The need for public eateries was firmly established as far back as the Roman Empire and Ancient China.
This brought about the earliest form of restaurants – the roadside inn. Meals were served at a common table, with no menus. Every night was chef’s choice.
These earliest inns and taverns were more than just a place to eat. They served an important social function bringing people together.
In 1765, a man by the name of Boulanger added cooked lamb to a stew he sold in his shop, near the Louvre. The caterer’s guild sued, but Boulanger won the case. Over the next 20 years leading up to the French Revolution, more and more shops like Boulanger’s began opening up all over Paris.
By the 17th Century, which full meals were still typically eaten at home, moderately well- to do people would hire a caterer or take their meals in a private salon, rather than in the main dining room of a public house.
The 19th Century brought huge changes in travel connecting cities by railway, increasing tourism travel, helping establish luxury dining destinations in Europe and abroad.
The 20th Century has seen restaurants evolve into the familiar brands we see today, marking the rise of fast food chains and franchises, as well as a return to organic, local foods.