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When you hear the word “restaurant,” you get a general image in your head of a specific dining environment. A large space containing an assortment of tables and booths with a large kitchen nearby and perhaps even a bar. Many restaurants resemble this general layout so having this be the first thing you think of isn’t surprising. However, when you think about it, not all dining environments take on this design. The layout of a Five Guys is vastly different from that of a steakhouse. The reason for this distinction – among many others – is that there are different types of restaurants.

Each category is indicative of the different prices, service levels, and dining experiences. As a restaurateur who plans on building their own establishment, there are a wide variety of options available to you. In fact, the ones in this article are only a handful of choices.

Fine dining

Fine dining restaurants provide upscale meal experiences that consist of numerous courses. These types of restaurants aim to create a trendy atmosphere that conveys sophistication and class. These establishments usually operate as a franchise in order to reach broader appeal. However, they sometimes operate as a single location to boost their image of elegance.

In a fine dining environment, you need to impress the guests with more than just grade-A cuisine and food plating. You need to also offer an upscale atmosphere, complete with outstanding service, exquisite lighting arrangement, and appropriate music.

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Casual dining

Casual dining makes up a large part of the restaurant industry. These establishments cover both local restaurants to sizable franchises. The defining features of these restaurants include table service and sit-down meals. For the most part, there is a theme, ambiance, and a specific brand of decor that enforces a unique dining experience.

Casual dining consists of décor that is based on the type of food served and has a relatively low-key atmosphere. Moreover, customers are served at their table. The best way to describe casual dining is that it falls between fine dining and the “fancy” side of fast-casual (i.e. a combo of fine dining and fast food).

Fast food

Fast food restaurants are among the most recognizable types of restaurants. They are a quick-service restaurant (QSR) that makes low-cost food quickly and serves it from either a counter or drive-through. A lot of fast food chains have international locations and some are big names worldwide.

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Cafés are beverage-focused establishments that serve coffee, tea, and a small food menu. These types of restaurants typically provide counter service and have low to moderate prices. Their design must be equal in visual appeal and functionality. Specifically, as a mobile office, a social meeting location, or a spot for leisure.


Pubs are one of the most popular types of restaurants. Thanks to an increase in fondness for craft beer, breweries have seen a rise in popularity. In the beginning, they were just bars. Over time, pubs menus would expand to include food items along with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Because of the upbeat atmosphere and diverse menus, pubs will often provide full table and bar services along with other features. These include TVs to watch sports on, casual interior design, and games (pool, darts, etc.).


A family-style restaurant, as the name suggests, caters mainly to families with children. However, groups of friends are also common guests at these establishments. The atmosphere is largely easygoing, creating a friendly environment for families. Family-style restaurants share similarities with casual dining. The main difference is that servers deliver the food in large dishes. From there, the patrons serve the food for themselves and pass them along to other people at the table.

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Questions to ask regarding the types of restaurants

After deciding on what type of restaurant you want to construct, there are still some questions you need to answer.

  • Which type will see the most success in your area? One of the primary focuses of opening a restaurant is location, location, location.
  • Who is your target audience? Demographics are a key component in deciding on which type of restaurant to build.
  • What is your budget? Lacking a budget plan is a one-way ticket to overspending. To learn about the costs of opening a restaurant, read Restaurant Construction Costs: What to Expect.

Once you have ironed out the details regarding business and design, you can start bringing the restaurant to life. If you have any questions or comments, contact us here BUILD IT’s contact info. Moreover, if you want to learn about the requirements of the process, check out Restaurant Construction Checklist.