Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

HOSP1001: Orientation to the Hospitality Industry (Buckley): Restaurant Industry

Types of Restaurants


Buffets allow guests to customize their dining experience by providing an array of options to choose from. Some are referred to as "All You Can Eat" restaurants, and most feature a theme, such as buffets that specialize in Chinese or Indian food. Below are common characteristics of a buffet:

  • A selection of food at a fixed price
  • Food on buffet bars from which guests serve themselves
  • Modest to extensive selection (might include salad, soup, appetizers, hot entrees, dessert, and fruit)
  • Could feature one cuisine or multiple
  • Usually a casual, yet elegant decor
  • $$


Whether you need a quick cup of coffee on your way to work or are catching up with an old friend, cafes provide a versatile space for different purposes. Most cafes have the following attributes:

  • Usually serve coffee, tea, pastries, and small items for breakfast and lunch
  • Casual, relaxed atmosphere
  • Many people might work or socialize for periods of time at a cafe
  • $-$$

Casual Dining

The ambiance of casual dining restaurants varies greatly based on the brand and intended customer base, but most share the following qualities:

  • Moderately-priced menus
  • Table service
  • Low-key atmosphere
  • Unique decor
  • $$

Contemporary Casual

Recently, contemporary casual restaurants have emerged. These types of eateries are modern and trendy with a distinct brand. Many follow eco-friendly protocols and serve unique, healthy food options featuring fusion cuisine.

  • Usually table service
  • Modern casual yet trendy atmosphere
  • Emphasis on visuals with Instagram-worthy decor and food presentation
  • $$-$$$

Family Style

Some family style restaurants only feature shareable platters. Other restaurants offer a family style option along with the option for individual dishes. Below are common attributes of a family style restaurant:

  • Food served on large platters for parties to share
  • Table service
  • Guests typically pass around the dishes and serve themselves
  • Many boast a casual atmosphere, though upscale family style restaurants exist as well
  • $$-$$$$

Fast Casual

There is a rising number of fast casual restaurants that cater to people looking for a quick bite that's healthier than fast food but more affordable than sit-down, casual restaurants. Most fast casual restaurants have the following characteristics:

  • Quality of food and prices are usually higher than fast food but lower than casual dining
  • Counter service
  • Casual, contemporary environment and decor
  • $-$$

Fast Food

You're likely familiar with the most popular fast food restaurants, like McDonald's and Taco Bell. Below are the characteristics shared by most fast food places:

  • Focus is primarily on quick service
  • Counter service or drive-thru
  • Usually a chain and serves standardized meals made of processed food
  • Casual ambiance
  • Food served in disposable items, like plastic containers, paper food trays, and to-go bowls 
  • $

Fine Dining

Most of the population might only visit high-end establishments for special occasions, such as an anniversary, birthday, or wedding. The majority of fine dining restaurants can be characterized by the following:

  • Formal dress code and fine-dining etiquette 
  • High-end decor and a formal atmosphere
  • Staff members are generally more attentive and follow certain etiquette for taking and serving meals
  • Menus may feature exotic or interesting dishes and ingredients
  • Some fine dining restaurants have sommeliers to help you with food and wine pairings
  • $$$-$$$$

Food Trucks and Concession Stands

Food trucks and concession stands can take various forms. This might be your city street falafel food truck, your baseball game hot dog stand, or your organic burger food truck. Food stands and food trucks are convenient options, as owners purchase a small unit (food truck or stand) instead of a larke brick-and-mortar space. While the range of food types and quality of food differs, most food trucks and concession stands share the following characteristics:

  • Normally serve a small menu of a singular type of food (hot dogs, ice cream, sandwiches, smoothies, etc.)
  • These are normally outdoors at sporting events, fairs, or on city streets
  • Food is partially or fully pre-made
  • $-$$

Ghost Restaurant

Ghost restaurants are also known as virtual restaurants or delivery-only retaurants. Ghost restaurants minimize overhead costs, so owners and chefs can focus on efficiency and developing quality culinary creations. They have more flexibility to alter their menus, as they don't need to change physical copies and only need to update their online websites. Most ghost restaurants have the following features:

