In the following article we have prepared a summary of the most popular, most important and most profitable types of restaurants. Depending on the location and competition, these types of restaurants can be very profitable business ideas and a great investment.
In this article you will also find definitions of the most important types of restaurants, descriptions of the most common menu offerings and also examples of places other than restaurants where you can order ready-made food.
TYPES OF RESTAURANTS
1. Casual dining restaurant
A casual dining restaurant is a type of restaurant that offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that typically includes a variety of moderately priced, popular foods. Such restaurants often have a casual dress code and they are usually more laid-back than fine dining establishments, but still provide table service. Casual dining restaurants can be found in a variety of settings, including stand-alone locations, shopping centers, and hotels.
2. Fast casual restaurant
A fast casual restaurant combines the convenience and speed of a fast food restaurant with the quality and atmosphere of a casual dining restaurant. These restaurants typically offer a limited menu that is made to order, using fresher ingredients and more complex flavors than traditional fast food restaurants. They also often have a more upscale atmosphere, with a focus on cleanliness, design and atmosphere. Customers typically order at a counter, but the food is brought to the table. Fast casual restaurants are often considered a step up in quality and price compared to fast food restaurants, but less formal than casual dining restaurants.
3. Fast food restaurant
A fast food restaurant is a type of restaurant that specializes in serving food quickly, often using a limited menu, standardized ingredients, and quick-service methods such as pre-prepared items, drive-thru service or self-service ordering. These restaurants often have a casual atmosphere and are known for their affordability, with meals typically priced at a lower cost than those of casual dining or fast casual restaurants. Fast food restaurants are often located in high-traffic areas, such as shopping centers, highway rest areas, and other busy locations.
4. Premium casual
A premium casual restaurant is characterized by offering a more upscale dining experience than a traditional casual dining restaurant, but with a less formal atmosphere and a more moderate pricing than a fine dining restaurant. These restaurants generally have a more refined atmosphere and decor, with a focus on quality ingredients, unique menu items, and a higher level of service than fast casual restaurants. They often have a diverse menu and may have a bar area with a more elevated drink menu. Premium casual restaurants may also offer a more upscale atmosphere than a casual dining restaurant, with a focus on design and ambiance.
5. Fine dining restaurant
A fine dining restaurant is a type of upscale dining establishment that offers high-quality food, impeccable service, and a formal atmosphere. The menu usually features a variety of gourmet dishes, often with a focus on a specific type of cuisine, and is often accompanied by an extensive wine list. The service is typically attentive and formal, with guests being greeted by a maître d’hôtel, and a team of waitstaff providing table service. Fine dining restaurants generally have a dress code, and the prices are generally higher than casual dining restaurants. The goal of fine dining restaurant is to provide an exceptional dining experience that includes high-quality food, attentive service and luxurious atmosphere.
A pizzeria is a type of restaurant that specializes in making and selling pizza. Pizzerias typically offer a variety of toppings and crust styles, and may also serve other Italian-inspired dishes such as salads, pasta, and desserts. Pizzerias can range from casual, take-out or delivery-focused establishments to upscale, sit-down restaurants. They are popular around the world and considered as a casual dining option.
7. Pop-Up Restaurant
A pop-up restaurant is a temporary restaurant that is set up for a limited time, often in a unique location or for a specific event. Pop-up restaurants may be set up by established chefs or restaurateurs looking to test out new concepts, or by up-and-coming culinary talents looking to gain exposure. They can be found in a variety of locations, such as food trucks, vacant storefronts, or outdoor spaces, and may offer a unique culinary experience or a specific theme. Pop-up restaurants are gaining popularity among food enthusiasts, as they offer a unique and often limited opportunity to try new and exciting dishes and culinary trends.
8. Diner restaurant
A diner is a type of restaurant that typically serves American cuisine, including breakfast dishes, sandwiches, and comfort foods such as burgers and fries. Diners are often casual, family-friendly establishments that have a retro or nostalgic aesthetic, often featuring counter seating and booths. They are often open late, and some are even open 24 hours a day. Diners are known for their friendly service, casual atmosphere and comfort food. Often times it is a popular spot for locals and travelers alike for a quick and affordable meal.
