Palisidis, G.[1], Stavridi, E. 2] & Boskou, G.[[3]

ABSTRACT

Background: By the registration and analysis of the Greek menus, by the finding of the menus’ important features, and by the analysis of the menu-items that more frequently appear in Greek catering businesses, we can have the profile of the typical menu in a Greek restaurant, for historical, traditional and nutritional researching purposes.

Methods: On the whole, 502 menus out of 502 catering businesses were chosen throughout Greece. The research was divided into six parts, which concern the registration and the analysis of the names of the businesses, the different types of the businesses that took part in the study, the menu-categories and the menu-items, the nutritional and gastronomical comments on some of the most frequently appearing menu-items and finally, the creation of the profile of a typical menu.

Results: Some of the most important results are that 600 single words derive from the names of the businesses, 489 different words that compose the menu-categories. From the results of the menu-items’ analysis, 2033 single words were appeared. The 10 most common of them, which describe dishes are: feta cheese (934 occurrences), shrimps (703), mushrooms (702), fried cheese (saganaki) (595), burger (570), souvlaki (535), octopus (409), sausage (395), Greek salad (choriatiki) (391) and wine (382). 22 menu-items, 3 alcohol drinks and 3 desserts, were chosen in order to be commented.

Conclusion: The current study could improve the procedures of writing a menu, as an important process of the Ho.Re.Ca. Sector. The catering businesses show variety in the businesses names, but they seem to keep a specific strategy on writing a menu, such as specific word profile and menu-categories number. Furthermore, it is interesting that some elements and menu-items, from foreign cuisines, seem to have been deeply embedded in the Greek gastronomy. Additionally, it seems that dishes with meat maintain a great percentage on a menu. Eventually, a model profile of the Greek menu was created upon the afore mentioned data analysis. However, more research in this topic is recommended, by taking into consideration some other aspects of this one.

Key Words: menu, menu-item, dish, restaurant, gastronomy

1 INTRODUCTION

Tavern; The traditional Greek restaurant

There are many different definitions that explain the word “Tavern”. It is the restaurant that usually offers cheap food, meat or fish and wine (Iordanidou, 2007). Otherwise, tavern is a small Greek restaurant or café (Simpson & Weiner, 2012).

The origin of the tavern appears 2500 years ago. It was first appeared in the Ancient Athina with the name of “kapilio” or as an inn. The definition of “tavern” first used on the 13th centuries in Istanbul with the beginning of the Frankish (Pittas, 2009). Taverns and inns had an important role in the History of Culture, because they were used as way of the society’s relief (Lundberg, 1997). In general, the Greek tavern changed throughout the decades, in parallel with the historical changes in Greece and particularly in Athens (Pittas, 2009).

Tavern is divided into several categories. Fish-taverns offer fish dishes usually accompanied with alcohol drinks. Grill houses offer meat or chicken dishes accompanied or not with drinks. Souvlaki-taverns roast small pieces of meat in order to prepare the typical Greek souvlaki (Laloumis & Stefanakidis, 2005).

A usual tavern menu consists of:

Bread (usually sliced), salads (most frequently Greek salad or seasonal greens), meze or appetizers (such as: tzatziki, dolma, spinach pie, saganaki-fried cheese), pulses, spaghettis, fish and seafood, cooked dishes, grilled dishes, wine, beers, other alcohol drinks, such as ouzo and tsipouro, seasonal fruits and desserts (such as yogurt with honey, preserves sweet, halva).

There are some trademarks and certifications, for the quality assurance of the quality of Greek

Cuisine in catering businesses and of general rendering of services; “Greek Cuisine” trademark of the GΝΤΟ[4],“Cretan Cuisine Quality” trademark, “Gourmet” award, “Golden Chef’s Hat” award (Boskou & Palisidis, 2012).

Picture 1: "Greek Cuisine" trademark, "Cretan Cuisine Quality” trademark, "Gourmet” award, "Golden Chef's Hat" award

As it is mentioned above, tavern is the traditional restaurant of Greece. Respectively, “konoba” is the Croatian traditional restaurant, “osteria” and “trattoria” are the Italian traditional ones, “tapas bars” and “el restaurantes” are the Spanish traditional ones and “brasserie” and “rotisserie” are the French traditional ones.

