Your Guide to the Different Types of Restaurants

by Deputy Team, · 9 minutes
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Your guide to the different types of restaurants

If this blog caught your eye, then you must be a fan of food! Who doesn’t enjoy dining out at that new restaurant that just popped up downtown? With Americans eating out more than ever, the number of restaurants is booming. This is great news, especially if you are looking to pursue your dreams of opening up a restaurant or if you’re just a foodie in general.

These days, the average person has a variety of restaurant options to choose from. However, that means competition for the next new restaurant trend is higher than ever. Consumers are younger and more digital-savvy than previous generations. Gen Z and Millennials trust online review sites and social media for recommendations on where to eat. Catering to the needs of your consumers is critical for the success of your business. Ask yourself the following questions when deciding on what type of restaurant to open:

  • What type will most likely be successful in your area?

    • Opening a restaurant is all about location, location, location. Make sure you choose the type of restaurant that will be successful in the area you plan to open shop.
  • What is your budget?

    • Without a budget plan, chances are, you will overspend. Read this blog to learn how much it will cost to open a restaurant.
  • Who is your targeted audience?

    • Demographics are important to think about when choosing the type of restaurant to open. Identifying the ideal consumer will help you choose the right location that’s easily accessible to them.
  • Who will I need on my team?

    • Even in the early stages, it’s important to begin interviewing potential restaurant staff. Figure out how many employees you will need and their job functions.

If you are considering opening a restaurant, check out the following list of the different types of restaurants. Knowing what type of restaurant to open is the foundation for your business plan and will help you choose things like your theme, menu, and how you will market your restaurant.


Fast Food/Drive-thrus

Fast food restaurants are the most commonly known type of restaurant. According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania have the most total fast food locations. Normally, these are restaurants where the food is cheaper, ordered at a counter, and almost always served in a to-go bag. These restaurants also usually include a drive-through for fast and convenient customer service. Some of these chains go a step further and are open 24/7 or at least available late night.

Your Guide to the Different Types of Restaurants

Opening up a fast food restaurant is still a popular entrepreneurial dream. There are many factors to consider when opening up a fast food restaurant. Buying a franchise of an already established fast food company can benefit your success in the long run. Franchises like Wendy’s or Taco Bell already have an established brand with an engaged audience.

If you are considering a fast food restaurant, make sure you gather all the information you need in order open one. In many cities and states, new scheduling requirements and laws for fast food restaurant are currently being implemented. Failing to adhere to these laws could result in hefty fines. The team here at Deputy have created a downloadable eBook for fast food owners to reference in order to stay in compliant with the law. To learn more, download Deputy’s eBook on these predictive scheduling laws and how your business can stay compliant below:

Download Predictive Scheduling eBook

Fast Casual

This type of restaurant is a hybrid of fast food and casual dining. Fast casual restaurants are becoming increasingly popular in many areas. According to market research from Euromonitor, fast casual dining has grown by 550 percent since 1999, making the fast casual a $21 billion a year industry.

Fast casual restaurants usually have disposable or eco-friendly dining ware and healthy food options with an open kitchen setting. Normally, the food and ingredients used here will be of a higher quality than at fast food restaurants. Having healthy options served at a face pace is what consumers want; making fast-casual restaurants highly desirable.

Your Guide to the Different Types of Restaurants

Restaurants in this category make up some of the fastest growing chains in the country. Chains like Chipotle, Shake Shack, and Au Bon Pain are all examples of this category. Should you follow suit and open a fast casual restaurant?


Sports Bars

Sports-themed bars are a popular choice because a sports bar already has a strong customer base: sports fans! These consumers prefer a restaurant where they can socialize and watch their sporting events. They expect top quality video and audio systems at sports bars. Sometimes, these types of restaurants also offer entertainment beyond TVs, such as pool, darts, and even video games.

Your Guide to the Different Types of Restaurants

When designing your sports bar concept, visit other sports bars in your area and take note of what you think they do well and what they could improve on. Make sure you come up with a menu and drink list that will suit your customers such as traditional American food. In sports bars, the food is a secondary consideration, but it doesn’t hurt to offer a wide variety of food options. If you need inspiration of what types of drinks to offer at your sports bar, check out this list of the liquors and drinks every bar should serve.

If you are thinking about opening a sports bar, it’s also important to have the correct permits such as a business license, liability insurance, food permits, and even a liquor license. This is one of the significant costs of opening the bar, so make sure to budget everything out accordingly.


