top of page

Hotel & Catering Industry

Click on the topic below to jump to the notes directly:

A. Introduction to the Hotel Industry and Growth of the hotel Industry in India

B. Role of Catering establishment in the travel/tourism industry

E. Welfare Catering - Industrial/Institutional/Transport such as air, road, rail, sea, etc.


Introduction to the Hotel Industry

Hotels & the Catering Industry as we know started in the 19th century with the development of major cities, easier sea travel & coming up of railways. During Mogul rule, the forts & their surroundings would cater to the needs of the traveller often in exchange for no more than the story of their adventures during their travel or any news from other towns and villages they passed by. In India, resting houses called serais/sarais and dharamshallas were established on high ways by kings and emperors of ancient and medieval periods. Movement of people both political and pilgrimage stressed the need for better and improved facilities to cater to the varied needs of the various classes of the society.

In India, development of catering can also be attributed also to the legacy left by people belonging to different cultures and ethnic groups who have ruled her. Development of catering in India as we see it today is chiefly due to the British, who had introduced hotels and restaurants similar to those found in Europe.

Most of modern hotels that sprouted were managed by European families. The Bombay hotel was opened in 1799. The British brought modern hotels to Kolkata. The Oldest was John Spence’s Hotel. Spence’s, the first ever hotel in Asia was opened to the public in 1830. The credit for opening the first Western style hotel under the name of British Hotel in Bombay in 1840, goes to Pallonjee Pestonjee was the first hotel to give a la carte and table de hôte menu. Then came the Auckland hotel by David Wilson in Calcutta in the year 1840-41 (now – The Great Eastern Hotel – officially Lalit Great Eastern Hotel) is a colonial era hotel in the Indian city of Kolkata – formerly Calcutta) and Connemara hotel in madras in the year 1870 by E. A. Oakshroff. But now this property belongs to Taj group.

Today, ITDC provides a complete range of tourism services, including accommodation, catering, and entertainment and shopping, hotel consultancy, duty free shops, and an in-house travel agency. The India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) was set up in 1966 as a corporation under the Indian Companies Act of 1956, with the merger of Janpath Hotel India Ltd.

In 1971-72, a beautiful palace of Rajasthan was linked up to the Taj, the lake palace in Udaipur, a marble dream, afloat lake pichola and the Rambagh palace, originally created at the height of Rajput splendour in Jaipur. In 1903 he raised finance invested his own money, hired the best architects and craftsmen and build the exquisitely beautiful Taj Mahal hotel in Bombay with 220 rooms. Mohan Singh Oberoi took Carlton hotel in Shimla on lease in 1927, renamed as Clarks hotel. He took a building in 1933 and built grand hotel in Calcutta.

Three Welcome Group Hotels were commissioned between 1975 and 1977; these were non-franchised hotels, inspired by the slogan “Be Indian, Buy Indian” and using Indian expertise. Ultimately, however, these hotels adopted the Sheraton system in 1978 and used the services of expatriates for the purposes of upgrading staff training and installing Sheraton operating systems-all without a management contract. This gave the Welcome Group a good start.

When India agreed to host the 1982 Asian Games, the GoI granted licenses for building hotels to the Taj Palace, Asian Hotels Hyatt Regency, India Tourism Development Corporation – Lodhi Hotel, Samrat Hotel, Kanishka, Le Meridien, and Surya Sofitel, with the stipulation that their new hotels had to be completed in time for the games. India hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010, at Delhi. It was India’s most successful Commonwealth Games to date with Indian athletes winning 38 gold, 27 silver and 36 bronze medals. This also added to growth of hotel industry in India.

Tourism & Hospitality Industry in India contributed Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the month of December 2014 were Rs 12,875 crore (US$ 2.03 billion) as compared to Rs 11,994 crore (US$1.9 billion) in December 2013. Foreign Tourist Arrivals, in India, during 2014 was 7.46 million, which translates to a 7.1% growth over the previous year.

The Indian Rupee was relatively stable against the US Dollar and from 59/$ as at the beginning of the year, the exchange rate hovered around 61/$ levels on the average and closed at 62/$ at the yearend for the year 2014-15.

GDP growth in India during the year is estimated at 7.4%. Inflation has decreased significantly from as high as 11.2% in November, 2013 to 5.2% in March, 2015. International tourist arrivals, worldwide, have grown to 1.14 billion in 2014, 4.7% above 2013 and are likely to grow 3% to 4% in 2015. Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) have grown by 6.6% at US$ 19.65 billion for the year.