The role of taverns in Greek tourism

Tourism is a very widespread way of entertainment, as well as a part of a big industry and an important financial source for traditionally tourist countries, such as France, Spain, America, Italy, Cuba and Greece (Boskou & Palisidis, 2012). Food is an important tourist attraction in an assortment of forms and enhances or is central to the visitor experience. It has assumed a prominent role in tourist decision-making and satisfaction, tourism products and place promotion strategies. As such, it can be a useful instrument of destination and general development. Tourists and the tourism industry around the world thus share an interest in food, although certain concerns must be addressed to ensure visitor expectations are met and perhaps exceeded (Henderson, 2009). Food and tourism have a very close relationship and food is a critical tourism resource (Quan & Wang, 2004; Henderson, 2009). It is vital for physical sustenance and all tourists have to eat when travelling. But food can be a major draw and primary motivator for some, which satisfies a multiplicity of physiological and other needs and wants (Tikkanen, 2007; Henderson, 2009). With regard to benefits, food offers pleasure and entertainment and serves a social purpose. Dining habits can also afford insights into ways of life (Bell & Valentine, 1997; Henderson, 2009) helping tourists understand differences between their own culture and those with which they come into contact (Hegarty & O’Mahoney, 2001; Henderson, 2009).

In Greece, tourism contributes to the local economy, providing 15% of the GDP[5]. There are more than 9700 hotel establishments and 115000 catering businesses, thus the tourist Sector is one of the major financial sources for Greece (SETE, 2011). Tourists come in contact with Greek cuisine throughout hotels, and afterwards thoughout Greek restaurants and taverns.

Taverns prepare meals from mediterranean ingredients. The Mediterranean Diet based on simple food preparation, offers delicious dishes because of the wide range of mediterranean products (Willet et al, 1995). Hence, Greek tavern is an integral part of a tourist visit in Greece.

Studies Review

In recent years, many research has been conducted, concerning outdoor food consumption. In fact, food consumption in restaurants and other catering businesses seems to have been increased later (Kant & Graubard, 2004; Horizons FS Limited, 2012). The increased outdoor food and fast-food consumption is associated with an increase in obesity percentage, because of the high-calorie meals that the food catering businesses usually offers (Lachat et al, 2011; Bezerra et al, 2012). As far as the menus’ content are concerning, it seems that when businessmen design their menu-pricelist, they give priority to the profit margins than to health and nutritional issues (Granz et al, 2007). In another research, they studied the energy and nutritional content of some menus of a food chain restaurant. The results indicated that appetizers had more energy, fat and sodium than all other item types. The majority of main entrees fell below one-third of the US Department of Agriculture’s estimated daily energy needs, but as few as 3% were also within limits for sodium, fat and saturated fat (Wu & Sturm, 2012).

Necessity and Purpose of the research

As a result from the above bibliography and studies review, there is a need to analyze the menus of the traditional Greek restaurants for two main reasons. A menu represents an important part of a business’ profile and operation, thus it is important to study the features and key-points that businessmen give priority to when designing a menu. From these results we can have an idea about what customers need from a food menu, because of the Supply-Demand Law. Hence, we can come to a conclusion about the potential outdoor food choices of the Greek, that this concerns the Science of Nutrition, as well the potential food choices of tourists, that this concerns the Tourism Industry and the Ho.Re.Ca. Sector.

The aim of the research is the registration and the analysis of the Greek menus. Particularly, we registrated and analyzed the menus into menu-categories, as well as we analyzed the menus into menu-items. By the registration of the menus, by the finding of the menus’ important features and the results of the analysis of menu-categories and menu-items that most frequently appeared, we can have the profile of the typical menu in a Greek restaurant, for historical, traditional and nutritional researching purposes.

2 Methods

Selection Criteria

For the current research, we collected data with some criteria. We choose catering businesses that:

  1. Are Greek firms
  2. Have typical Greek Cuisine and Greek dishes. Ethnic restaurants, pizzeria, fast-food restaurants and fast-food chain restaurants, souvlaki restaurants, grill houses and creperies are not included.

III. Coffeeshops and bars that do not offer any kind of meals are not included. On the contrary, café-restaurants, snak-bars and wine-bars are included in the sample.

IV. The full menu-pricelist is available to us. We do not include menus that are not completed.

  1. Their menu is available at least in Greek language. Menus of Greek restaurants that are not available in Greek are not included.

VI. Have fixed a la carte menu. Table d’hote menus, buffet menus and restaurants without a fixed menu are not included.

  1. Coffeeshops and bars that do not offer any kind of meals are not included.

As far as

We selected our data from the Internet, from business sites, web pages related to catering businesses and web pages with special offers for restaurants and catering businesses in general. Also, we select data directly from businessmen, either by asking the menu by email or by taking photos and copies of the menus.