A pub, short for public house, is a type of establishment that serves alcoholic beverages, typically including beer and wine, along with a selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Pubs are often characterized by a casual atmosphere and a focus on socializing and conversation. They may also serve food, and may feature live music or other entertainment. Pubs have a long history in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and have also become popular in other countries, including the United States and Canada. They are often considered a staple of local communities, where they serve as a gathering place for locals to socialize, relax and unwind.
A steakhouse restaurant is a type of dining establishment that specializes in serving high-quality cuts of beef, typically cooked to order on a grill or in a broiler. Steakhouses often have a casual or upscale atmosphere and may feature a variety of other menu items, such as seafood, salads, and sides. They are popular among meat lovers and considered as a luxury dining option. An example of a well-known luxury steakhouse is the Nusr-Et owned by Salt Bae.
11. Barbecue restaurant
A BBQ restaurant is a type of dining establishment that specializes in serving dishes prepared using barbecue techniques (e.g. smoking, grilling, and roasting). These restaurants typically offer a variety of meats, such as pork, beef, chicken, and ribs, as well as sides, such as coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread. BBQ restaurants can range from casual, family-friendly establishments to upscale, fine-dining establishments, and they often have a laid-back atmosphere. They are popular in the southern US and considered as a casual dining option.
12. Family-style restaurant
A family-style restaurant is a type of dining establishment that serves large portions of food, meant to be shared among multiple people at the table. These restaurants typically have a casual atmosphere, and the menu may feature a variety of dishes, including classic comfort foods and home-style cooking. Family-style restaurants are often popular with families and groups of friends, and they may also offer take-out or delivery options.
A bistro is a type of small, casual restaurant that typically serves simple, traditional French fare. Bistros typically have a cozy and intimate atmosphere, and often feature a rustic, unpretentious decor. The menu in a bistro usually focuses on hearty, comforting dishes such as steak-frites, coq au vin, and ratatouille, often accompanied by a selection of wines. Bistros are often considered less formal than fine dining restaurants and they usually don’t require a reservation. They are usually open for lunch and dinner and some of them open for breakfast. Bistros have become popular around the world, and are often considered a great spot for a casual, affordable meal with friends and family.
14. Burger bar
A burger bar is a type of restaurant that specializes in serving hamburgers, typically made with beef, as well as other variations such as chicken, veggie, or turkey burger. Burger bars often have a casual atmosphere and may offer a variety of toppings and condiments for customers to customize their burgers. Some burger bars may also serve additional menu items such as French fries, onion rings, and milkshakes. They may also offer take-out or delivery services. Some of the burger bars have a bar that serves various types of drinks.
15. Vegan restaurant
A vegan restaurant is a type of dining establishment that specializes in serving plant-based food, which means no animal products, including meat, dairy, eggs and honey are used in any of their dishes or drinks. Vegan restaurants serve a variety of dishes made from fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and other plant-based ingredients. These restaurants often cater to individuals who follow a vegan lifestyle, as well as those who are interested in trying plant-based food options. Vegan restaurants are becoming increasingly popular due to the rise in awareness of the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and the growing concern for animal welfare and environmental sustainability. They often offer a wide variety of options that can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
16. Prepare it yourself restaurant
A prepare-it-yourself restaurant, also known as a DIY restaurant, is a type of dining establishment where customers are responsible for preparing their own food. This is often done by cooking raw ingredients over a grill or stove, or by assembling pre-prepared ingredients in a self-serve format. These restaurants are often buffet-style, where customers can choose from a variety of ingredients and toppings to create their own meals. Some examples include Mongolian BBQ, Hot Pot and Korean Barbecue. DIY restaurants are gaining in popularity because they offer a unique dining experience and allow customers to customize their meals to their own taste preferences. They also provide a fun and interactive way to enjoy a meal with friends and family.
