Restaurant Services – Amilya & Ilya

Restaurant and Food Industry – Ilya and Amilya

Our focus on the fieldwork study was on the Restaurant and Food service industry in Barcelona.  We found a number of differentiating factors here in Barcelona that differ from that of the United States. Our prime observation was that the services provided in the food and restaurant industry in Barcelona are a large part of the culture, where as in America, it is more so a profitable venture. In Europe, tipping is not as prominent as it is in America, so food service employees are not necessarily working to ensure that their service is greater than someone else’s.  In America, people go out to restaurants to eat quickly, and continue on in their daily activities, whereas in Barcelona, people take their time and enjoy sitting in a restaurant and interacting with those around them.  It is a much slower-paced environment that struck us both almost instantly.  This is also a reflection of how culturally different the United States is from countries throughout Europe. 

The food options offered here are differentiated based upon local tastes. For example, Dunkin Donuts had a number of beverages that are not offered in the United States.  These drink options reflected the local Catalan culture. Customization of food orders is also very rare in Barcelona, and almost frowned upon.  In America, you can walk into a restaurant for example, and request that a burger has pickles, onions, no lettuce and tomatoes.  In Spain, the options for customization are slim to none, and it is expected that you order exactly what is offered in the menu catalog. Managers and workers seem to be offended when you ask to alter their offering in some way. 

One factor we noticed in Barcelona is the emphasis on keeping the city clean and sustainable.  This is very noticeable in their restaurants and food facilities just as much as it is noticeable on the streets.  In McDonalds, they separated their trash and recycling in a way that makes the customer feel obligated to help maintain the cleanliness and sustainability of this city.  In contrast, New York tends to have trash placed in containers without care of whether it is the correct one or not.  McDonald’s in New York do not tend to be very warm, welcoming and cleanly, but are quite the opposite here in Barcelona.  

Our key takeaways are that there are a number of distinct differences between the food industry in Barcelona that reflect the Catalan culture, although there are many significant examples of American influence. In Barcelona, service in the food industry is based very much so on enjoying and taking time reflecting on what the city can offer you while making connections with other people.  People do not tend to rush and be as fast paced as they are in America.