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Medieval travelers dined at inns, taverns, monestaries and hostelries.Colonial America continued this tradition in the form of legislated Publick Houses.5-6) While public eateries existed in Ancient Rome and Sung Dynasty China, restaurants (we know them today), are generally credited to 18th century France.The genesis is quite interesting and not at all what most people expect.They were highly regulated establishments that sold restaurants (meat based consommes intended to "restore" a person's strength) to people who were not feeling well.Cook-caterers (traiteurs) also served hungry patrons. The history of these two professions is historically connected and often difficult to distinguish.Beauvilliers, 1782 "However, the first Parisian restaurant worthy of the name was the one founded by Beauvilliers in 1782 in the Rue de Richelieu, called the Grande Taverne de Londres.He introduced the novelty of listing the dishes available on a menu and serving them at small individual tables during fixed hours." ---Larousse Gastronomique, (p. France was the birthplace of what we now call the restaurant..happened toward the end of the eighteenth century.
Entrepreneurial French chefs were quick to capitalize on this market. Boulanger, 1765 "In about 1765, a Parisian 'bouillon seller' named Boulanger wrote on his sign: 'Boulanger sells restoratives fit for the gods'...
The royal household, with its hundreds of retainers, and the households of nobles, often numbering as many as 150 to 250 persons, also necessitated an efficient foodservice...
In providing for the various needs, strict cost accounting was necessary, and here, perhaps, marks the beginning of the present-day scientific foodservice cost accounting..." ---West and Wood's Introduction to Foodservice, June Payne-Palacio & Monica Theis, editors [Prentice-Hall: Upper Saddle River NJ] 9th edition, 2001 (p.
Advances in technology made possible mass production of foodstuffs, quick distribution of goods, safer storage facilities, and more efficient cooking appliances.
Advances in transportation (most notably trains, automobiles, trucks) also created a huge demand for public dining venues.