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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.
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.
Medieval travelers dined at inns, taverns, monestaries and hostelries.
Colonial America continued this tradition in the form of legislated Publick Houses.
It was a coffee house, hence the word "cafe." Cafes were places educated people went to share ideas and new discoveries.
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'...Another thought to ponder: how military foodservice impacted civilian industry."Foodservice organizations in operation in the United States today have become an accepted way of life, and we tend to regard them as relatively recent innovations.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.