17. Automated restaurant
An automated restaurant is a new type of dining establishment that uses technology, such as automation and robotics, to streamline operations and improve efficiency. This can include the use of robots for tasks such as cooking, serving, and cleaning, as well as digital systems for ordering and payment. Such robotic restaurants typically don’t have any humans working, and customers interact with self-service kiosks, touch screens or robots to place orders, receive updates on the status of their dishes and finalize transactions. More and more such restaurants (like this one) are already appearing on the market, although it is estimated that it will take several to a dozen years before such restaurants become more poular and common.
18. Sushi restaurant
This is another of the most popular types of restaurants, which focuses on serving traditional Japanese sushi dishes. Sushi restaurants often have a minimalist aesthetic, with clean lines and traditional Japanese decor. They may also have a sushi bar where customers can watch the sushi chefs prepare the dishes. Some sushi restaurants also feature traditional Japanese seating, such as low tables and floor seating. In addition to sushi, many sushi restaurants also serve other Japanese dishes such as tempura, udon, and ramen. Some sushi restaurants also offer a wide range of sake and other traditional Japanese beverages to complement the meal.
A buffet is a type of restaurant service where customers serve themselves from a variety of dishes set out on a table or counter. The variety of dishes can include different types of food, such as salad, appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Buffets typically offer a wide variety of dishes, allowing customers to sample a variety of different foods. Buffets may be self-service or have servers to assist customers. They are often used for large groups, parties, events and holidays. Buffet service allows for a flexible and casual dining experience, where customers can choose their own portions, and come back for more if they wish. Some buffets may also have a fixed price for all-you-can-eat, while others may charge per dish.
A cafeteria is a type of food service establishment in which customers serve themselves food from a counter or buffet. Cafeterias typically offer a wide variety of foods, including hot entrees, soups, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. The customers usually pay for the food before eating it. The atmosphere is usually casual and self-service oriented. Cafeterias are common in schools, hospitals, office buildings, and other institutional settings, as well as some airports, train stations and other public places. They offer a fast and convenient option for people who are looking for a quick meal and are often used by people who are short on time or looking for a budget-friendly option. In some countries, they may also be found in shopping centers and other retail locations.
21. Greasy spoon
A greasy spoon is a small, informal restaurant that typically serves traditional American diner fare, such as burgers, fries, and eggs. The term “greasy spoon” refers to the fact that the food is often cooked with a lot of oil or butter, and the restaurants are known for their simple, unpretentious atmosphere. They often have counter seating and may be open 24 hours a day. Greasy spoons are often popular with anyone looking for a quick, inexpensive meal and they are often found in working-class neighborhoods and near truck stops or highways.. They are also known for their friendly and casual atmosphere and simple, classic menu.
22. Tabletop cooking
A tabletop cooking restaurant is a type of restaurant where customers cook their own food on a table-top grill. The grill is usually built into the table and is powered by gas or electricity. Customers are typically served raw ingredients such as meat, seafood, and vegetables, and then cook them to their liking on the grill. This type of restaurant is popular in many Asian cultures, and is often called “Korean BBQ” or “Japanese Teppanyaki” depending on the origin of the cuisine. They are known for the interactive cooking experience and the ability to control the level of doneness of the food. The atmosphere is usually lively and social, with a casual and relaxed atmosphere.
23. Teppanyaki-style restaurant
Teppanyaki-style restaurant is a type of Japanese restaurant that features a style of cooking where the chef prepares and cooks the food on a large, flat iron griddle (teppan) in front of the customers. The chefs are often highly skilled and put on a show with their cooking techniques such as flipping and tossing food in the air. The menu typically includes items such as steak, seafood, and vegetables, which are cooked in front of the customers. The atmosphere is lively and interactive, and the chefs often engage with the customers while cooking. The name “Teppanyaki” comes from “teppan” meaning iron plate and “yaki” meaning grilled. This type of restaurant is also known as a “hibachi” restaurant which is a term refers to the traditional Japanese heating device used to cook food.
