Food courts consist of a number of vendors at food stalls or service counters. Meals are ordered at one of the vendors and then carried to a common dining area. The food may also be ordered as takeout for consumption at another location, such as home or work. In this case, it may be packaged in foam food containers. Food courts may also have shops which sell prepared meals for consumers to take home and reheat, making the food court a daily stop for some.
Food is usually eaten with plastic cutlery, and sporks are sometimes used to avoid the necessity of providing both forks and spoons. There are exceptions: Carrefour Laval requires its food court tenants to use solid dinnerware and cutlery which it provides.
Typical North American and European food courts have mostly fast food chains such as McDonald's and Sbarro, with perhaps a few smaller private vendors. Cuisines and choices are varied, with larger food courts offering more global choices. Asian and African food courts are mostly private vendors that offer local cuisine. In Singapore, food courts and hawker centres are the people's main eating choice when dining out.
Common materials used in constructing food courts are tile, linoleum, Formica, stainless steel, and glass, all of which facilitate easy cleanup.
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