Casual Dining

Customers look to casual dining for quality food at an affordable price. These types of restaurants are usually family-style establishments with a lengthy menu to offer something for everyone. Chains of casual dining restaurants include Olive Garden, Chilis, and the Cheesecake Factory. However, during the year of 2016, these types of restaurants suffered more than any other type of restaurant. In fact, the year saw a 2.4% drop in same-store sales.

However, many of these chain restaurants are changing up their marketing strategy in order to increase sales. Companies like Chilis are revising their menus to focus on their core offerings such as fajitas or ribs as well as offering healthier choices. TGI Fridays have also taken measure to attract customers. TGI Fridays added online ordering to their website and other delivery services like GrubHub. Because of that, they were able to increase their takeout sales by 30%, with 70% of their online orders coming from new customers.

Your Guide to the Different Types of Restaurants

Choices like these reflect the intense competition that casual dining restaurants face. With the increase in popularity of organic and healthy food options, more customers are drawn to fast casual dining restaurants. If you are thinking about opening a casual dining restaurant, make sure you research the location and consumer demographics before opening shop.


Fine Dining

Just as the name implies, fine dining is a more upscale restaurant that offers exceptional customer service and high-quality food. The atmosphere of fine dining restaurants is usually formal with sophisticated and romantic decor like dim lights and crisp white tablecloths. These type of restaurants can also sometimes require a formal dress code as well as a reservation.

Opening up this type of restaurant requires a lot of attention to detail, but those details can pay off in the long run. Besides the decor, customer service and the quality of food are extremely important traits of fine dining restaurants. It’s crucial to train your restaurant staff on dining etiquette such as how to respond to rude customers or mistakes in the kitchen. It’s important for your restaurant staff to look their best and show up on time. For best practice, try out an employee scheduling tool to track and manage your employee’s shifts as well as their time off. You don’t want to be short on staff, especially in a fine dining type of restaurant that relies so much on customer service. Give Deputy a try by signing up for a free 30-day trial. Sign up for a free trial here

Your Guide to the Different Types of Restaurants

As for the food, any fine dining restaurants feature a seasonal menu or mix a standard menu with nightly specials. Using organic and local ingredients also adds posh and sophistication to your menu. Consider partnering with a local farm or vendor to not only show your customers that you support the community, but that you also care about where your food comes from.


Pop-up Restaurants

A growing trend in the food and restaurant sector are pop-up restaurants. These temporary eateries operate in unexpected places, like on top of a rooftop or in an old warehouse, for a limited time. They are also an excellent opportunity for new and upcoming chefs to showcase their skills or to test something new before investing in a permanent restaurant.

There are a lot of things to figure out when you’re putting together a pop-up restaurant. The first place to start is to decide on a concept or theme. You can create the menu off of the theme and test out your new ideas with your customers. The location is also something to consider when deciding on the concept. Providing an environment that reflects your food and theme entices and excites customers. However, the most important aspect of your pop-up restaurant is how you promote the event. Make sure to establish a social media presence on platforms like Instagram, and alert customers through email and notifications. If your pop-up restaurant is a success, it can very well become an established restaurant in the future.


Food Trucks

Opening up a food truck has the same opportunities as it would be to open up a brick and mortar restaurant, just without the high costs. Food trucks are basically restaurants on wheels. Its common to find food trucks at festivals, parks, and on the side of the street.

Food trucks have many advantages to traditional restaurants, but finding a location for your food truck is more difficult than one would think. You may also find it difficult to identify specific food truck requirements, it all depends on your city. Do your research to figure out how many permits are required and where you can park your truck.

Your Guide to the Different Types of Restaurants

A food truck can be a great investment. In fact, food trucks are only increasing in popularity. According to The Economist, more than 4,000 food trucks are operating around the country, averaging six-figures worth of yearly sales. However, most of the successful food truck owners reported that they had to work 60-hour work weeks. While this type of restaurant is fun to run, it’s no easy task. For a step-by-step guide on opening your first food truck, check out this blog.


Invest in Your Restaurant

Today’s restaurant operators have a lot on their plates. Between the dinner rush, managing employees, and calculating inventory, running a restaurant isn’t for the faint of heart. Streamlining restaurant operations can greatly improve your business. In fact, many restaurants are choosing to rely on restaurant management software to avoid risking human error when calculating payroll or even staying in compliance when scheduling staff.

By simplifying scheduling, timesheets, tasks, and workplace communication, Deputy can transform business operations. To learn more, set up time with one of our reps for a customized demo to see it in action.

Bon Appetit!

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