We collected data throughout Greece. The number of the selection data in each prefecture is mentioned below:

Evrou

3

Larissa

26

Rodopi

1

Magnisia

6

Ksanthi

8

Euritania

0

Kavala

29

Aitoloakarnania

1

Drama

6

Fthiotida

7

Serres

8

Fokida

10

Thessaloniki

18

Viotia

3

Halkidiki

20

Evia

0

Kilki

1

Attica

70

Pellas

2

Korinthos

3

Imathia

5

Argolida

47

Florina

6

Achaia

20

Kastoria

21

Ilia

15

Kozani

4

Arkadia

3

Pieria

15

Lakonia

5

Grevenon

5

Messinia

6

Ioanninon

6

Cyclades

42

Thesprotia

1

Lesvos

3

Corfu

2

Chios

3

Leukada

2

Samos

5

Keffalinia

1

Dodekanisou

7

Zante

0

Lasithi

6

Preveza

3

Heraklion

3

Trikalon

11

Rethimno

7

Arta

3

Chania

2

Karditsa

1

Table 1: Number of the selection data in each prefecture in Greece.

The final sample consists of 502 menus out of 502 catering businesses throughout Greece.

Analysis of the data

The programs, which are used for the analysis of the data, are: Excel (MS Office), Calc (Open Office) and Online Text Analyzer, a java application from the http://www.online-utility.org/text/analyzer.jsp website. The last one can analyze a text into the frequency that each work of the text appears in it. It also analyzes a text into 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 word phrases that appear most frequently. The results of the Online Text Analyzer are presented into tables, for each number of word phrases, separately.

Firstly, businesses names are analyzed by the Online Text Analyzer, in order to find which words are usually used for a Greek catering business name. To continue with, we analyze the businesses categories that took part in the research, in order to have participation’s percentage for each business category. The analysis is conducted with filters of Excel Sheet of MS Office. Then, we analyze the menus into menu-categories. We first put the data into an Excel Sheet: we register the business’ name, the city or town the prefecture that each establishment is located, the number of menu-categories that each menu obtains and the menu-categories of each one, particularly, in order to be analyzed. We made arithmetic analysis of the number of menu-categories that the menus obtain, by using Excel Sheet of the MS Office. The next analysis has to do with the characterization of the profile of the words that are used for the menu-categories. 17 different word characterizations were used. Thereafter, the menu-categories are analyzed according to special categories, such as “regimen” category. The language of the words of menu-categories is also registered. Then, a two-word combination is made between the words that appear most frequently in menu-categories titles, in order to find the probability to appear together on a menu.

In the next part, the menu-items of menus are analyzed by Online Text Analyzer. Some spelling and syntax correction, as well as replacements of words with the same meaning, were necessary in order to be finally analyzed. The initial word number is 10481 words, but because of the dish-codification, the final one is 9996 words. The final sample of the menu-items is a Word Sheet of 558 pages.

From the last analysis, the most frequently appeared dishes come off. Some of them are commented nutritionally and gastronomically. Finally, the most frequently appeared menu-categories and menu-items are used to design the typical Greek menu.

Results

Most common name for a catering business is “steki” that means «hang out», with 8 appearances. Other common names are “geuseis” that means «flavors», “maistrali” that means «mild wind», “petrino” that means «stony» and “acrogiali” that means «seashore», with 4 appearances. Also, the word “hotel” appears 7 times, which means that businessmen give special name indication concerning hotle restaurants. Finally, 600 name words come out of 502 businesses in total, which explains that there is variety throughout businesses names. Businesses names, which appear more than 3 times, are mentioned below:

Order

Words

Appear.

1.

το

55

2.

ο

36

3.

restaurant

25

4.

η

16

5.

τα

15

6.

του

10

7.

στέκι

8

8.

της

8

9.

ταβέρνα

8

10.

εστιατόριο

8

11.

και

7

12.

hotel

7

13.

ουζερί

5

14.

μας

5

15.

taverna

4

16.

la

4

17.

στο

4

18.

γεύσεις

4

19.

μαϊστράλι

4

20.

πέτρινο

4

21.

ακρογιάλι

4

22.

n'

3

23.

φάρος

3

24.

thalassa

3

25.

κουζίνα

3

26.

κληματαριά

3

27.

bar

3

28.

and

3

29.

golden

3

Table 2: Businesses names results

35 different businesses categories derive from the research. It is important to mention that the typification of the business category was made by each businessman themselves. 171 out of 502 businesses are characterized as “restaurants” and 148 out of 502 are characterized as “taverns”.

Figure 1: Businesses categories results

It is important to keep in mind that, businesses categories results, possibly, influence menu-items results.

The results of the most appeared menu-categories are below. This table consists of the results that have more than 20 appearances into the sample.

