Classification of catering establishments

Hospitality Industry is basically divided into three major categories. They are:

  1. Commercial catering
  2. Transport catering
  3. Welfare catering


Commercial catering involves catering for profit and customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction cannot be given priority over profit as the existence of a commercial establishment is possible provided the company has enough money to sustain itself and its staff.

Conversely customer satisfaction cannot be neglected as the backbone of any business is its
customer. For retention of customer it is imperative that the customer has to be satisfied and
happy with the services. The different establishments which come under the category of
commercial catering can be broadly categorized into two types. They are: 1. Residential, 2. Non Residential


  1. Hotels
  2. Motels
  3. Resorts
  4. Floatels
  5. Guest houses
  6. Lodges
  7. Circuit houses

Non Residential:-

These are business premises that provide the facility of only food &
beverage but no accommodation. The establishments which come under this category are:

  1. Restaurant
  2. Bar
  3. Fast food outlets
  4. Discotheque
  5. Pastry shops
  6. Vendors


Transport catering refers to catering done in the various modes of transport
systems like railways, sea and air etc.

Railway catering: Railway catering in India started in the 19th century and has grown
throughout the length and breadth of the subcontinent. People travelling long distances in trains
require refreshments and hence canteen and stalls were provided on the large stations. The train
would halt for required amount of time to allow passengers to avail of these facilities. The
railway hawkers would cater to the economically poorer sections. Later the railway set up
railway hotels attached to the railway stations to take care of the need of the people.

Marine catering: Marine catering includes catering for passengers as well as the crew on board.
The modern day luxury cruise liners have very high standard and equipped with facilities like,
restaurants, ball room, discotheque, casino, swimming pool, golf course, laundry etc. all on board.
On luxury liners service reaches the highest standard. Apart from the different meals served in the
most professional way social activities like parties, dance etc. are also organized.

Events like birthday parties, anniversaries etc. are also celebrated to provide entertainment and create
goodwill. The menus served are exclusive and quite elaborate to provide ample amount of choice.
Airline catering: Since no cooking facility is available in the aircraft all prepared food has to be
carried before the flight takes off. Because of limitations of space and storage facility the pantries
are specifically designed and equipped for holding and reheating the food. Today airline catering
has become much more sophisticated and airlines are taking more care to plan more appetizing
and varied menu. Civil aviation progressed very rapidly after the second world war when large
war supply air craft were available for disposal. From 1946 onwards commercial airlines started
food service. Initially in-flight services were limited and only light meals and dry snacks were
being served. This system continued till airlines started to make international journeys. This made
it necessary to serve more substantial meals which resulted in the development of flight Kitchens
which met the demand.


This type of catering involves catering without the motive of profit.
Although loss is not objective either. It is generally done out of compulsion or obligation, or a
part of legal requirement or charity. Welfare catering is carried out basically in three different
type of establishments. They are:

  1. Industrial catering
  2. Institutional catering
  3. Service catering