The term hospitality is derived from the French word hospice. A famous hospice was the Hospice du Beaune in Beaune, France. This was a long-term hospital support through the generosity of the wealthy. When people are traveling it is nice for businesses providing service provide them with hospitality.
During the Greek and Roman era people began to travel. Romans were famous for an extensive network of organized travel routes (highways). This lead to a development of business travel. Once the fall of the Roman Empire these routes fell into disrepair and became quite dangerous to use. Prior to the Medieval Period this was known as the dark ages. Very few people traveled and those who did, did so a great risks. As we approach the medieval period, business people who operated housing for travelers were considered crooks and were not held in high regard. In early day the Code of Hammurani made it illegal for landowners to charge for extra rooms in their homes. Penalty for charging travelers to use their homes was execution. The people who operated inns during this time were often retired gladiators that were used for slumming (prostitution) and drinking. These houses of sin were unsanitary and carried a bad reputation.
As people began to use other forms of transportation (other than on foot) traveling became a lot more popular.
During the 16 th century coffee houses were a popular destination for the community to conduct official business. After the long period of the dark ages people were into drinking alcohol. In the 16 th century drinking was taboo, therefore the coffee houses were used to sober up the population.
As people migrated to the New World, the US was settled by peoples from different parts of the world. Each with their own words for hotels (places to eat, drink and sleep). When traveling to different parts of the country today you can still see evidence of these terms in use.
During and shortly after the French Revolution, many French immigrants came to the US. Most had experience in culinary arts. The legendary figure during this time was Escoffier who was a world famous chef. One of his contributions to the Culinary Industry is the organization of chefs in a kitchen. This hierarchy of cooks is known as the Brigade System. Each category of chef has a specific title which when used today we know exactly what types of food he/she is responsible for producing/supervising. Boulanger was an early vender of food. During his time there was not a name for the type of business that he had. He sold a soup based food that he called restorantes (which translates into restore the body). If is believed that the popularity of his soups led to the term restaurant. Which today are businesses that restore the body with food.
As more French immigrants came to the US and the ability of the Elite to travel back to Europe led to a cultural food revolution. Eating in Restaurants was for only the high society and the educational elites. Most hotels and restaurants were grand affairs borrowing the style of the old world (Europe) Cesar Ritz was a famous hotelier and he and Escoffier operated some of the finest hotels in Europe and latter in the US. The early 1900’s is called the grand period of hotels because so many large hotels were built during this period. Delmonico was an example of the early restaurants found in the US. Very expensive and very pretentious. This restaurant was operated for over 100 years by the same family. As more people had the opportunity and means to go eat in restaurants they had difficulty reading/ understanding the menus of the early restaurants because they were written in French. Delmonico’s is credited to have created a bilingual menu so as not to offend their guests who could not read or understand French.
These are some of the early chain of restaurants that were developed in the US. White Castle is still operating, Howard Johnson’s is now a hotel company and Marriott Hot Shoppes are defunct (this was the precursor business for the Marriott Hotel Company).
The largest growth in commercial food service is in the casual dining sector. People are looking for good food in a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere. Mass tourism has resulted in world wide increase of travel products, this growth is contributed to the fact that people are earning more, living longer, and the time to travel from place to place has gotten quicker. Baby Boomers are the most wealthiest generation to ever live. As the more into retirement age and have more free time they are expected to spend a large portion of their disposable income on travel related products and services.