The practice of catering and serving food to travelers and people who were far away from home go as far back as the early Greek and Roman times. Taverns and inns performed this practice as the term “restaurant” was still unheard of back then.
A restaurant, where people can sit and eat the food they have ordered, is a relatively a new concept. When used in the 18th century in France, the word referred to a shop where soups (that could restore health, probably due to hunger) were sold. It was also during the latter part of this era and early part of the 19th century when “eating house,” oyster houses and coffee houses became really famous in America. These establishments, though, were built only in areas where population was big and, as America became more urbanized, so did these establishments – becoming more sophisticated and increasing in number.
Jumping forward to the early 20th century (between 1991 and 1921), the emergence of what is now known as (and very famous) fast food restaurants came into existence. These new eating places catered to the needs of people who were always on the go and who demanded quick service, thus these were also known under the name quick service restaurant or QSR.
It is obvious that fast food restaurants, which serve pre-cooked and kept-hot “meat-sweet diet” food, are preferred much more than those that cater fine dining. Location, cost of food, and formality are some of the factors that greatly affect this preference. While fine dining would definitely cost much more, restaurants that serve it would also require a more presentable attire – a great inconvenience to many.
The concept of fast food restaurants still continue to develop (in terms of service). This is evidenced by the emergence of catering trucks and fast casual restaurants. Fast casual restaurants have maintained the practice of having their patrons seated and their food brought to them, while catering trucks, which is very popular among office workers and factory workers, are often seen parked right outside work places, making purchase and consumption of food, during breaks and lunch periods, faster and more convenient.