5 Main Types of Restaurants

Anna Samygina
Basics of Interior Design
5 min readMar 13, 2017


Today I want to talk about what do u need to know to design for Restaurants and Bars. In this field of design, you can be incredibly creative and experimental. People come to bar or restaurant to spend time and get an experience. Well, the interior can definitely become the second most important thing in the restaurant after cuisine! There are 5 main types of dining.

Casual Dining

  • This type of restaurant has a relaxing and friendly atmosphere, moderate food pricing and table services.
  • Casual dining restaurant is between fast casual and fine dining restaurant. These kinds of restaurants have a large alcohol menu, which includes different type of beers and wines with sidebar and bar staff.
  • The portion size is usually large. Unlike fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, casual-dining restaurants don’t use disposable cutlery.
  • They are frequently, but not necessarily, part of a wider chain, particularly in the United States. In Italy, such casual restaurants are often called “trattoria” and are usually independently owned and operated.

Best Casual Dining Restaurant: Time Out Food Awards 2016 — Winner: Hubert. Time Out Food Awards 2015- Dishoom, King’s Cross, London (designed by Macaulay Sinclair). Time Out Food Awards 2015- Apero at The Ampersand Hotel, London

Dishoom, King’s Cross, London
Apero at The Ampersand Hotel, London

Family Style

Family style restaurant is very similar to casual dining with a difference, that the food is served in a bigger dishes on tables where customers can serve the food for themselves and pass it to the other people at the table. Benefits of the family restaurant include a relaxed atmosphere where customers have more control over what they eat. If done right, family style menus can have better food cost than a traditional menu. It caters well to families with children or groups of friends. Chinese and Japanese restaurants mostly serve the food in this way. It is very often that in Family style restaurant you will find a circular rotating ‘plate’ in the middle of the table, so people can reach to any dish they want.

Milo & Olive family-style restaurant

Fine Dining or High End

  • Customer service in a fine dining restaurant is much more attentive than in casual dining establishments. Fine dining service goes far beyond taking an order and delivering food. Many fine dining services include: Escorting patrons to the table, holding the chair for women, replacing linen napkins if a patron leaves the table etc…
  • It has a special design, unique decoration, high-quality furniture.
  • Full services with special food are offered to customers group.
  • All of the details that are expected of a fine dining server require staff to be rigorously trained. They should be able to answer all questions customers may have about a menu or item or wine. They should also be ready to make menu recommendations if asked.
  • Very often, there are certain rules for dining which customers expected to follow. Dress code is an important detail.
  • The majority of fine dining restaurant clients are loyal guests. Keeping and maintaing customers is a task that should be adequately considered as a responsibility. It is easier to maintain already existing customers rather than finding new ones.
  • Lighting should also be subtle, leaning toward dim (romantic).
  • Music playing subtly in the background should reflect the theme of the restaurant, such as classical for a traditional fine dining restaurant or jazz tunes for something modern.
  • Reservation required
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, Maldives Rangali Island
Asiate Restaurant: Formal Dining With City Sky View, New York
The Gallery at Sketch — London — by India Mahdavi
The Jane — Belgium — by Studio Piet Boon
Le Bar du Plaza Athénée — France — by Jouin Manku

Fast Casual

  • This restaurant concept — a mash-up of fast food and casual dining — has been one of the strongest segments in the restaurant industry over the past decade. It continues to thrive, despite the recession and it continues to evolve to fit customer’s needs and preferences.
  • The meal prices are between that of fast food chains and casual restaurants
  • This type of restaurant does not offer full table service while higher food quality and better atmosphere can be enjoyed than in a fast food restaurant offers.
  • Visible kitchen and counter with handmade food presented to please the customers
  • Fast-casual restaurants require a specific approach to ensure that the customer experience is both super-efficient and distinctly memorable. Underneath the surface, there needs to be a well-oiled machine that can withstand the pressure of serving 500 meals an hour, while on the surface the experience needs to stimulate, inspire and encourage customer loyalty.
Chopt Restaurant, London
Tender Greens Restaurant Interior
Elevation Burger

Fast Food or Quick Serve Restaurant

  • Fast food is the most familiar restaurant to most people. Chains like McDonald’s and Burger King became popular in the 1950s, and helped spawn countless other concepts like Taco Bell, KFC and In-n-Out Burger.
  • Fast food service attracted customers for its speed, convenience, and cheap prices. Ingredients used in a fast food services restaurant are either preheated or pre-cooked to decrease the cooking time. Food served to the customers as takeaway package.
  • Fast food restaurant can be stands or kiosks, with no shelter, sometimes there would be an exterior sitting area.
  • Furniture is as simple as possible either benches or basic chairs and tables. The other important thing: the furniture in fast food restaurants is deliberately made to be uncomfortable so visitors spent less time in the restaurant.
  • Music is usually loud and the lighting is deliberately bright and intimidating.
  • Colours are mostly bright: most popular colours are red, yellow and green. As these colours arouse appetite.
Living Lab by Ab Rogers for Pizza Express
Little Chef by Ab Rogers Design
Pollini trippa Kiosk



Anna Samygina
Basics of Interior Design

is a rising Interior Designer. UAL Chelsea graduate. With this blog she tries to identify how to embrace nature and manmade world under one roof. Annafiora.com