Customer Preferences

Even facilities with captive audiences, such as school cafeterias and hospital kitchens, must produce food that is appealing to their customers and in sufficient variety to keep them from getting bored with the same old things. Grumbling about the food is a favorite sport among students, but at least it can be kept to a minimum.

Restaurants have an even harder job because their customers don't just grumble if they don't like the selections.They don't come back. People are becoming more and more interested in trying unfamiliar foods, especially ethnic foods. Nevertheless, tastes vary by region, by neighborhood, by age group, and by social and ethnic background. Foods enjoyed by some people are completely rejected by others.

Prices must be kept in line with the customers' ability and willingness to pay. Prices, of course, place limits on what foods can be offered.

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