Role of Catering Establishment

Catering dates back in the 4th millennium BC in China. The culture of grand eating and drinking was also present in old Egypt at that time. Most of the services were provided by slaves. The ancients Greeks are credited with making catering a trade by offering free services at their inns and hostels which continued into the Roman Empire, primarily to serve soldiers. In the Middle Ages catering centred on monasteries and the Christian pilgrimages in Europe. The trade spread during the reign of Charlemagne. By late Middle Ages the new bourgeoisie (people of the city) and a monetary economy helped the popularity of catering to flourish. When the industry drew the attention of German legislators in the 14th and 15th century, food and beer regulations began to take form. But much of the industry was still primarily seen in feasts and celebrations for kings and other noblemen. After the French revolution in the 18th century and the lack of an aristocracy, catering guilds were forced to find new ways to sell their talents and the first French restaurants were started.

The food sector or catering industry is one of the most important elements in the travel and tourism industry. This includes restaurants and take-away outlets, but it can also include catering providers to hotels and airlines.

Catering and food service industry plays an important role in the promotion of local food features and culture of tourism destination through providing catering products and services for tourists.

Many countries have designed and developed catering and food brand with own features and style, such as the Beer Festival of Munich in German, Pickled Cabbage Festival in South Korea, series unique meal of cactus and corn in Mexico, Samba Carnival and characteristic barbecue in Brazil and so on.

As an important part of tourism industry, catering and food service industry is the important carrier of the brand and culture for a country or region with the characteristics of wide market, extensive influence and more employment opportunities.

In recent years, the development of global catering and food service industry maintains a rapid and healthy momentum of tourism development. A wide variety of catering products and different styles of food culture has been shaped in the background of different regions and cultures.

These food service groups provide a fast catering and food service for the consumers all over the world. It can be seen that the gradual development of catering market has helped with the rapid development of economy and society.

In many countries, catering establishments are regarded as a means of developing wealth and creating employment, especially when traditional activities are on the decline. It is expected to contribute significantly to increasing GDP and providing jobs in the tourism sector.

The core activity in tourism is the hotel and catering industry, which includes business and leisure tourism, as well as the everyday business and leisure activities of local inhabitants.

Catering is still perceived as an opportunity available to people of all ages which do not require much capital investment or many qualifications. Anyone can open a restaurant, and only some of those working in the trade to take a basic training course in manufacturing and processing. Thus, in a way the development of hotel and restaurant chains is gradually increasing the amount of wage-earning jobs available, which may come to further increase the economic development of Tourism/ Travel industry.


Types / Classification of F&B Operations

The Food and Beverage (F&B) sector is a significant part of the hospitality industry, encompassing a wide range of services and business models. To better understand this diversity, the F&B operations are classified into two main categories: Commercial and Subsidized or Welfare operations. Here’s a closer look at each classification:

Commercial Operations

Commercial operations are profit-driven and include several types of establishments that cater to various market segments:

Open Market

  • Hotels: Offering dining services to guests and visitors, often with a variety of cuisines and meal plans.

  • Restaurants: Establishments ranging from casual to fine dining, focusing on meal service excellence.

  • Pubs: Casual settings that serve alcoholic beverages with food often being a secondary service.

  • Fast Food and Take-away: Focused on quick service and convenience, often with limited seating.

Restricted Market

  • Travel Catering: Services provided in airplanes, trains, ships, and the like, catering to travelers.

  • Clubs: Exclusive establishments that serve a specific membership base with F&B services.

  • Contract Foodservice: Companies that operate F&B services on behalf of other businesses, such as office cafeterias.

  • Function and Event Catering: Specialized services for events like weddings, corporate gatherings, and public events.

Subsidized or Welfare Operations

Subsidized or welfare operations are not primarily profit-oriented and often aim to serve a particular community or group:

Employee Catering

  • Contact Foodservice: F&B services are contracted out to serve employees within an organization.

  • In-house Catering: F&B services operated by the organization itself for its employees.

Institutional Catering

  • Schools: Providing nutritious meals to students, often at subsidized rates.

  • Universities and Colleges: Catering to a diverse student body with a variety of dining options.

  • Hospitals: Offering tailored food services to patients, staff, and visitors, with a focus on health and nutrition.

  • The Services: F&B services within military and other service institutions, catering to personnel.

  • Prisons: Ensuring the provision of meals to inmates, focusing on standard dietary requirements.

  • Care House: Providing meals to residents in a care or residential home setting, often with special dietary considerations.

Understanding these classifications is crucial for hospitality students as it helps in identifying the scope of services, target markets, and operational considerations. Each category requires unique management strategies, customer service approaches, and marketing tactics.