Or.

Words

App.

1.

appetizers

469

27.

white

55

2.

salads

455

28.

cold

48

3.

wines

232

29.

warm

44

4.

refreshments

189

30.

meats

42

5.

dishes

166

31.

rouge

38

6.

beers

149

32.

pasta

36

7.

desserts

142

33.

cooked in oil

35

8.

of (her)

140

34.

tsipouro

34

9.

seafood

140

35.

risotto

33

10.

cheese

123

36.

cuisine

31

11.

cooked to order

118

37.

of the day

30

12.

drinks (pota)

118

38.

wine

29

13.

fish

111

39.

specialties

29

14.

spaghetti

106

40.

pizzas

28

15.

entrees

101

41.

retsines

27

16.

sweets

95

42.

varieties

27

17.

grilled

88

43.

for

26

18.

ouzo

78

44.

us

25

19.

and

75

45.

pies

24

20.

cooked

70

46.

fresh

24

21.

soups

67

47.

omelets

22

22.

meat food

65

48.

spit

22

23.

coffees

64

49.

carbons

20

24.

meze

59

50.

fried

20

25.

roasted

56

51.

drinks (rofimata)

20

26.

red

55

52.

special

20

Table 3: Frequency of menu-categories

In total, 489 different words results from the menu-categories analysis. 243 out of 489 words appear more than 2 times in the sample.

Number of Categories

Number of menus with the particular number of categories

6

60

5

58

4

57

7

52

8

46

3

41

9

33

10

31

11

29

13

23

14

14

12

11

16

10

15

8

21

5

19

5

17

5

2

5

23

3

20

3

24

2

18

1

Table 4: Results of the arithmetic analysis

As far as the arithmetic results are concerned, the minimum number is 2 categories and the maximum one is 24 categories. 80%, of the menus, consists of 3 to11 categories. On the other hand, 20%, of the menus, consists of: 2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24.

The characterization of the profile’s words, that consist the menu-categories, is completed in 17 different ways. Finally, the main percentage of the word-profile was characterized as «categories» (38.2%) and the second biggest one as «subcategories» (26.6%).

Order

Categorization

Appearances

Percentage

1.

category

232

38.1579

2.

subcategory

162

26.6447

3.

characterization

75

12.3355

4.

dish

57

9.3750

5.

drink

17

2.7961

6.

clause

14

2.3026

7.

adverb

10

1.6447

8.

verb

9

1.4803

9.

quantity

7

1.1513

10.

drink

5

0.8224

11.

location

4

0.6579

12.

number

3

0.4934

13.

conjunction

3

0.4934

14.

preposition

3

0.4934

15.

pronoun

3

0.4934

16.

letter

3

0.4934

17.

ingredient

1

0.1645

Table 5: Results of word profile analysis

Special categories results indicate that Greek businesses seem to rarely offer these kinds of food- categories. To be more specific, only 1.6% out of 502 menus has a special category as well as 8 words out of 489 consist a special one.

Special Categories

Appear. Number

Regimen

2

Diabetic

1

Fasting

2

Vegetarian

3

Table 6: Special Category Results

The majority of the words that are used in menu-categories have Greek origin (87.1%). However, there is an important percentage of other language on the origin of some words (12.9%). It seems that is quite usual to use foreign words in Greek menus.

Order

Word Language

Appearances

Percentage

1.

Greek

426

87.1166

2.

other

63

12.8834

Table 7: Language of menu-categories

From the law of averages, the combination of «salads-appetizers» and «appetizers-salads» have the biggest probability to appear together in a menu-category-title (0.68% percentage).

As far as the menu-items are concerned, the most common ones are appeared below:

feta cheese

934

sauce (with..)

264

vinegar

150

broccolli

113

shrimps

703

olives

257

tomato sauce

149

with honey

113

mushrooms

702

pork chop

249

oregano

148

dolma

112

fried cheese

595

spaghetti

248

salmon

148

with cheese

108

beef steak

570

cola

244

shrimps fried cheese

148

with ice cream

106

souvlaki

535

squid

233

patatosalata

143

grilled

105

octopus

409

meat balls

230

risotto

143

salad (with..)