24. Molecular gastronomy restaurant
A molecular gastronomy restaurant is a type of fine dining restaurant that utilizes the principles of molecular gastronomy in the creation of their dishes. This type of cuisine involves using scientific techniques and equipment to manipulate the texture, flavor, and appearance of food to create unique and often unexpected dishes. The chefs in these restaurants use a range of techniques such as foaming, spherification, and vacuum-packing to alter the traditional form of food and create new flavors and textures. The dishes are often visually stunning and focus on presentation and service. The atmosphere is often upscale, with a focus on elegance and refinement. The chefs of molecular gastronomy restaurants are often highly trained and well versed in the science behind the food they are creating.
25. Food truck
A food truck is a type of mobile restaurant that serves food out of a truck or van. Food trucks typically serve a variety of street foods, such as sandwiches, tacos, hot dogs, and other items that can be easily prepared and served from a mobile kitchen. They are typically found in urban areas and are popular at events such as festivals, fairs, and street markets. Food trucks have gained popularity in recent years, as they offer customers a convenient and often cheaper alternative to traditional sit-down restaurants. They offer a great deal of flexibility and can change their menu, location and hours of operation depending on the demand, seasonality or events. Food trucks are also known for their creative and unique menu items, and often cater to specific cuisines or dietary needs.
26. Mongolian barbecue
A Mongolian barbecue restaurant is a type of restaurant that serves a style of cooking known as “Mongolian hot pot” or “Mongolian grill”. This style of cooking involves grilling meat and vegetables on a large, circular grill, usually made of metal. Customers typically select their own ingredients and then watch as they are cooked by the chef. The finished dish is often served with a variety of sauces and can be enjoyed with rice or noodles. The atmosphere is usually casual and lively, with an open kitchen where customers can watch the cooking process. Mongolian barbecue restaurants are quite popular in Asian countries, and also in many other countries around the world.
27. Mexican restaurant
A Mexican restaurant is a type of restaurant that serves traditional Mexican cuisine, which is known for its rich flavors and use of spices such as cumin, chili powder, and oregano. The menu typically includes dishes such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tamales, and fajitas, as well as various types of salsa and guacamole. The restaurants may also serve popular Mexican beverages such as margaritas (cocktails) and cervezas (beers). Mexican restaurants are particularly popular in North America and are one of the most popular cuisines of choice in the United States.
28. Wine restaurant
A wine restaurant is a type of restaurant that places a strong emphasis on wine, offering a wide selection of wines to complement the food menu. The wine list typically includes a variety of wines from different regions and grape varieties, and the staff is often knowledgeable about the wines and can make recommendations to customers. Many wine restaurants also offer wine tastings, wine pairing with meals and wine-making classes or events. The atmosphere is often upscale and refined, with a focus on elegance and sophistication. The menu often includes dishes that complement the wine selection and many of these restaurants have a sommelier on staff who can assist with selecting the perfect wine to pair with a particular dish. Wine restaurants are a great option for those who enjoy wine and are looking for a dining experience that combines great food with an extensive and diverse wine selection.
29. Restaurant & bakery
A restaurant and bakery is a food establishment that serves both baked goods and meals. The restaurant portion typically offers a variety of menu items, such as appetizers, breakfasts, entrees, and desserts, while the bakery side specializes in baked goods, such as breads, pastries, and cakes. Some restaurants may also have a bakery on-site or offer baked goods for purchase in addition to their regular menu items.
30. Indian restaurant
An Indian restaurant is a type of food establishment that specializes in serving Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine is known for its diverse flavors, and an Indian restaurant menu can include a wide variety of dishes such as curries, biryanis, tandoori dishes, dosa, and naan. These dishes are often made with an array of spices and herbs such as cumin, turmeric, ginger, and coriander. The dishes are also characterized by the use of ghee, coconut milk, yogurt and tamarind. Indian cuisine is also known for its vegetarian options, and Indian restaurants often have a selection of vegetarian dishes made with lentils, beans, and vegetables. Desserts such as Kheer, Ras Malai, and Jalebi are also offered. Indian restaurants can range from casual to fine-dining depending on the location and atmosphere.
