Common Catering - The Market Hall

Date 1926–1927
Code Z4
Address náměstí Práce 1099, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: náměstí Práce (TROL 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, BUS 31, 38, 70)
GPS 49.2229297N, 17.6617856E
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For decades, Baťa operated canteens, offering its employees relatively cheap food. From the commencement of teaching at the Baťa Labour Schools in 1925, its male students, and after 1929 also female students, ate together with other employees. They had lunch from noon, dinner after 5 pm, and additionally breakfast before seven o'clock in the morning if there was not a dining room in the boarding house.
The first modern dining room, which was also attended by young employees, was established in the building of today's Market Hall. Originally the building was called the Department Store and kept this name until the opening of the more distinctive neighbouring building of the same name. In addition to the interiors of the Market Hall, diners also used the outdoor garden and public benches in the adjacent park for refreshments during the summer months. Many settled on the grass with food. Some employees continued to use canteens located inside the factories.
Unlike adult workers, young women and young men were essentially dependent on canteens. The meals were paid for by special meal vouchers, the value of which was taken regularly from their wage account. The established system increased the dependence of juveniles on corporate catering: if the Baťa school students would rather eat elsewhere, this was not possible – they did not have the disposable income to pay for other meals.
Modern life necessitated a rationally designed diet that increased the quality of life and at the same time created an average, normal consumer with measurable eating habits, which were thus adaptable to the needs of the whole, and that the business could plan for economically. The content of the diet would change according to the availability of food and with regard to the prevailing expert opinion on nutrition. After World War I, state-authorised dietitians compiled food lists according to their nutritional value. Their aim was to avert famine and to replenish as effectively as possible the energy of workers whose work performance was crucial to the war effort. Increasing demands on the physical performance of the worker prompted both the authorities and the management of industrial companies to consider the question of nutrition more deeply, and this new field of science expanded its scope. Baťa started to measure calories and vitamins in the 1930s - it was common practice to report the caloric value of a meal on a menu.
Moulding the desired eating habits was part of the education of the “industrial man”. The diet had to consist of warm food, and be rich in animal protein. This requirement reflects the relatively rapid transformation of eating habits. After the First World War, when there was a lack of food, the selection and composition of lunches in the Baťa canteen were modest. The flour diet predominated: flour was a common part of main courses and side-dishes, used as a thickener. The aim was to feed. After the mid-1920s, when the war shortages abated, the variety of supply and the quality of ingredients increased.
To boost the performance of a man employed in industry, two cooked meat dishes a day (lunch and dinner) were prescribed. From around 1930 onwards, you would have struggled to find a protein-free meal on the daily menu. At this time, the canteen menu provided 5 meals a day: breakfast, morning and afternoon snacks, lunch, and dinner, with the latter two being the main focus of the canteen’s menu. In terms of nutrition, the emphasis was on breakfast and dinner. The transformation of eating habits is illustrated by the promotion of a hearty English breakfast with eggs and sausages, a meaty lunch and dinner, the popularisation of the regular drinking of fat milk and cream, and a novelty for refreshment: an oatmeal yogurt.