With thousands of restaurants across the US, – how do you stand out in this saturated market? Well, it all comes down to your restaurant concept. Hence why carving your niche is one of the first steps in opening a restaurant. From cafes to fine dining, your restaurant concept is the roadmap to the details in your new business. What’s going to make your restaurant special? To answer this, it’s important to know the most popular types of restaurants. From here, you can make sure the niche you choose is able to distinguish itself in the market.
With thousands of restaurants across the US, – how do you stand out in this saturated market? Well, it all comes down to your restaurant concept. Hence why carving your niche is one of the first steps in opening a restaurant.
From cafes to fine dining, your restaurant concept is the roadmap to the details in your new business. What’s going to make your restaurant special? To answer this, it’s important to know the most popular types of restaurants. From here, you can make sure the niche you choose is able to distinguish itself in the market.
Below, we’ll go over 11 types of restaurants, highlight examples, and show you how to decide your niche.
What are the different types of restaurants?
Here is a brief list overview of the 11 most popular restaurant concepts.
1. Fast Casual
A fast casual restaurant concept is the perfect blend of fast food and casual dining. It offers the ease and convenience of fast food, but with high-quality ingredients. Menus feature customized selections and more complex flavors. Because of this, there is a higher average meal price compared to fast food.
Fast casual has a friendly sit-down atmosphere but does not offer full table service. These restaurants are booming in popularity at a rapid rate. Some examples include chains such as The Buffalo Spot and Ike’s Love & Sandwiches.
2. Fast Food
Fast food is the most familiar type of dining concept in the US. Usually, these restaurants are chains like McDonald’s or Taco Bell. The restaurant industry refers to fast food places as quick service restaurants (QSR). QSRs focus is primarily on speed and convenience. Also, keep in mind it is more expensive to open a franchise versus an independent restaurant.
3. Casual Dining
A casual dining restaurant is a full-service restaurant with a fun, laid-back atmosphere. A few industry leaders are Applebee’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. Casual dining restaurants offer extensive affordable menus, often with alcohol, appetizers, and entrees. This makes the average check size higher than fast casual dining. Patrons are more likely to eat and spend more with wider menu options. Additionally, with full service, guests are greeted and sat by a host and then waited on by a server.
4. Fine Dining
Today’s fine dining restaurants offer an upscale ambiance and a high-end experience. This type of restaurant features precise attention to detail and exceptional service. With that in mind, fine dining typically has the most expensive pricing. Guests are paying for more than the food, they’re paying for the whole experience.
Restaurants at this level offer top-shelf wine, spirits, and food. Oftentimes there will be a formal dress code and fine dining etiquette enforced. Each fine dining restaurant is unique, providing something that others can’t – take The GrandView Restaurant for example (pictured below). The GrandView is a classic fine dining steakhouse overlooking the Santa Clara Valley. People come for the view and stay for the impeccable service.
5. Bars & Pubs
Bar and pub restaurants are known for having a wide variety of alcohol and a lively atmosphere. These are often associated with watching sports, playing games, and live music. The biggest difference between the two is that pubs offer table service while bars don’t. But, many bars do act as casual dining restaurants or pubs during the day. At night, it then turns into a bar with limited seating.
The most common types are Irish and British pubs. Check out Graham St. Pub & Patio for an eclectic menu of handcrafted cocktails and bites.
6. Contemporary Casual
This is the most recently developed concept, a branch off of fine dining restaurants. Contemporary casual restaurants are more popular in urban and metropolitan areas. What sets this concept apart from casual dining is that there is a focus on being a distinct brand. Concepts like organic and vegan cuisine can help build a contemporary casual restaurant. Locale Farm to Table Eatery is a great example of this. They have a passion for their community and supporting local farmers. This is how Locale differentiates itself as a contemporary casual restaurant.
Family-style dining is centered around sharing and creating connections. This type of restaurant concept stems from eating traditions around the world. For example, Filipino restaurant Villa Manila focuses on eating together with family-style dining. They offer Kamayan which is a Filipino tradition where people eat with their hands. It’s custom in their culture to be in a close-knit family and share dishes a la carte. Below, you can see a photo of what a Kamayan experience looks like.
This type of dining is a communal experience where guests serve themselves. Also known as “large-format dining” because the food is served on shareable platters.
8. Café or Bistro
A café or bistro restaurant is known for having an intimate and relaxed atmosphere. Many people enjoy going to these types of restaurants to work and socialize. Cafés specialize in coffee, espresso, tea, and small food items. Bistros are like cafés but may offer a wider variety of food options. Service in a café or bistro is over the counter and customers serve themselves when their order is ready.
By definition, a buffet is a meal made up of several dishes from which guests serve themselves. Buffets allow guests to choose from an array of food options at a fixed price. This type of restaurant is associated with “all you can eat” and features either one or many cuisines.