A gastropub is a type of restaurant that combines the casual atmosphere and menu of a pub with the high-quality, innovative food and drink offerings of a fine-dining establishment. Gastropubs typically offer a menu of modern and creative dishes, made using high-quality ingredients and often featuring an eclectic mix of flavors and culinary techniques. The menu usually includes elevated pub fare such as artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, and hand-crafted cocktails, as well as more sophisticated options such as seafood and steak dishes. Gastropubs also typically have a wide variety of craft beers, wines, and spirits on offer, and often focus on locally sourced and specialty ingredients. The atmosphere of a gastropub is typically relaxed and casual, with a focus on comfortable seating and a lively, social atmosphere. Gastropubs are often considered to be a great spot for groups and parties.
32. Sandwich bar
A sandwich bar is a type of food establishment that specializes in serving sandwiches. These can be made with a variety of breads, meats, cheeses, and other ingredients, and can be served in different ways such as toasted, cold, hot, and so on. Sandwich bars often have a counter or display where customers can see the ingredients and make their selections, they may also offer a variety of side dishes such as soups, salads, and chips. Some sandwich bars also offer breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, and other snacks. Many sandwich bars also have take-out and delivery options. Sandwich bars are quick service and convenient options for people looking for a quick meal on the go.
33. Seafood restaurant
A seafood restaurant is a type of food establishment that specializes in serving seafood dishes. These can include a wide variety of fish and shellfish, such as salmon, shrimp, crab, lobster, and oysters, as well as other seafood items like clams, mussels, squid and scallops. These dishes may be prepared in different ways such as fried, grilled, sautéed, steamed, or raw. Some seafood restaurants may also serve non-seafood items such as steak, chicken, and salad. They often have a menu that changes seasonally to reflect the availability of the freshest seafood. Some seafood restaurants may also have a raw bar, where customers can order raw seafood items such as oysters, clams and shrimp cocktail. Seafood restaurants are often considered upscale dining options and can range from casual to fine-dining depending on the location and atmosphere.
34. Italian restaurant
This is another of the most popular types of restaurants, which is characterized by serving Italian cuisine. These can include a wide variety of dishes such as pasta, risotto, pizza, meat, seafood and vegetable dishes that are typical of Italian cuisine. These dishes are often made with fresh, high-quality ingredients such as tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and Parmesan cheese. Italian restaurants often have a menu that includes classic dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, fettuccine Alfredo, and Margherita pizza. Some Italian restaurants may also feature regional specialties such as Neapolitan-style pizza or dishes from specific regions of Italy such as Sicilian seafood or Tuscan steak. Desserts and wines are also usually offered. Italian restaurants can range from casual to fine-dining depending on the location and atmosphere.
35. Ice cream parlor
An ice cream parlor is a type of food establishment that specializes in serving ice cream and other frozen desserts. They often have a counter or display where customers can see the different flavors and make their selections. Ice cream parlors often offer a variety of ice cream flavors, as well as toppings, cones, and other desserts such as sundaes, milkshakes, and floats. They may also serve other frozen desserts like sorbet and gelato. Some ice cream parlors also offer ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches and other frozen treats. Some ice cream parlors are also known for their unique flavors, homemade ice cream, or specialties such as soft serve ice cream. They are often considered a casual and fun spot for people of all ages to enjoy a sweet treat on a hot day or any day.
36. Mediterranean restaurant
A Mediterranean restaurant is a type of restaurant that serves food inspired by the cuisines of Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Lebanon, and Turkey. These restaurants often feature a wide range of dishes that include fresh seafood, grilled meats, and a variety of vegetables and herbs. Mediterranean cuisine is known for its use of olive oil, herbs, and spices, as well as its emphasis on healthy, flavorful, and well-balanced dishes. These restaurants often feature a variety of appetizers, called mezze, such as hummus, baba ghanoush, and dolma (stuffed grape leaves), as well as main course dishes such as moussaka, kebabs, and paellas. Mediterranean restaurants may also offer a selection of wines and beers from the region.