  • Delivery only
  • Partner with third-party delivery services, like Grubhub or UberEats
  • No brick-and-mortar location
  • Range of food types
  • Strong website and social media presence
  • $$

Pop-Up Restaurant

Pop-up restaurants, bars, and stands are a new trend that allows owners, chefs, and guests to try new food and restaurant concepts and creations. Pop-up restaurants can be anything from a beer garden only open for the summer to a sit-down restaurant in an unconventional location that's briefly open for a month or two. Below are some of the qualities of a pop-up food concept:

  • Operates temporarily from a few hours to a few months
  • The location varies from shipping containers and old unused buildings to outdoor spaces and rooftop gardens
  • Creative, contemporary concept
  • May include counter service, food stand or food truck service, or full table service
  • Depend on technology and social media to spread the word
  • $$-$$$



Industry Trends

The Rise of Online Ordering

  • According to the National Restaurant Association, three in five U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout at least once a week.
  • Delivery sales could rise an annual average of more than 20 percent to $365 billion worldwide by 2030, from $35 billion according to investment bank UBS. A recent study conducted by CHD Expert shows that restaurants will see this revenue from a variety of venues:
  • Pick-up is projected to generate $124 billion in sales this year.
  • Direct delivery from a restaurant: $32 billion.
  • Delivery from a third-party delivery company: $13 billion.


  • While direct delivery from restaurants still reigns supreme, the crowded third-party app space is getting creative with their approach to attract new diners to their platforms. According to Restaurant Business, subscription models that eliminate per-delivery fees in favor of a flat-rate subscription will emerge to present a clearer value proposition for consumers. This could provide a true competitive edge for third-party delivery apps that need to make an impression on those interested in ordering delivery.

Experimenting with Dining Experiences

  • In 2019, the industry will continue to move toward out-of-the-box experiences for consumers. Long gone are the days of typical two-for-one meals and happy hours. Restaurants are now pushed to ask themselves what they can do to offer diners an experience that they’ll never forget.
  • In response to the typical restaurant week that diners have grown tired of year after year, reservation company Resy has partnered with Capital One to create Off Menu Week. This new program will take place in six major U.S. cities—Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, and Austin—and will offer customers an unconventional, behind-the-scenes experience at their favorite restaurants. For one week only, iconic eateries and neighborhood mainstays will serve experimental new concepts, off menu secrets, or a one-hit wonder that never made it to the menu. Capital One members will have first access to these reservations, making this first-of-its-kind experience an exclusive concept.

Consumers Spend Consciously

  • In 2019, the word transparency holds a different meaning than it has in recent years. Instead of simply sharing the local farm where you buy your beef and chicken, customers are interested in a well-rounded transparency message beyond sourcing details.
  • This multi-faceted approach will start with manufacturers and operators, which Restaurant Business expects will have customers demanding full transparency on pricing, by revealing true net costs and unbundled costs; corporate performance, by emphasizing fair trade, diversity, living wages, and executive compensation; and the planet, by publicizing their real environmental impact, conservation initiatives, and progressive stance on animal welfare.
  • If 2018’s banishment of the plastic straw is any indication of what sustainability-focused consumers have in store for 2019, restaurants should expect to see more customers flock to businesses that are operating with the planet in mind. A reduction of plastic utensils or styrofoam takeout containers is only the beginning. Zero waste kitchens and an increase in plant-based menu items will attract conscious consumers that are willing to spend their hard-earned cash in like-minded establishments.

Wellness Warriors Enter the Industry

  • While functional foods have been all the rage in the wellness industry, they have recently gone mainstream in the restaurant industry. Data from nearly 9,000 Upserve customers revealed a 149 percent increase in fermented foods and a 99 percent increase in CBD on menus in 2018, setting up 2019 as the year of functional foods and drinks.