10. Food Trucks
The food truck concept is essentially a mobile restaurant. With limited space, it’s common for food trucks to offer a limited menu focusing on a specific type of food. Food trucks are unique because they have the ability to move and travel to customers. Check out our customer Bleu Duck Kitchen’s food truck. It’s called The Duck Truck and features gourmet hot dogs, burgers, and egg rolls.
Looking to test out a new restaurant concept without the long-term commitment? If so, a pop-up restaurant would be the perfect solution for you. This concept comes from supper clubs, also known as secret restaurants.
Pop-up restaurants are only open for a limited amount of time and are set up in the most unexpected places. They are a growing trend among chefs and consumers because of their unique style. The type of service delivered will depend on the restaurant’s theme.
How to Choose Your Restaurant Niche
Restaurateurs must identify a niche to keep up in today’s market. So, what is a niche and how do you choose it? A niche is a specialized segment of the market for a particular type of food or concept. The most profitable restaurant niches are high on demand and low on competition. Your niche is specific to you and it’s what sets you apart from the competition.
The first step in choosing your niche is evaluating the local market. Ask yourself questions like these:
- What kinds of restaurants already exist in my market?
- Is there a specific type of restaurant missing that consumers want?
- What style of restaurant would your market be best served by? Would another café be successful or is there a lack of fine dining restaurants?
This first set of questions will help you decide the type of restaurant you should pursue. From there, you can begin to narrow down what you want your niche to be.
Here are the top factors that will influence this:
- Target Market
- Customer Expectations
- Restaurant Branding
- Menu Offerings
As you think about these, continue to ask yourself – what can my restaurant provide that others can’t? You will need to do a thorough market analysis in your restaurant business plan. This will help you backup your restaurant niche and service concept.
The next step
Starting a restaurant of any kind takes organization and time. As you can see from above, there’s a lot of work that goes into the process of choosing your concept and niche. Use this information to help you take the next step towards opening your new restaurant.
Stay on track with our ultimate checklist for opening a restaurant. Download the free resource below to get started today!
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A niche is a specialized market segment for a particular type of food or concept. The most profitable establishments are niche restaurants, which are high on demand and low on competition. Your niche is specific to you and sets you apart from the competition.
For example, within the market for women's shoes are many different segments or niches. Shoes for vegan women would be a niche market, as would shoes for plus-sized women or shoes for nurses. Nearly every market can be further refined, or divided, by the specific needs and preferences of its constituents.
“Consider what makes your food and beverage product different from all of the others like it on the market. That is your niche. To be clear, it takes more than a great tasting product to pitch the supermarket buyer and then to get the customer to try your product, much less buy it again.
- Pet products.
- Home office equipment.
- Eco-friendly products.
- Health & Wellness products.
- Educational toys.
- Online course.
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.
These options include sit-down restaurants, buffet-style eateries, takeaways, and 'fast-food' dining.
- Business Services. The services used by business organizations to conduct activities are known as business services. ...
- Social Services. ...
- Personal Services. ...
- Banking. ...
- Insurance. ...
- Transportation. ...
- Warehousing. ...
What Business Category is a Restaurant? Restaurants, bars, and other similar businesses generally fall under the “food and drink” category within the hospitality industry, which falls under the broader service industry.
To identify your niche, begin by selecting the general market. Woodley said a good approach is to focus on an area where you are knowledgeable and then identify subtopics. D. Define an unmet or underserved need.
When someone tells you to “find your niche,” they mean you should find the very specific activity or position that sets you apart and in which you can find success or fulfillment.
Food is one of the best blog niches out there. According to this study from RankIQ the food niche is actually the best for making money as a blogger! There is a lot of money to be made blogging about food. Take a look at the food bloggers on my ultimate list of blog income reports and you will see what I mean.
What is a Niche Marketing Strategy? Designed to attract a specific subset of customers, a niche marketing strategy considers the narrow category into which your business falls. It focuses on a small group of buyers, instead of the broader market.
Your small business can't do everything and compete with everyone. That's why finding a niche is so crucial to your online success. Another reason that finding a niche is so crucial to a small business's success: it makes it far easier to describe to potential customers what you do and sell.
- Digital marketing.
- Blogging and making money online.
- Health and fitness.
- Personal finance and investing.
- Recipes and food.
- Personal development and self-care.
- Dietary Supplements. ...
- Diets & Weight Loss. ...
- Dental health. ...
- Survival. ...
- Women's Health. ...
- Spirituality, New Age, and Alternative Beliefs. ...
- Marriage & Relationships. ...
- Green Products & Alternative Energy.
- Think about your interests and passions.
- Solve problems for your audience.
- Carry out competitor analysis.
- Do keyword research.
- Assess your niche.
- Find your unique selling point.
- Test your idea.
Commercial hotels, restaurants, lounges, cafeterias, pubs, clubs, and bars. Non-Commercial establishments that run under contract.
