While most self-service cafeterias offer a wide variety of food to cater for as many customers as possible, this can lead to bland offerings that are sometimes perceived as lower in quality compared to other foodservice operators with more specialised menus. Self-service cafeterias could follow the example of leading player Ikea in focusing on specialities, or menus that offer only a few types of cuisines to compete more strongly.
The increasing cost of food in Australia has made it more difficult for self-service cafeterias to maintain their business models of a buffet-style service. With vegetables and seafood being so expensive, it could limit how many different dishes a cafeteria can serve, with variety being one of the main selling points of these outlets.
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Self-service cafeterias are outlets where there is no (or limited) service content. Rather than table service, there are food-serving counters/stalls where customers take the food they require as they walk along, placing it on a tray. In addition, there are often stations where customers order food and wait while it is prepared, particularly for items such as hamburgers or tacos which must be served hot and can be prepared quickly. For some food and drink items, customers collect an empty container, pay at the check-out, and fill the container after check-out. Free second servings are often allowed under this system. For legal purposes (and the consumption patterns of customers), this system is rarely or never used for alcoholic beverages. Self-service cafeterias do not have a cover charge, customers are either charged a flat rate for admission (as in a buffet) or pay at the check-out for each item. Some cafeterias also charge by weight. Self-service cafeterias resemble contract catering self-service cafeterias such as canteens, dining halls and cafeterias located within institutions such as a large office building, school and universities. However, fully captive contract self-service cafeterias are excluded from consumer foodservice. Unlike fast food, self-service cafeterias feature a menu comprising full, regular meals, often with a large choice of first course, main course and desserts. As cafeterias can effectively serve large number of customers with comparatively few employees, they are often found within larger complexes, for example, department stores, shopping malls, travel foodservice (motorways stations, railway stations, airports). Self-service cafeteria examples include: Ciao (Autogrill), Flunch (Agapes Restauration SA), IKEA (Inter Ikea Systems BV)See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Self-Service Cafeterias research and analysis database.
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