103

sausage

395

from tomato

228

fava

143

virgin olive oil

102

choriatiki

391

anchovy

227

with sauce

140

(cooked) in the oven

99

wine

382

coca cola

225

kebab

138

chef’s salad

92

tzatziki

352

Greek salad

200

sardine

138

staffed with

87

French fries

345

florina

167

baked feta cheese

138

fried zucchini

87

Chicken fillet

341

chicken with

166

sepia

130

with tomato

85

tenderloin

332

pork souvlaki

163

moussaka

122

chef’s

84

with sauce

324

beef steak

162

hooch

121

with mushrooms

81

ouzo

310

tsipouro

160

ntakos

119

with sauce from

81

zucchini

300

tirokafteri

160

butter bean

116

salad of

79

mussels

297

aggourotomata

157

sour cream

116

salt pepper

70

greens

294

cod

157

swordfish

115

chop pork chop

63

ribs

291

tomato and

154

taramosalata

115

beef steak staffed

52

veal (chop)

279

chicken souvlaki

153

zucchini balls

114

pork chop veal

52

lamb

267

barbecued

152

orange juice

114

a la crem

51

ice creams

265

braised

151

soda

114

yogurt with honey

51

pork chop veal chop

50

Table 8: Most common menu-items

The above results are mentioned to the one word results that appear more than 110 times and to the 2, 3, 4 word phrase results that appear more than 50 times (according to Greek words results).

According to the above mentioned results, 22 dishes, 3 Greek alcohol drink and 3 desserts are chosen and commented nutritionally and gastronomically.

Creation of the typical Greek menu

According to results of the research, the indicated menu-category number is 6 categories, because the greater percentage of the menus obtains this number. We choose the 10 first results of menu-categories and we combined them into pairs. Finally, we create 6 menu-categories for the typical menu. However, it is necessary to add the “drink” category in the “refreshments-beers” one. To continue with, we decided to include single word dishes and 2, 3, 4 word phrase dishes that appear more than 50 times and desserts with over than 30 appearances. We do not include the “fish” category because it is not a priority according to results, but it is a necessary category when we refer to fish-tavern. The Typical Menu is presented to a lesser order:

Conclusion

The registration and analysis of the Greek menus interests the Greek Tourism Sector. In this research, we study the Indirect Demand. Lots of similar researches could be conducted in order to study the Law of Supply-Demand and to improve the writing processes of menu, which is an important marketing part of a catering business. Nowadays, menu is more important than before, especially for businesses that have websites. In this case, customers firstly come into contact with the menu and afterwards with the space of restaurants and the staff. Also, throughout this study, we end up to some probable outdoor nutritional choices for Greeks. This part of the study has a great scientific interest for the Science of Nutrition.

To be concluded, businessmen use a variety of words for their businesses names, which is also a marketing part of a business. Also, 80% of the menus have 3 to 11 menu-categories, a limited number, maybe in order to facilitate customers’ choices. Furthermore, the main language of a catering business’ menu is Greek. There is a small but remarkable tendency for foreign languages to embed into Greek gastronomy. As far as special categories are concerned, regimen, diabetics, vegetarian and fasting categories are the great minority of them. That may be cause there is a limited demand for that kind of categories, or else businessmen do not want to invest money in order for this categories to be included in the menus.

Results, from menu-items, reveal some interesting key-points for a catering business. In the first 80 words, we can find 16 red meat dishes, 7 fish and 6 seafood ones. This could play an important role on how much Greek people prefer red meat than other kind of animal protein. Moreover, in the first 80 dishes, we find 10 salads and specifically Choriatiki (Greek salad), greens, egg plant sauce, beet salad, lettuce salad, cucumber-tomato salad, potato salad, broccoli salad, tuna salad, ceasar’s. In the first 80 words, the alcohol drink that appears most frequently is wine, followed by ouzo, tsipouro, beer and retsina. The most frequently appeared dessert is ice-cream, followed by halva and yogurt with honey, as well as the most frequently appeared coffee is espresso, followed by cappuccino and frappe. Greek coffee appears significally fewer times than espresso. Finally, we have to underline that in the first 120 dishes, we find 11 ethnic foods (Turkish, Italian, American, and Russian). It seems that there are many foreign elements that have been penetrated into Greek gastronomy.

Limitations

Data Analysis Program: “Online Text Analyzer” could be replaced from another tool that will not create confusion of certain single words. Because of that, we may have interpreted wrongfully some dishes. However, we corrected the confusion to a great extent by using the 2, 3, 4, 5 word phrase tables of the Program. Furthermore, the different business categories do not equally take part in the research. This might have influence some results, especially for the most frequency appeared menu-items. Finally, we missed some data, because of the exclusion of Greek catering businesses that were available only in foreign languages. We recommend further research in this topic, taking into consideration all the limitations that have mentioned.

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[1] Department of Nutrition-Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece

[2] Department of Nutrition-Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece

[3] Department of Nutrition-Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece

[4]GNTO: Greek National Tourism Organization

[5] Gross Domestic Product