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Restaurant Concepts & Ideas: Why They are Important

Revel | September 26, 2022 |

Restaurant Concepts & Ideas: Why They are Important

Your restaurant concept is the foundation of your brand and the starting point of building an impactful and competitive business. Your dining concept will be critical in determining not just how customers perceive and experience your restaurant, but how you will run and operate your restaurant.
Here is everything you need to know when choosing a restaurant concept:

What is a Restaurant Concept? 

Let’s start with the basics. Simply put, your restaurant concept is the type of restaurant you want to open. It’s the first thing that customers will experience when they visit your restaurant and the overarching theme and style of the restaurant. There are many unique restaurant concepts, including the following: 

  • A fast-casual concept where diners order at the counter but have the option to stay and dine in
  • A table-service restaurant, which can offer a laid back or fine dining experience
  • A quick-service or takeaway style restaurant, like cozy café

Upon understanding the concept, customers will have a preconceived idea of the type of food served, the type of service to expect, and a general understanding of the price point.

Why is a Restaurant Concept Important?

A clearly defined restaurant concept is beneficial to the customer’s experience because it helps ensure cohesion and consistency. For restaurateurs, a cohesive concept provides return on investment (ROI) by streamlining operations, building brand equity, and helping attain and retain customers.

With everything in alignment – from service-style and menu items to your design and location – customers walk away with a lasting impression.

What's a Concept-Driven Restaurant? 

A concept-driven restaurant, also known as a concept eatery, is an establishment totally driven by its concept and dedication to creating a memorable experience. Businesses put a lot of thought into their restaurant ideas to create a unique restaurant and dining experience.

John McDonald who runs multiple successful New York restaurants, like Lure and Burger & Barrel, asks these questions: “Do you have a restaurant concept that fits into the decision making of how people dine? You can’t be too broad or too vague — you have to fit into a clear space.”

When a group is making plans to dine, they are going to discuss topics based around a concept. For example, if they are in the mood for Mexican food, they are going to list out the ones that have a clear concept based on the food and the environment. If your brand isn’t part of those conversations people have with their peers, it could mean you aren’t doing enough to stand out as a desirable destination.

What Goes into Creating a Unique Restaurant Concept?

To figure out what restaurant concept you want to have, you need to have a clear vision and strategy. Here are a few important things to consider when creating restaurant ideas.

1. Research your area

You need to know about the economic status and demographics around the area in which you want to open your restaurant. This will help you make important decisions around your target audience, like what hours you are going to operate, what prices will you set on the menu to be profitable but still appealing, and what ambiance you want to create based on your target audience.

2. Learn from other successful restaurants

Identify the trends and see what other restaurants are doing to be successful. What technology are they using to streamline their dine in operations? Shop your competition and eat at similar restaurants to see what works and what doesn’t. Take note of the areas of improvement, so you can do it better.

3. Know the atmosphere you want to convey

Atmosphere is important for a restaurant. It is one of the most important aspects of a dining concept. It is the feeling your customers have when they enter your space, what they see around them, the music they hear, the food they taste and more. When friends and family are deciding on the restaurant they want to go to, the atmosphere is one of the first things they think about based on the kind of day or night they want to have together.

4. Find your restaurant design concept

This will be based around many factors. What type of food do you want to serve? Is there a specific price point your menu will have? How many items will you put on the menu? It is important to figure out these questions, so you can create an appropriate restaurant concept.
Read the section below to see the four biggest restaurant theme ideas and what those restaurant concepts entail.

The Big 4 Restaurant Concept Ideas

1. Fast Food or Quick Service

Fast food establishments, or as the industry knows it, quick service establishments, are defined as having price points on average from $4 to $10 per meal, offer limited menus, and are counter-service.

Food empires like McDonalds, Taco Bell, In-n-Out and many others have become household names. Quick- service restaurant concepts are making tremendous amounts of revenue with the fast food industry in the US being worth nearly 200 billion dollars.

2. Fast Casual

The “it” restaurant concept right now is fast casual. True to its name, fast casual is a hybrid of fast food and casual dining. More specifically, fast casual restaurants do not offer full table service but promise higher quality food than other fast food restaurants. This usually means counter service, with a more casual ambiance and fresher ingredients.

This concept has been championed by major players like Qdoba, Hopdoddy, Firehouse Subs, Panera Bread, Dave’s Hot Chicken, Moe’s Southwest Grill, among many others. To quantify its popularity, the market was valued at $125.6 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $209.1 billion by 2026.

3. Casual Dining

Casual dining restaurant design concepts have price points on average between $10-15 per meal and offer a full menu as well as table service. Popular casual dining concepts such as TGI Fridays and Friendly’s are known for moderately-priced food in a relaxed atmosphere.

4. Fine Dining

Fine dining restaurants can range in fanciness, but they are defined as full service restaurants, with high-quality foods, and the finest in decor and service. Notably, it is the highest price of all the restaurant concepts.

Choose Revel Systems® For Your Point of Sale System

Revel's powerful cloud POS system can help bring your restaurant concept to life. Revel services many different brands and concepts from QSR to fast-casual to table-service, and has the features and functionality to set you up for success. To learn more about what Revel offers, get a free demo today!