Improved Meal Offerings in Tourist Destinations Provided by Professional Practitioners

University dissertation from Örebro : Örebro Universitet

Abstract: Restaurants are central to the growth of a tourist destination, and rural, small-restaurant owners/managers are important actors in the development of attractive meal offerings. There is a lack of research scrutinising the skills and knowledge that may contribute to the growth of small-sized restaurant businesses. There are specific conditions of daily work in the restaurant and in the hospitality industry overall, and these are also relative to seasonal conditions in tourist destinations. In this licentiate thesis, the overall aim is to elucidate the specific conditions of small restaurant owners in a seasonal tourist destination and the making of their meal offerings. This paper explores the complexity of daily work in the restaurant business using an ethnographically inspired method applying an insider perspective. The complementing research methods used were interviews, fieldwork, repeated field visits and a short survey. The insider perspective is a challenging research method in itself but helpful for detecting the daily practice, organisation, and routines of the informants and their personnel, as well as for indicating the impact of workload on the informants’ lives. The study was carried out with eleven owners of eight eight small-scale rural restaurants, four with attached lodgings, and two managers in one urban restaurant/hotel. The results of the study show that the offering of a restaurant meal is dependent upon the multitude and variation of the culinary as well as hospitality competence of the practitioners, and the complexity of restaurant work has to be matched with a proactive daily practice. Use of time, reflectivity, and the need for professionalism is in focus.