Cultivating Culture to Fight Employee Turnover‚Äč

  • The restaurant industry turnover rate is hovering around 73 percent. As the #MeToo movement hit the industry in 2018, there’s no more “that’s just how it is” in response to harassment and lack of benefits for workers. From high profile restaurant empires to small town dining establishments, tolerance has decreased and expectations are higher than ever for workplace culture in restaurants.
  • Because of the high turnover rates, one hospitality group in Pennsylvania has developed mentoring program. High Street Hospitality offers tools for career growth for all levels at its restaurants, Fork Restaurant, A.Kitchen, and High Street, including mentoring, training, and formal coaching programs. The group focuses on hiring from within, but co-founder and CEO Ellin Lin told Skift Table that they provide aid for new recruits who are entering the industry for the first time.
  • In addition to healthcare, job listings for restaurants in the group tout “an open environment where mutual respect to all members is essential.” More benefits that are often unheard of in the industry are also offered to workers: 401(k), transportation, and a women’s roundtable to help support careers of all staff—men included.
  • This progress in the restaurant industry means that owners and managers will feel the pressure to put culture first and offer their hard workers benefits, a stable environment, and opportunities for growth.

The Restaurant Tech Takeover

  • As restaurants strive to provide a frictionless experience for consumers, restaurant technology companies are aiming to do to the same for restaurant operators. All-in-one restaurant management platforms have become a valuable tool for restaurant owners and managers to integrate point-of-sale, analytics, online ordering, inventory management, and more, allowing them more time to pay attention to their guests and watch for emerging trends that could make their business the next big thing.


Restaurant Management and Organization


  • Most restaurants with a full bar have a separate bar manager, who oversees the bar and bartenders. Other restaurants consider the bar and bartenders as a part of the FOH. While the Bar Manager has his own specific duties to fulfill, he does answer to the manager of the FOH.

Chefs and Cooks

  • Directly under the head chef are the sous chefs. Sous chefs are second-in-command, and there is usually only one sous chef working during any given shift. Everyone else working in the kitchen are cooks, and take orders from both the sous chef and the head chef. All BOH employees answer to those in charge of the BOH, the head chef and the sous chefs.

Front and Back of House 

  • Restaurants are divided into two basic sections: Front of House (FOH) and Back of House (BOH.) The FOH consists of the dining room and service areas. FOH employees include waiters and waitresses, hostesses, bussers and food runners. The bar and bartenders are also FOH. The kitchen, chefs and cooks are the BOH. BOH includes the dish room and dish washers.


  • A manager oversees the FOH. All FOH staff answer to the manager. The hierarchy in the FOH starts with the manager, then the host or hostess, followed by the waiters and waitresses. Food runners and bussers are there to help the servers do their jobs.

Owners and Executive Chefs

  • Some restaurant owners purchase a franchise and have staff members advise them on the best way to run the kitchen and front of house. Smaller restaurants and one-of-a-kind restaurants, on the other hand, are often owned by the head chef. The chef will often know how he wants his kitchen run, but will need a FOH manager to help him organize and supervise the dining room employees.



Ways to Speed Up Your Event Beverage Service

Need for Speed

  • Why is the bar line “a million miles long” at so many events? Casey said that she wishes organizers would “put more into their bar setups for special events,” namely to set them “up for speed.”
  • In addition to making sure there are enough bars to handle the number of people attending, one easy fix is to split up the bars according to drink offerings, she suggested, with separate bars serving cocktails, wines, and maybe beer.

Less is Best

  • Another way to speed up service is to limit the number of drink choices at the event. “I don’t think you need to have everything for everybody,” Casey said. “I think it’s great to have one or two signature cocktails, wine, Champagne, and maybe beer. And boom, you’re done.”
  • Not only does the line move faster when there are fewer drinks options, the plan reduces the amount of labor and storage needed.
  • This approach requires that the event organizer have a good sense of his or her audience. “Ask who your group is,” she said, and what kinds of drinks express that. “The trick is to focus on just a few things and do them really well.”
  • Try to choose different flavor profiles for your cocktails, she said, so there is something for everyone’s tastes. You also can pre-batch parts of the drinks to speed things up — but she cautioned against pre-making full drinks.