Restaurants further differ as a result of each establishment's type, quality, and presentation of food. Type of Food: Menus may be based on a cuisine from a certain region, or they may solely feature innovations from the chef.
What is a restaurant concept? A restaurant concept is the theme that defines who you are as a restaurant. Restaurant concepts define the overall theme or idea behind a restaurant, including cuisine, service style, music, and menu design.
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|SMALL RESTAURANT (6)||BISTRO|
- (also cafe),
There are many different types of food and beverage service types or procedures, but the major category of the food service is 1) Plate Service, 2) Cart Service, 3) Plater Service, 4) Buffet Service and 5) Family style service.
High-end restaurant – Waiter service. Casual dining restaurant – Waiter service/semi-self-service/self-service. Fast food – Self-service/semi-self service.
Full service restaurant means a restaurant at which waiters and waitresses deliver food and drink offered from a printed food menu to patrons at tables or booths.
- Breakfast Menu.
- Brunch Menu.
- Luncheon Menu.
- Afternoon and High Tea Menu.
- Dinner Menu.
- Super Menu.
- Room Service Menu.
What Are The Five Types of Menus? The five types of menus most commonly used are a la carte menus, static menus, du jour menus, cycle menus, and fixed menus.
- All You Can Eat. These buffets offer plenty of food for your money. ...
- Cafeteria Style Buffet. ...
- Special Occasion Buffets. ...
- Catered Buffets. ...
- Healthy Buffet Concept.
Serve from a guest's left, using your left hand, and clear from their right, using your right hand. Cutlery crossed in an X means a person isn't finished with their plate. If the knife and fork are parallel, the guest is finished and you may remove their plate (assuming everyone else is also finished).
Many restaurants start out as sole proprietorships, which means the owners operate as individuals with no separation between personal and business finances. Partnerships are similar, with the main difference being that each partner is liable for the debts and obligations of all the other partners.
- People Skills.
- It almost goes without saying, but let's just get it out there: if you can't deal with people, the restaurant business isn't for you. ...
- Leadership Skills.
- A restaurant always has to be operating near peak efficiency. ...
- Financial Knowledge and Skill.
A restaurant serves food, both goods and services. Products that are not consumed as they are used will last longer before needing to be replaced.
When someone tells you to “find your niche,” they mean you should find the very specific activity or position that sets you apart and in which you can find success or fulfillment.
There is a debate about how you are supposed to pronounce niche. There are two common pronunciation variants, both of which are currently considered correct: \NEESH\ (rhymes with sheesh) and \NICH\ (rhymes with pitch). \NICH\ is the more common one and the older of the two pronunciations.
The most commonly provided etymology for the word niche unfolds as follows – niche (early 1600s) comes from the same word in French for a recess and ultimately from the French verb nicher (to make a nest) which came to French from Latin nidus (nest).
Lack of economies of scale.
Niche companies will not have the same economies of scale, and so it could lead to higher prices for consumers.
In simple words, single trade in what are you passionate about. It can be anything related to your personal life. You can be passionate about many things, but since the word niche has come up, you need to bring down your list to those particular hobbies that are something you like above all.
A niche skill is a specialized ability or expertise in a particular area. In the IT industry, niche skills can be anything from Cyber Security to Big Data analysis. Because niche skills are in such high demand, they often command a premium salary.
A niche helps you establish a loyal customer base.
A solid market niche helps ensure that specific customers will want to buy from your business instead of the competition. A niche allows them to identify your product and brand, and know that your offer suits their needs.
There are two major types of ecological niches - fundamental niches and realized niches. Ecological niches are important to the species occupying them, and the loss of a niche can have resounding impacts on an entire ecosystem.
A niche in the market is a specific area of marketing which has its own particular requirements, customers, and products.
Niche social media platforms provide a space for an online community to engage with like-minded users about a specific topic or industry.
Niche marketing is a highly targeted form of advertisement. With niche marketing, businesses promote their products and services to a small, specific and well-defined audience. Many organizations adopt this strategy to support an underserved population and reap the rewards of brand loyalty.
What exactly is Niche-Phobia, you ask? It's when you start sweating from every orifice once someone tells you that to get more clients, you need to market to one specific client group (e.g. overworked IT professionals) and offer only one product or service (e.g. Work-life balance coaching).
Your niche is your specialty. It's the topic, industry, or type of content you focus on as a freelance writer. Your niche will be an area that you have experience in, domain knowledge on, or are simply passionate about.
A niche market can be defined as a segment of consumers that share characteristics and, because of those characteristics, are likely to buy a particular product or service. The consumer characteristics you would examine fall under three main categories: demographic, psychographic, and firmographic.
- Reflect on your passions and interests.
- Identify customers' problems and needs.
- Research the competition.
- Define your niche and its profitability.
- Test your product or service.