Full Service Restaurants Vs. Limited Service Restaurants: What’s the difference?

3 Aug

Today we are going to give a little bit of education around full service restaurants and limited service restaurants. The angle we want to take is: What is the difference between full service restaurants and limited service restaurants and how each industry is changing. Let’s begin by first defining both terms:

Full Service Restaurants: Establishments with a relatively broad menu along with table, counter and/or booth service and a wait staff. These establishments offer meals and snacks for immediate consumption primarily on-premise, though they may also offer takeout service.

 Limited Service Restaurants: Establishments whose patrons generally order or select items and pay before eating. Food and drink may be consumed on premises, taken out, or delivered to customers’ locations.

However, one of the interesting pieces of news that came out last week is that these two types of restaurants are slowly blurring.  According to our partners at Technomic, their latest press release reported that ten years ago Limited Service Restaurants (LSRs) made up 47 percent of the total commercial foodservice industry while full-service restaurants (FSRs) made up 53 percent. Now the landscape has reversed; LSRs account for 53 percent and FSRs 47 percent. Within the LSR segment fast-casual restaurants continue to gain market share while fast-food restaurants are working overtime to upscale their menu and concept positioningnot only to keep pace, but to compete directly with fast-casual leaders.

A great example of this is McDonalds. They are an LSR that has created a updated version of McDonald’s that has cosy leather chairs, a contemporary look and feel and delivers a “place to hang out”  vibe. The moment you walk by this storefront, you know that this is a hip, upscale version of McDonalds.

Understanding the landscape is key, especially for foodservice industry professionals who want to market to LSRs and FSRs. That’s why we help our clients visualize the foodservice landscape by providing them with data, operator contact information and more. If you have any questions about our foodservice offering or want to learn more about our products solutions, visit our website: www.CHD-Expert.com.


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