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10 Types Of Restaurants: The Complete Guide For Potential Owners

Chef preparing food in an empty restaurant

If your dream is to be an owner or manager of a food-service business, understanding the options available to you — the types of restaurants you can open — is an essential first step in your success.

The restaurant industry bases its classification system on a number of variables, including:

  • Menu style
  • Preparation method
  • Pricing
  • Seating options
  • Means by which the food is served to the customer

In this article, the restaurant-management experts at Sling introduce you to the most common types of restaurants so you can plan your business accordingly.

Common Types Of Restaurants

Fine dining area as one of the types of restaurants

1) Fine Dining

Fine dining restaurants offer diners an upscale meal experience often comprising several courses (e.g., salad, appetizer, entree, dessert).

These types of restaurants try to create a stylish atmosphere that speaks of elegance, exclusivity, and class.

Fine dining establishments can operate as a franchise for broader appeal or as a single location to increase their sophisticated image.

2) Casual Dining

Casual dining types of restaurants usually share the following characteristics:

  • Customers are served at their table
  • Food offerings are moderately priced
  • Atmosphere is low-key
  • Decor is often unique and based on the type of food served

As a general rule, casual dining restaurants fall between fine dining and fast casual on the “fancy” spectrum.

3) Fast Casual

Food from a fast casual type of restaurant

Fast casual restaurants cater to customers who are looking for fare that is relatively quick yet, at the same time, healthier than fast food and more affordable than a casual dining establishment.

As such, fast casual types of restaurants offer quality food, counter service (as opposed to table service), and a more casual, contemporary style and decor.

4) Ghost Restaurant

A ghost restaurant (a.k.a. virtual restaurant, delivery-only restaurant, online-only restaurant, or dark kitchen) is a food-service business that serves customers exclusively through phone orders, online orders, or both.

In a virtual restaurant — as the name rightly suggests — the majority (if not all) of the business is conducted via computer, tablet, or smartphone.

A ghost restaurant doesn’t have a traditional storefront with decor, signage, and a large dining room. Instead, this new business model only requires a kitchen and delivery drivers.

5) Family Style Types Of Restaurants

A family style restaurant is similar to the casual dining model mentioned above with one significant difference: servers deliver the food in large dishes and customers then serve the food for themselves and pass it to other diners at the table.

These types of restaurants often have a more relaxed atmosphere than the fine dining and casual dining models and cater to families with children or groups of friends.

6) Fast Food

Fast food is the most widely recognized type of restaurant thanks to franchise chains like Taco Bell, Burger King, and KFC.

Fast food restaurants attract diners because of their price, convenience, and speed. Because of this focus, ingredients in fast food restaurants are usually preheated or precooked (though not always).

Food is then delivered over the counter — or through a drive-thru window — and customers seat themselves.

7) Food Truck, Cart, Or Stand

Food trucks, carts, or stands are unique modern businesses that normally specialize in a single type of food (e.g., tacos, sandwiches, hot dogs, ice cream, smoothies, etc.) and serve a limited menu that revolves around those items.

They are generally categorized together with fast food restaurants because the focus is on speed. Additionally, seating options may be sparse or even non-existent.

8) Cafe

Man working at a table in a cafe

Cafes are characterized by outdoor seating, an unhurried atmosphere, and the loyalty of their repeat customers. Offerings include coffee, tea, pastries, small items for breakfast or lunch, and a small sampling of desserts.

Diners order food at the counter, pay on the spot, and serve themselves, so the cafe model does not require a large staff.

Turnover in cafes is usually low, and customers may work or socialize for long periods of time.

9) Buffet

Buffets are an extension of the family style restaurant where customers are provided a selection of food at a fixed price.

Guests serve themselves and can return to the buffet as many times as they want.

The buffet concept lends itself well to specialty cuisine, including pizza, Indian, Chinese, “home cooking,” and breakfast foods, although this is not a prerequisite.

10) Pub

Two people sitting at the bar in a pub type of restuarant

Pubs have a long tradition of being the place to go when you need to unwind and enjoy a beer or other alcoholic beverage at the end of a long day.

At first, they were little more than bars. But, in modern times, pubs have expanded their menus to offer food items and full meals as well as beer, liquor, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Because of the wide range of fare and the festive atmosphere, pubs typically provide full table- and bar-service as well as casual decor, games (e.g., darts, pool, etc.), televisions for sports, and possibly even a dance floor.

Effective Scheduling Is Essential For All Types Of Restaurants

Sling's scheduling feature

As long as you have employees, organizing your team and keeping them on task is vital for the success of your business — regardless of the type of restaurant you choose.

Effective scheduling is the key to that organization.

Restaurants of all kinds — from traditional brick-and-mortar establishments to virtual restaurants and everything in-between — are discovering the simplicity and value of all-in-one workforce management software like Sling.

Sling offers powerful and intuitive scheduling as well as a whole host of tools to help you optimize the way your business runs, including:

  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Built-in time clock
  • Labor cost optimization
  • Customizable reporting
  • Messaging and communication features
  • Task list
  • Geofencing

Scheduling conflict alert on Sling

Sling even boasts an onboard A.I. that offers suggestions and alerts to help you avoid double-bookings and scheduling an employee when they’ve requested time off.

Sling really is the easiest way to schedule and communicate with your team whether you operate a fine dining establishment, buffet, or pub.

Try Sling for free and discover just how easy it is to streamline your operations and keep your business on the road to success.

For more resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit today.

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