Can you name all the different types of restaurants? If not, let me walk you through the list of 19 eatery categories. I bet some are totally new to many of you.
When it comes to restaurants, many people refer to somewhere where you can sit down and enjoy the food served by waiters or waitresses on the premises. In fact, several other restaurant segments are based on the preparation or serving methods or menu style.
Therefore, restaurants are not only about fine or casual dining, buffet, or fast food restaurants. So what exactly are they? Keep rolling the page for more wonderful insights.
Table of Contents
10 Popular Restaurant Categories That You Might Have Tried Before
This section will cover 9 well-known types of restaurants that I think some of you have experienced at least once. Each kind has distinctive ways to offer food or the different atmosphere on the premises while enjoying victuals.
|Restaurant Types||Main Characteristics|
|Bars and Pubs|
1. Fine Dining
A fine dining restaurant is a high-end style where you can experience upscale foods and drinks in a sophisticated place. This is the fanciest kind of eatery, which means the price you have to pay for dining here is much higher than other styles.
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At fine dining, you can enjoy the food made from the highest quality ingredients. The food preparation and plating techniques are also fussy and detailed, regardless if they are entrees, appetizers, main courses, or desserts.
This category also offers various top-notch wines or spirits. Moreover, it is not only about the food; the exceptional full-service is what you will receive here.
With fancy decor, professional service, and high-class food, some restaurants have certain rules, like dress code, when eating here. Overall, if you do not mind the hefty price, fine dining is a perfect place to enjoy your meals.
If you still wonder why fine dining is so costly, here is the answer that you are looking for.
2. Casual Dining
Casual dining (aka sit-down restaurant) might be the most common type to many people. This establishment undoubtedly accounts for a big marketplace in the industry. Generally, they offer a wide range of food menus (from food to drinks) at medium price points.
Their menu might be higher in price compared to fast food restaurants, but it is still affordable. In addition, what you can also get at casual dining is a laid-back ambiance and full table service.
The decor themes vary based on the foods they serve there. Some ideal examples of famous casual dining are The Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, and more.
As the name suggests, the family-style eateries highlight the family orientation to offer them the best atmosphere to eat out with beloved people.
Though it is a kind of casual dining, these restaurants often serve food in big portions on platters so customers can serve themselves.
When dining at these places, you can experience food in comfortable and casual environments with various great-value food selections.
In short, they are a favorite restaurant style for both adults and children. You can throw your kids’ birthday parties, weekend diner, or any party for special occasions here.
The all-you-can-eat buffet is where you can enjoy plenty of food selections without worrying about the price since this restaurant style offers a fixed price point. A buffet can satisfy your cravings from breakfast to dinner, American to other cuisines.
Indeed, it has been a favorite category among diners. You can choose whatever food you like and fill up your plates how many times you want. Some common dishes you can find here are salads, soups, hot entrees, main dishes, and desserts.
Therefore, people can hardly walk out of the buffet restaurant’s door with an empty tummy. The buffet decoration is also different. Overall, it features a cozy place to dine in where you do not have to wait too long to enjoy food.
Check out what dos and don’ts before eating at the buffet here.
5. Fast Food
One of the easiest recognized segments in today’s topic is fast food establishments. KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, etc., are some of the biggest chains you can find worldwide.
Indeed, fast food plays a certain role in dining habits among consumers, thanks to its lower prices and speedy service, making them more accessible and convenient. Moreover, these eating places are also known as quick-service restaurants.
You cannot order food right at the table in these eateries. Instead, the staff only takes your orders at the counter (or electronic terminals).
After quick preparation, they will deliver food packages right over the counter or drive-through window that you can enjoy on the go or right on the premises (but less common). The menu is also standardized with fixed fare in various franchises.
6. Fast Casual
Fast casual restaurants are the best combination of fast food and casual dining. Like the fast food segment, you can enjoy the meals more conveniently.
However, fast casual’s food items tend to have better quality components than fast food chains’. These food establishments also offer customizable meals (even alcoholic drinks), so their price points are higher than fast food ones.
In contrast, fast casual prices might be slightly lower than casual dining. You can still enjoy the meals in restaurants or take out, but they do not deliver the full-table service. The best brand names, in this case, are Panera Bread or Chipotle Mexican Grill.