Cocktails on Tap

  • When it comes to beverage service at events, nothing seems to bother Casey more than a diluted cocktail — the result of both long bar lines and poor planning. “I cannot stand the pre-made drinks passed around on a tray. They’re getting warm and diluting, and they’re just circulating, circulating,” Casey said. “That is a very bad idea.”
  • Dispensing cocktails from a keg — using technology originally developed for beer and wine — can solve the problem. The trend of cocktails on tap has been around for a while — Esquire magazine suggested 2013 was “the year of the kegged cocktail.” The magazine might have oversold the idea, but the buzz has returned as the keg technology has improved.
  • With cocktails on tap, groups can create a signature drink that bartenders can serve quickly because it can be pre-batched and kegged — up to a few weeks in advance.
  • Beyond speed, the biggest benefit of cocktails on tap, according to Casey, is a consistent pour. “No matter who’s serving it, it’s always perfect,” she said. “They’re handcrafted but also fast. What you’d put in a cocktail you just put in the keg.”

Top It Off

  • As simple as that seems, you have more work to do. To really make your cocktails on tap impress attendees, you need to add a fresh finish to the pour. Casey suggested a float of wine on top of each drink, or some citrus zest or other garnish to add a bit of wow to the drink.
  • That’s what Casey’s team does at her Rel’Lish Burger Lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The lounge’s “Northwest Berries & Bubbles” cocktail, featuring Oregon’s Crater Lake vodka and fresh lemon elixir, “gets finished with a splash of [Chateau Ste. Michelle] sparkling wine and some fresh berries,” she said. “They look great.”


Beverage Services

The following enumerates the standard Food and Beverage operating procedures;

1. All customers will be acknowledged within 30 seconds of arrival with eye contact, a warm friendly smile and a verbal greeting. Where possible the customer will be acknowledged by name.
2. All customers will be escorted to their tables, satisfaction checked with the location and chairs pulled where applicable {ladies being given priority}
3. All guests will be offered the menu, specials of the day explained and missing items clarified.
4. Supervisor will maintain an active visible presence in the restaurant while ensuring consistency in product and service delivery.
5. All non routine incidents will be handled tactfully and escalated promptly to the supervisor or manager.
6. On departure, customers are thanked and wished a pleasant day or evening.
7. The table will always be clean, uniform and set to specifications.
8. All customers’ queries will be answered knowledgeably and tactfully by all staff.
9. Service will be fast and friendly to both internal and external customers.
10. Table clearance will always be done with a tray and crockery stacked according to size.
11. Staff should always be as un-obstructive as possible to customers.
12. Operating equipment will always be clean, well arranged and easily accessible.
13. All orders will be taken and served accurately.
14. Service time for food {15 minutes} and beverage {3 minutes}, delivery time should always be communicated to the guest including any unavoidable delays.
15. Coffee or dessert will always be offered after meals and served within 3 minutes.
16. All food and beverage items will be produced and presented as per standard recipes and specifications.
17. All telephone calls will be answered with a clear unhurried voice within three rings.
18. Staff should always listen for suggestive selling or up-selling opportunities for example “would you like some fresh juice or cocktail with your sandwich?”
19. All orders must be made through point of sale receipt or triplicate captain order system (where manual billing is in use) prior to pick-up of products from their respective dispensing points.
20. All staff will always be clean, presentable and in full uniform.
21. Service staff will always ask before removing anything from the table, “excuse me, may I take this out of your way?” always be polite!
22. Check and order replenishment on beverages.
23. Service staff must deliver the bill to the guest within 2 minutes of clearing the last piece of crockery or glassware.
24. All take away orders will be packed in standard take away packaging.
25. Accurate change must be returned to the guest within 2 minutes of clearing the bill.
26. All staff must attend pre-service briefings conducted by the supervisor or manager on duty before the beginning of service.
27. Staff will always speak clearly in low controlled voices and never shout or yell in the restaurant.
28. Staff will communicate in English or Kiswahili and never in slang while on duty.
29. All service areas will be maintained in a clean and hygienic condition with a clean and inviting ambiance.
30. Background music within the restaurant must be at an un-obstructive level and clear with no hiss.
31. The back of house area will be maintained in a clean and hygienic condition in strict compliance to preset hygienic standards.