37. Micro restaurant
A micro-restaurant is a small, usually independent food establishment typically offering limited menu items, often with a focus on innovative or specialty cuisine. Such restaurants are designed for quick service, takeout, and delivery. Micro-restaurants often have a compact design to maximize space and minimize overhead costs, allowing for creative and unique menus, unique dining experiences, and quick service. They are often located in urban areas to cater to a high-density population. The concept of micro-restaurants has gained popularity in recent years, as consumers seek convenience and diversity in their food options.
38. Deli restaurant
A deli restaurant is a type of restaurant that specializes in serving deli-style sandwiches, salads, and other prepared foods. The term “deli” is short for delicatessen, which originally referred to a type of food store that sold cooked meats, cheeses, and other prepared foods. Deli restaurants often have a counter or display case where customers can see the various deli meats, cheeses, and other ingredients that are available for their sandwiches. They often offer a wide variety of cold cuts, cheeses, spreads, and condiments, and they may also serve hot sandwiches, soups, and side dishes. Some deli restaurants also offer catering services, and they may have a selection of grab-and-go items such as pre-made sandwiches, salads, and snacks. Deli restaurants are often casual, fast-paced and perfect for quick and convenient meals.
39. Organic restaurant
An organic restaurant is a type of restaurant that focuses on using organic, healthy and sustainable ingredients in its dishes. These ingredients are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organic restaurants may also prioritize sourcing ingredients from local and small-scale farmers and producers, in order to support the local economy and reduce the environmental impact of transportation. Some organic restaurants may be certified by organizations such as USDA National Organic Program, and they may also use organic and sustainable practices in other areas of their operations, such as energy and waste management. In addition to providing healthy and eco-friendly options, organic restaurants aim to provide an overall sustainable dining experience.
40. Ghost kitchen restaurant
A ghost kitchen, also known as a virtual kitchen or cloud kitchen, is a type of restaurant that operates solely for the purpose of preparing and delivering food through online and app-based food delivery services. Ghost kitchens do not have a physical storefront or dining area for customers, and instead focus on maximizing efficiency and minimizing overhead costs by preparing food in a central kitchen space and fulfilling orders through delivery platforms. Ghost kitchens can also share kitchen space with other ghost kitchens or restaurants and operate under multiple brands, thus it’s called multi-brand ghost kitchen. They are becoming increasingly popular as more consumers turn to online food delivery services, and can be a cost-effective way for restaurants to expand their reach and increase revenue.
Other popular types of eateries & restaurants:
- Tapas bar
- Food hall
- Roadside diner
- Micro-restaurants: -These are tiny, take-out only restaurants that specialize in one or two dishes, and often have no seating.
- Hot pot restaurant
- Cruise ship restaurant
- Restaurant on a ship or barge
- Brewery restaurant
- Beer halls
- Tourist oriented restaurant (in local style, serving local delicacies)
- Vegan cafe
- Farm-to-table restaurant
- Tex-Mex restaurant
- New American restaurant
- Asian fusion restaurant
- Subscription based restaurant – A restaurant model where customers pay a monthly or yearly fee for access to exclusive dining experiences, special events, and other perks.
- Sports bar (e.g. Irish sports bar)
- Restaurant in the dark – ideal for a blind date
- Dining car or restaurant car
- Hot dog stand
- Banquet hall
- Restaurant with a view – e.g. restaurant with a beautiful seaside or mountain view
THE MOST POPULAR ETHNIC RESTAURANTS
Ethnic restaurants owe their popularity in part to the fact that a lot of people love to explore new cultures and cuisines. Exotic flavors excite many people. Such restaurants are a great way to break the routine and have an interesting experience. For these reasons, ethnic restaurants are in high demand and are often a very profitable business idea. The most popular types of ethnic restuarants include:
Read also: Top 30 Products to Sell at Restaurant in 2023
And do you know any other important types of restaurants? Share your opinion with us in the comments section below!
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