In conclusion, the F&B sector is diverse and multifaceted. As a hospitality professional, recognizing the nuances of each operation type allows for better service delivery, improved customer satisfaction, and operational success.


Welfare Catering

Welfare Catering

The provision of food and beverages to people to fulfil a social obligation, determined by a recognised authority, is known as welfare catering. This grew out of the welfare state concept, prevalent in western countries. It includes catering in hospitals, schools, colleges, the armed forces and prisons.

Welfare Catering is mainly about providing food at minimal costs. It does not serve the purpose of generating revenue. This kind of establishment does not promote a lucrative food menu. They mostly follow a Cyclic Menu that is good enough to fulfil the nutritional requirements of the customer.

Industrial Catering

The provision of food and beverages to ‘people at work,’ in industries and factories at highly subsidised rates is called industrial catering. It is based on the assumption that better fed employees at concessional rates are happy and more productive. Catering for a large workforce may be undertaken by the management itself, or may be contracted out to professional caterers. Depending on the choice of the menu suggested by the management, catering contractors undertake to feed the workforce for a fixed period of time at a predetermined price.

Institutional Catering

The provision of food and beverages to ‘students in schools or colleges’ at highly subsidised rates is called institutional catering. It is the responsibility of the institutes to provide the students with a complete balanced diet. This kind of catering establishment may be under taken by the management itself or may be contracted out to professional caterers. The food menu in this type of establishment is Cyclic and is mostly based on the seasonal availability of ingredients. The concept is not to earn revenue but to serve their own social responsibility.

Travel Catering

The provision of food and beverages to passengers, before, during and after a journey on trains, aircraft and ships and in buses or private vehicles is termed as transport catering. These services may also be utilised by the general public, who are in the vicinity of a transport catering unit. The major forms of modern-day transport catering are airline-catering, railways catering, ship catering and surface catering in coaches or buses which operate on long distance routes.

Airline Catering

Catering to airline passengers on board the air craft, as well as at restaurants situated at airport terminals is termed as airline catering. Modern airports have a variety of food and beverage outlets to cater to the increasing number of air passengers. Catering to passengers en route is normally contracted out to a flight catering unit of a reputed hotel or to a catering contractor or to the catering unit operated by the airline itself as an independent entity.

Railway Catering

Catering to railway passengers both during the journey as well as during halts at different railway stations is called railway catering. Travelling by train for long distances can be very tiring; hence a constant supply of a variety of refreshment choices helps to make the journey less tedious. On-board meal services are also provided on long distance trains.

Ship Catering

Ship catering is catering to cargo crew and passenger ship passengers. Ships have kitchens and restaurants on board. The quality of service and facilities offered depends on the class of the ship and the price the passengers are willing to pay. There are cruises to suit every pocket. They range from room service and cocktail bars to specialty dining restaurants.


Structure of the Catering Industry

The structure of the catering industry includes both commercial and non-commercial catering establishments. Some of the more popular and common ones are as under:

Five Star Hotels

These usually have several restaurants, grill rooms, ethnic (Indian, Chinese, Italian, etc. among the most popular), European and coffee shops are included. Service in these hotels is usually attentive and entertainment is nearly always available. Prices in these establishments tend to be high.

Medium Class Hotels

Similar to the five-star hotels, though surroundings are less luxurious and prices are reflected in this.

Free Standing Restaurants

Often quite high class, offering good Ala Carte menus- service is usually of a high standard.

Snacks Bar

It is popular with the working public offering everyday fare, at very reasonable prices.

Fast Food Centres

The “eating out” of 80’s growing in popularity in India especially with the young, these restaurants offer fast, clean service at popular prices. Service is minimal and turnover is high.

Night Clubs

It usually situated only in larger cities and offering high-class entertainment with food.

Industrial Canteens

Industrial canteens are operated as a facility to staff in large factories or similar. Food of a high standard but managements working to tight budgets. Food cost is usually subsidized consequently staff pay minimal prices.

Institutional Catering

Usually, hospitals are serving high nutritional standards of food.

Airline Catering

A big business operation, serving good quality food in difficult and limited service areas. Competition is tough in this sector to maintain high standards.

Railway Catering

It is similar to airlines, and although this was a prestigious area of catering. The fifties to the seventies saw a gradual decline which fortunately is being rectified as the 80’s progress.

Outdoor catering

It is a growing industry within the industry. Many Service staff are involved in these sometimes-complicated operations.



Recent Posts




bottom of page