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Home / Blog / Hospitality and Catering / Understanding the Hospitality and Catering Industry

The hospitality and catering industry is one of the busiest and most competitive industries out there. There are always new brands that are popping up within the sector, and whilst many of them disappear after a short while, they are also those that seem to go from strength to strength.  

To help you to learn more about this all-important sector, we have put together our guide on how to better understand the hospitality and catering industry.  

What is the hospitality and catering industry?

The hospitality and catering industry covers a wide range of different business types, all of which are dedicated to providing customers with food and drinks.  

There are a variety of different business types within this industry. This includes pubs, bars, restaurants, holiday centres, hotels, and so many more.  

Why is the hospitality and catering industry important?

The hospitality and catering industry is important because it is there to help those who need food whilst they are away from home to access both food and drink. Not only is this a basic human need, but many people who head to these businesses do so to be social, to get together with family or friends, or simply as a form of entertainment away from home.  

Residential catering establishments

The idea of a residential catering establishment is to provide guests who are staying in and living on the premises with food during their stay. This can vary in its nature and, of course, depend largely on the type of accommodation that is being provided, as well as the type of clients that book in to stay.  

Bed and breakfasts

When you stay at a bed and breakfast, then you are going to not only book in for a place to stay whilst you are there (the bed part of the name), but you will also pay for breakfast too. Breakfast is served down in the dining area of the bed and breakfast; this is usually a small space, and the food provided is cooked there on-site by the owners.  


It is becoming more commonplace for holiday parks or accommodations in rural areas to provide food as a part of the accommodation. Some guests may want to cook for themselves whilst they are staying, whereas others are going to want to have food cooked for them. 

For many farmhouses, the food that is prepared or given to the guests for them to cook for themselves will be related to the local area or perhaps even produced on-site.  

Guest houses

A guest house is largely like a bed and breakfast in the way that it looks and works. However, a guest house will usually provide a variety of different meals during guests’ stay. The food will be simplistic in its nature. However, it will often be home-cooked and freshly prepared there on-site, in smaller quantities than what you may see in large hotels.  

Holiday parks

A holiday park will usually be self-catering, which means that the people who are staying there will be in charge of their own food and drink. However, as a treat for those who have chosen to have their holiday there, there are often pubs or restaurants on-site in the holiday park.  

Not only this, but many holiday parks also have deals with larger food chains, and there may be outlets within the holiday park.  


Much like holiday parks, more often than not, a part of staying in a hostel is that you need to make your own food in a communal kitchen space. However, lots of hostels also have food within their premises too. They may offer themed nights, such as Mexican nights, for those who are staying there.  

The idea of these is to encourage those who are staying in the hostel to be social and to come together to spend time together.  


Many hotels, if not all hotels out there, will provide food and catering as a part of their accommodation. This is so guests can find somewhere to eat during their stay. More often than not, the most popular meal within a hotel will be breakfast, which guests will head to before they go out for the day.  

As well as providing breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many hotels also have room service as a part of their food and catering offerings. These are more simplistic dishes that are prepared on-site and that are then delivered to the rooms that they have been ordered by.  

Public houses

A public house is a pub that has rooms to stay within. These are usually smaller and only have a few rooms to rent out. This means that the food that is made and served is cooked in smaller amounts and usually has a much more home-cooked, pub-grub feel about it.  

Non-residential catering establishments

You can also have catering establishments that serve customers that are not staying there. They do not have facilities for people to stay in. However, they do still want to provide them with access to food whilst they are there.  

Armed services

Whilst someone is staying on site when they are serving in one of the armed services, it is not a residential catering establishment like others. There is a kitchen within these barracks or bases, and they will prepare and cook food for those who are stationed there at that time.  


You don’t normally associate bars with catering; more often than not, they are linked to alcoholic drinks rather than food. But, many bars are also known to provide food to the customers who are spending time there.  

For the most part, this is more simplistic meals and smaller snack dishes, things that are easy to cook and also even easier to cook.  


A cafe is the type of place that you may go to if you want some good honest food. Lunches and afternoon teas are the types of things that you may see at a cafe, and just because the food there isn’t complicated, that doesn’t mean that it is not delicious and perfectly cooked.  

Care homes

Whilst people do live in care homes, they are seen to be a non-residential catering establishments. The kitchen in a care home not only caters to those who are living there and receiving care, but they often cater to people who are visiting or who are in there for the day.  

Fast food

Fast food restaurants are where we go when we want cheap, simple and satisfying food. Quickly. More often than not, fast food restaurants are going to be a part of a larger chain. However, they can sometimes be independent and stand-alone restaurants in their own right.  


Most of us don’t want to find ourselves in a hospital having to eat hospital food, but sometimes it does happen. Hospitals will have on-site kitchens that provide not only the patients with food whilst they are in there receiving treatment but also can cater for visitors to the hospital and the staff that work there too.  

Meals on wheels

Meals on wheels create meals and then deliver them to those who are unable to cook/prepare meals for themselves. They are often catered to those who are recovering from illness or who are elderly and find it hard to move around their home. 

Meals on wheels are simplistic in their design and ingredients and are usually provided in ready-to-heat portions for the person to then eat in their own home.  


Prisons are not famous for their food, but they do provide food to those who are spending time there. The meals in prison are cost-effective and simple in their preparation and design. The idea is that they keep costs down whilst still providing the prisoners with nutritional meals.  


One of the most commonplace non-residential catering premises is restaurants. Restaurants are there to ensure that we have somewhere to eat and will often cater to a variety of different tastes and cuisines.  

Restaurants can be small or big, and they can be independently owned and run or perhaps part of a larger chain. Their viewpoint is always to provide great quality food and high-quality service that keeps customers coming back for more.  


You don’t always want to sit in and eat when you don’t want to cook at home. This is where a takeaway can help. They provide delicious food from a variety of different cuisines. But, the food that is made can either be delivered to your home or perhaps collected and then taken back home. 

The most popular forms of takeaway are Chinese, Indian and pizzas too.  

What is the hospitality business?

A hospitality business is one that provides a space that is comfortable for people to spend time in. More often than not, drinks or food are provided. It could also be a place to sleep too. It can also be a combination of all of these things.  

What is the hospitality industry?

The hospitality industry covers the broad categories of all the types of service industries that provide hospitality to consumers. This includes those that provide a place to stay, such as hotels; those that cook and serve food, such as restaurants and also those that provide only drinks, such as bars.  

What is the catering services sector?

If you provide food and beverages to customers, then you are a part of the catering sector. It doesn’t matter the size of the premises that you have or the volume of customers that you serve. All that matters is that you provide them with food and drink in exchange for money.  

Hospitality service training and up-skilling

Staff training is a crucial aspect of ensuring food safety in your food business. Some suggested courses include:

Food Safety and Hygiene (including regulatory compliance):
Food Hygiene Level 2
Level 3 Award in Food Safety
Allergen Awareness
HACCP Awareness

Cleaning and Sanitation:
COSHH Awareness

Customer Service:
Customer Service

Health and Safety:
Health and Safety at Work
Fire Safety
Emergency First Aid at Work
Slips Trips and Falls

Or grab one of our money saving bundles and save 50%:

By providing thorough and regular training, you can equip your staff with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure food safety, maintain quality standards, deliver exceptional service to your customers and crucially – keep them safe!

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