialty of your restaurant. Just be sure that you have other dishes that complement the kare-kare like grilled meat, pancit, viand with broth, fruits and dessert like kalamay.

Plan the menu according to your target customer. For example, students prefer beef, pork and chicken to fish and vegetables. Manual laborers often ask for more rice and any viand with sauce. This is because they want more filling food that is cheaper. On the other hand, children prefer spaghetti, hotdog, hamburger and fried chicken.

You may use as basis, the cost of food and the expected profit in planning the food to be served. Use extenders like potatoes, tofu, veggie-meat and other vegetables to lower the cost of the meal.  Make sure that the ingredients are on-season to be able to served foods that are cheaper but higher in profit.

For example, if bangus is cheap, you may include in you menu different special dishes from bangus like relleno, sinigang na tiyan ng bangus and sarsiyadong bangus. Put a sign or poster outside your restaurant advertising your special menu.  Make sure that you can serve the foods that are in your menu. Also, make sure that you have the needed equipment. For example, you need a grill if you have barbecue or inihaw in your menu.

Use your imagination and creativity in preparing your menu even if these are simple, so as to make the food attractive to the customers. For example, a pancake may be ordinary but it becomes special when you put different flavors and garnishing. An ordinary galunggong will become special if serve in banana leaf with side dishes like atsara or vegetable salad.

Match the menu to the weather, on cold days, it is best to include in the menu foods rich in energy like beef, pork, chicken, pasta and kakanin. Also include delicious food with broth like arroz caldo, nilaga and chicken soup. On hot days, prepare refreshing foods like halo-halo, mais con yelo, sago’t gulaman, ice cream and different salads.

Give importance to the health and nutrition aspects in planning the menu. Avoid serving oily foods. Balance the foods and know the right combination to make sure that the foods served have enough vitamins. For breakfast, prepare simple and easy-to-cook foods like tapsilog (tapa-sinangag-itlog), longsilog (longanisa-sinangag-itlog), and tosilog (tocino-sinangag-itlog). 10. Consider the space of your kitchen and cooking area.

If your kitchen space is small, serve food that can be cooked early so that these can be just heated when ordered. Consider using a microwave oven because this type of oven does not alter the taste, volume and texture of the food being heated. Capital requirement, Food Costing and Pricing and Control of Expenses In starting up a catering and fast food service business, one needs to have sufficient knowledge about the investment and manpower requirement. , other expenses, food costing and pricing and profit.

The type of catering and food service business can be determined by the capital invested on it. A home-based catering service business that offers delivery service has smaller capital requirement.

Much bigger capital is needed in setting up a restaurant when located in an elegant place like a hotel.


Word-of-mouth. If your business has delicious food, and excellent service, satisfied customers will return to your place, spread the news and recommend your restaurant to friends and acquaintances.

  • Signboard. This is important for customers to know and remember the name of your restaurant and to help them to fin your place.
  • Publicity. Another way to attract customers is through publicity. A good review done by a food critic in a news paper or magazine will help bring customers to the restaurant.
  • Discount and promotional items. Promotion can be done through the provision of discounts and promotional items like key chain, umbrella, food bonus and others at your restaurant.
  • Advertisement. If your budget allows it, you may advertise on newspapers, television and radio so that more prospective customers will know your business.
  • Brochure and calling card. It is important to have brochure and calling card to give to customers to be remembered and called when needed in the future.
  • Entertainment. You can have free entertainment inside your restaurant like a pianist, singer or band to make eating more enjoyable.
  • Public relations.

It is also important to have good and effective relationship with the public by joining civic activities and food festivals. Good relationship between your customers and workers is also important to have a smooth business operation. It is enough that your food service business is popular and has promotion and advertisement to succeed. It also needs to get in touch with different institutions or organizations to improve food preparation and service. We call this networking. It is recommended to food service business owners to join workshops and seminars to know the trends and present preferences of consumers. In this way, they can improve the quality of their service and food.

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Food Service: A Growing Industry. (2018, Feb 28). Retrieved from

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