7. Bars and Pubs
Bars and pubs are popular places the youngers love to go to unwind and chill after a long working day. The similarity between these two is they both offer drinks (primarily) and food, but there are differences too.
Bars specialize in hard liquor, while pubs mostly offer a wide range of beer or cider. And some pubs have a long list of food menus and more choices for non-alcoholic drinks as well.
Most pubs provide full-table service, whereas bars do not. Overall, when hanging out at these places, you can feel the festive vibes with nice decor.
Some places also offer big-screen television for watching sports or even the dance floor. Therefore, the price range of bars and pubs varies.
When it comes to cafés, many people refer to a cozy place that mostly offers drinks like coffee in different styles, such as latter, espresso, cappuccino, or tea. They can be hot or iced, based on your order.
Actually, many café stores sell hot breakfast/lunch or other light food items like sandwiches, pastries, or desserts, at very reasonable prices.
Some cafés have outdoor seating, making them more enjoyable. Some high-end cafés might cost more money, but whether it is a regular or luxury ones, they are perfect places for socializing.
Diners are informal and small-scale restaurants you can spot across America, Canada, and some areas in Western Europe.
At the diner, services are both served at your table/booth by the waitstaff and direct service that you can receive at a sit-down counter.
This type of restaurant supplies made-to-order food and drink items that you can enjoy in a casual and comfortable atmosphere.
10. Food Truck
Simply put, food trucks are restaurants on wheels that you can easily find at outdoor festivals, parks, or on the street. They are a crowd’s favorite kind of eatery and play a significant role in the street food industry.
The menu prices of this segment are typically low because the food truck business does not require high investment costs as regular brick-and-mortar versions. Therefore, the food truck has become even more popular as it can be a promising startup for young people.
Ice cream, burgers, sandwiches, etc., are typical items you can buy at food trucks. Other dishes in different cuisines are also sold in these restaurant-on-wheels, such as Indian, Mexican, and Asian.
Here is a short documentary about one working day in a New York City food truck.
Other Restaurant Styles Over The World
The constant changes in consumers’ perceptions regarding food consumption strongly impact the serving style of restaurants to meet customers’ needs. Here are some other eating establishments that many of you might not have known.
Though they are less common than the 9 options above, these styles are still worth exploring, especially if you want to open one.
|Restaurant Types||Main Characteristics|
|Brasserie and Bistro|
|Teppanyaki-style||Diners can sit around the teppanyaki grill and watch the chefs cook their meals in front of them|
11. Premium Casual
This is a premium version of casual dining that derives from Western Canada. Some famous names in this segment are JOEY, Cactus Club Cafe, and Moxie’s in this country.
Premium casual is a new trend in dining and is typically located in city centers or upscale regions. This eating establishment has also developed in other countries like America or the United Kingdom.
Overall, this style is somewhere between fine dining and casual dining, where you can experience superior service and delicious treats in a great ambiance.
Of course, premium casual’s price is the average price of fine and casual dining, so you will not feel the pinch in budget.
12. Brasserie and Bistro
First, both brasserie and bistro are French terms to indicate a small and informal French-style restaurant. Let’s break them down into more specific insights.
Brasserie means brewery. It is a brewing business that produces its own beers, and also supplies food. The signature dish in the brasserie is steak frites. Compared to bistros, the brasseries’ menu is more diverse. Regarding the ambiance, these places can be a bit noisy with old-school designs.
On the other hand, a bistro (aka bistrot) is a Parisian-based restaurant style that serves simple yet comforting dishes (like stew or casserole) at affordable prices. You can order coffee or wine at bistros as well. Overall, they feature simplified and continental menus.
For more information, bistros in the USA have delicate decors with fewer tables. Their food is higher in quality, and obviously, the price is higher too!
13. Pop-Up Restaurant
The highlight of pop-up restaurants is their temporary characteristic, particularly in location. So if you spot a cool pop-up restaurant, you should try it right away as they might not be there the next day.
The cuisine and dining environment of these businesses vary depending on the theme that pop-up restaurants choose. They might look like a giant tent or locate in an old warehouse or building. Some of them are mobile restaurants as well.
They often appear at city food festivals or events. In reality, pop-ups do not cost too many expenses, making them an ideal business for testing and showing the chefs’ skills before they want to open a full-service restaurant.
