Looks like the French are trying to redefine the term '"restaurant." A new proposal, to be put to parliament this month, would redefine the term "restaurant" as a place that serves food only prepared from scratch in-house, using raw materials.
This means that only eateries that make everything in-house can use the term "restaurant" in their name or marketing. The amendment would hopefully ban restaurants from serving "boil-in-a-bag" or microwave-ready meals and selling them as "restaurant-quality cuisine," AFP reports.
While we may hope that restaurants are all serving "from-scratch" meals, it turns out that 31 percent of French restaurants were passing off pre-packaged food products as their own cooking, a recent Synhorcat study says. (The practice is probably common stateside as well, for example with Amy's Baking Company). On a larger scale, this also means fast-food giants like McDonald's may not be able to call themselves restaurants any longer in France.
Exceptions to the law will be made for products like bread, charcuterie, and ice cream, AFP reports, but already the amendment is garnering opposition thanks to business owners who claim it will drive up costs, create confusion with the public, and diminish job opportunities for young adults. But lawmakers are hoping the proposal will help elevate traditional restaurants over those hoping to make a quick buck; a similar law limited the term "bakery" in 1995 to places that made bread and pastries from scratch, boosting the businesses and reputations of traditional bakeries.