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Restaurant Concepts to Inspire Your Own Design

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May 08, 2023

One of the most exciting aspects of starting a restaurant is coming up with your concept. As a new restaurateur, you get to decide if you want a breakfast-focused cafe or a fine-dining establishment. A restaurant concept communicates your restaurant identity—including your cuisine, service style, and menu. When opening your next foodservice establishment, consider which concept defines your brand and expertise.

9 Different Types of Restaurant Concepts

The average restaurant profit margin usually falls between 3 and 5 percent. Solidifying your restaurant concept and curating the perfect menu to match can significantly maximize your revenue and cultivate your restaurant’s brand.

If you are searching for your next restaurant concept, here are nine ideas to get you inspired.

1. Fast Casual

The fast-casual concept blends quick service with higher-end ingredients. Sometimes described as “upscale fast food,” fast casual dining establishments pump out meals quickly without cutting corners on quality. Diners can expect to find sustainable ingredients, plant-based menu items, organic produce, grass-fed beef, and more.

Fast casual restaurants tend to function more like fast food joints, so takeout is popular; however, there is typically also indoor seating offered.

Average Cost Per Person: $12

Service Style: Counter and takeout orders

2. Family-Friendly Casual

Family-friendly restaurants are geared towards food for the whole crew. This restaurant concept boasts menus for kids and adults and often has the atmosphere to entertain both.

Tables might be draped with paper tablecloths and crayons so kids can create their own artwork while waiting for their meal. Adults can take advantage of full bar options. With this restaurant concept, the options and opportunities are endless. Menus can have wide ranges and allow you to cater to guests how you would like. 

Average Cost Per Person: $15-$25

Service Style: Full-service

Average restaurant profit margin usually falls between 3 and 5 percent.

3. Fast Food

In 2021, quick-service restaurant sales reached $304.8 billion. While we might associate fast food with inexpensive meals made on the fly, the fast food concept is broader and more lucrative. At its core, “fast food” means grab-and-go eats meant to appeal to the masses. Everything from pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and global-inspired street food can fall under the fast food category.

Guests often find minimal seating in these restaurants, so delivery and takeout are the primary ordering methods.

Average Cost Per Person: $5-$10

Service Style: Counter, drive-through, and takeout orders

4. Cafe

Morning and lunch crowds flock to cafes for a strong cup of joe, pastries, and light lunches. During the early morning hours, owners might see large groups getting a pick-me-up before their busy day. Then a second influx of leisurely lunch-goers will stop in for soups, sandwiches, and salad.

Average Cost Per Person: $3-$11

Service Style: Counter

5. Pub, Brewery, or Cocktail Bar

Drinks are one of the main draws for a pub or bar-focused establishment. However, good eats and a fun atmosphere can bring even more patrons through the door. Classic items like wings, nachos, sliders, fries, and chicken strips pair well with a brewery or old-school pub vibe.

Taking modern twists on traditional pub grub or creating a more refined bar menu could work well with a high-end cocktail bar concept.

Average Cost Per Person: $5.00-$20+

Service Style: Full service and bar

6. Fine Dining

A fine dining restaurant exudes elegance, formality, and exceedingly high standards. The menu is well-curated, offering multiple course options—appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts. Prix fixe and tasting menus are popular in the fine dining concept. Diners expect an experience that is on par with the food.

Average Cost Per Person: $30-$50

Service Style: Full-service and bar

7. Food Cart

Mobile kitchens have come a long way in recent years and are becoming a strong presence in the restaurant industry. Food trucks can travel to nearby areas to capture new patrons or belong to a food cart pod. The overhead tends to be lower than a brick-and-mortar, plus food carts let future restaurant owners experiment with menu concepts. 

Average Cost Per Person: $7-$15

Service Style: Counter

8. Pop-Up

Like mobile kitchens, pop-up restaurants allow restaurateurs to test a menu concept with low start-up costs. Pop-ups are typically temporary and utilize unique spaces to create buzz.

Average Cost Per Person: Varies based on menu and concept

Service Style: Full-service

9. Ghost Kitchen

Ghost kitchens are virtual enterprises that focus solely on delivery. Chefs work out of a commissary kitchen and receive customer orders via mobile apps. None of the food is consumed for dine-in, so restaurateurs can save money by not having to spend money on dining ware or dining space. However, ghost kitchens need their own delivery or partner with third-party delivery companies.

Average Cost Per Person: Varies based on menu and concept

Service Style: Delivery

Build Your Brand with US Foods CHEF’STORE 

At CHEF’STORE, we offer business tools to help take your restaurant concept to the next level. 

We pride ourselves on providing exceptional products at competitive prices. Whether you are looking for quality meats and seafood, fresh produce, pantry goods, or beverages, we have them all and more! 

CHEF’STORE is here to help you make your restaurant a success! Stop by one of our nearby stores and see what we offer! You can also get ingredients and supplies delivered via our third-party grocery providers.

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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