Is it possible to open a pop-up restaurant in 24 hours? Click here for more interesting information.
Do not mistake the cafeteria with café as they are totally different in terms of definitions, seating structure, number of staff, and even atmosphere.
A cafeteria (or canteen) is a kind of restaurant offering self-service with no waiting staff. You can easily spot it in a school, college, or office building. There is a large section of food, and they are ready-cooked ones sold behind the long counter.
What the diners have to do at the cafeteria are line up, choose their favorite food, and place them on the tray. The price can be charged based on per food/drink product or by weight. Some also offer a fixed price that is somehow similar to a buffet.
In terms of the ambiance, the cafeteria looks like a food court filled with many small tables and chairs so the customers can sit down and consume their meals.
15. Destination Restaurant
The term “destination restaurant” might sound unfamiliar to some people. Actually, they are simply eating places with a strong reputation that can attract consumers from other areas, so they are willing to visit a particular destination for the dining experience.
Today, foodie tourism is no longer a strange concept. Besides the main purpose of traveling is going sightseeing, finding a great place to enjoy food is also essential to make your trip more worthwhile. Under this circumstance, destination restaurants can make sure of it.
The highlight in destination restaurants can be the skillful head chef, the attractiveness of food preparation, or the profound history of this dining location. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of them have been established for a long time.
16. Teppanyaki-Style Restaurant
Teppanyaki restaurant delivers a unique way of food serving which diners can sit around the teppanyaki grill and watch the chefs cook their meals in front of them.
What is teppanyaki? It is a Japanese cooking style with a big iron hotplate so the chefs can grill the food over it. For more information, the term “teppan” means iron plate, and “yaki” means grilled.
Many chefs at these eateries are well-trained to do other tricks while preparing customers’ dishes, maximizing the diners’ entertainment and satisfaction. Common tricks are onion volcano, egg juggle, and impressive knife/spatula handling.
This review will show you how skillful the teppanyaki chefs are.
17. Mongolian Barbecue
Another Asian-style restaurant is Mongolian barbecue. These eateries are quite similar to teppanyaki grill ones as diners can watch their food cooked on a large griddle.
Mongolian barbecue is a Taiwan-origin dish cooked with the stir-frying method. Many restaurants in this segment are all-you-can-eat buffets that allow customers to choose their favorite ingredients at the buffet station.
After that, they will transfer the ingredients for the cook to process their meals, which will ultimately be served on a plate or a bowl.
18. Contemporary Casual
Like a ghost kitchen, contemporary casual is also a new type of restaurant where customers can experience nice and high-quality dishes in a trendy and vibrant atmosphere.
They are mainly located in urban or metropolitan areas. The brand image is one of the critical factors contemporary casual restaurants focus on to attract young diners. That’s why the chef also emphasizes the visual of the food and the restaurant.
Contemporary casual features modern culinary trends (like craft beer and fusion cuisine) and society concepts (such as eco-friendly food packages, local ingredients, etc.). Therefore, the price point is somewhere between casual and fine dining.
19. Ghost Restaurant
Ghost restaurant? Sounds quite creepy, right? This is just a new restaurant category operating without a storefront. It means that you cannot visit and enjoy food on the premises. Instead, the restaurant only takes orders via apps or phones.
It is also known as a delivery-only or virtual restaurant. As they do not have a traditional dining room or too many staff, ghost restaurants run on lower expenses. Hence, the price range is relatively affordable, but it still depends on what kind of food they offer.
After ordering your food, you can come there to pick up orders. Some restaurants also provide delivery services, and the fee is based on the order. And the best example of a ghost kitchen operation is DoorDash.
Ghost kitchen is a new concept in the restaurant industry that many people can give a shot at.
What Is Your Favorite Style Of Restaurant?
Restaurants are diversifying in categories based on the serving method, food that they offer, and price range. You can enjoy your dishes right on the premises or take them away to eat at home.
Lastly, I hope you have gained enough knowledge to differentiate different restaurant categories. If you want to open one, this article also offers a foundation view about them so you can choose which one to start.
If you find it useful for your future reference, please click like and share. And do be shy to share your opinion in the comment section if you still have other concerns or thoughts regarding these types. Thank you!