A French invention of the 18th century


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The history of restaurants

Author: Lenny Reponas

Whenever one plans an outing or food for that matter, the first thing that comes to mind is a restaurant. Presence of innumerable food shops and eating places has always been a part of our social lives. The restaurants, a French invention, began to appear on the social scenario in the later half of 18th century.
The main difference between the two is that, in a tavern, a set menu is

available, for a fixed price, only at a particular time. On the other hand, a restaurant serves a variety of dishes, each priced, separately to be chosen from a menu, according to preference, available anytime of the day. The year 1783 set the precedent for restaurants, when the first restaurant was opened by Beauvilliers, who had served as chef to Comte de Provence (Louis XVIII), in Palais Royal. The market was full of chefs and other related personnel from 1789 onwards. Ten years later Beauvilliers left for England, when his restaurant closed down due to the French Revolution. At this time a large number of people left France for England, the richest country in Europe, and other European countries.

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Many of the chefs turned their talents from preparing food for the nobility to providing the illusion of nobility for a burgeoning bourgeoisie. It became a golden age for restaurants whose number increased more than five-fold in fifteen years, from one hundred in 1789 to between five and six hundred in 1804. Restaurant revolution brought many changes in the dining patterns. It introduced 11 am and 12 noon déjeuner à la fourchette (breakfast with a fork), preceeded by le petit-déjeuner (breakfast).
In a restaurant, other than the glitzy and glamorous Dining areas, there are also the kitchens where the actual food preparation takes place. In the kitchens are the boiler rooms. In around 1800 Count von Rumford, an American, introduced the first commercially available "modern" kitchen ranges. This invention revolutionized the restaurant kitchen. Because of introduction of kitchen range the number of dishes on the menu card being offered to the customer reduced, moreover the dishes that could be prepared fast were more on the offing. Roasts were not offered on many menu cards but pan fried stuff which took very short while to cook was offered to the customers more. Thus eating out is totally a different experience than what it was earlier.
The history of restaurants and famous restaurant chains
The First Restaurant: The first restaurant proprietor is believed to have been A. Boulanger, a soup vendor, who opened his business in Paris in 1765.
Cafeteria: The first cafeteria was opened by the YWCA of Kansas City, Mo.
The first ever Drive-In Restaurant opened in Glendale, California in 1936. In Drive-in Restaurants the food to the customer is served while they are sitting in their cars. This type of restaurants became most popular in around 1950s.
McDonald's Happy Meals: Ray Kroc was the pioneer of the fast-food industry with his worldwide McDonald's enterprise (1954). He revolutionized the American restaurant industry by imposing discipline on the production of hamburgers, french fries, and milk shakes. In 1977, the first McDonald's "Happy Meal" was regionally tested in St. Louis. The first nationwide Happy Meal was served in 1979.

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