Restoring stomach and soul


Many people who work in the foodservice industry probably have some idea about where the term restaurant came from.

Many people who work in the foodservice industry probably have some idea about where the term restaurant came from. According to Wikipedia, the story goes like this:“In 1765 a Parisian soup-vendor named Boulanger (which, confusingly, means Baker) put up a sign outside his shop in Latin, reading:


“Come to me, all who labour in the stomach, and I will restore you.”

As the definition continues, “The idea of serving individual meals to customers who could sit down and eat them on the spot was, amazingly, very new; so the restorative aspect of Boulanger’s innovation was incorporated into the name for this type of establishment. Thus, the word “restaurant” comes from the French word “la restauration”, meaning restoration”.

Through time the term has evolved and the standard definition that is widely accepted follows: “A foodservice establishment that provides seating and serves food that may be consumed on the premises is a restaurant.

If you live in California, it seems like the term may be going through some further transformation. While travelling to Ottawa on business recently I came across a story in the Ottawa Citizen that piqued my curiosity. It focused on the recent opening of a “restaurant” in San Diego, California. The “restaurant”, and I use that term lightly is called Sarah’s Smash Shack. It’s unique in that it’s the only restaurant I can think of that doesn’t actually serve or sell food or beverages for that matter (where else but in California could this trend surface?).

Instead business woman Sarah Lavely has created an enterprise where she lets customers take out their frustrations one dish at a time literally. Lavely, an innovative, young entrepreneur, charges clients $10 and up to literally smash up plates and glasses during 15-minute intervals. Given the economic downturn and the recent roller coast ride of the stock market, there’s a lot of takers. During one week, as an example, one of her customers, an insurance broker, patronized the restaurant with his wife but instead of spending money on a great meal and a great bottle of vino, the two spent $50 to smash a few plates, upset at not being able to buy their first home because the banks have frozen their lending.

Ironically, the price point in this particular restaurant is not cheap. It costs $45 to break 15 plates for 15 minutes. Customers can even write little messages on each plate in a thick black marker before throwing the dishes. And as an added value, guests can also buy breakable frames (3 for $10) so that they can slip pictures of their enemies on the plates before they throw them against the wall.

Entrepreneurialism at its very best. One can only imagine what other creative concepts might emerge if the economy continues its recent descent.


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Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality, and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements. She serves on various committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hospitality Foundation. She is a recipient of the Ontario Hostelry’s Gold Award in the media category. In 2006, Rosanna was voted one of the 32 most successful women of Italian heritage in Canada. Rosanna is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where she obtained a BA degree in English literature.

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