Full-service restaurants are back, and just as they used to before the pandemic, they continue to thrive. But, like any other business in this digital age, is there still room for further improvement?
This article will delve deeper into restaurants that offer full-service compared to their limited-service counterparts. We will also see the ideal features for Point-of-Service (POS) or Restaurant Management Systems for such restaurants.
Most importantly, we will show you how to leverage wireless technology to grow your business—especially for restaurateurs.
What Is a Full-service Restaurant?
Some may think that all restaurants are the same. In reality, they’re not. There are many ways to categorize restaurants, the most popular of which are full-service restaurants.
What is a full-service restaurant? How does it differ from the limited-service type?
Let us first consider full-service and what reasonable expectations customers can have when talking about service in full.
Below are the basic features of restaurants that offer full service.
Complete dining experience: This restaurant offers appetizers, entrees, and desserts in a relaxed and comfortable setting. Customers are invariably seated, and service staffs are available to assist with their needs. They handle all aspects of the dining experience, including taking orders, serving food, and cleaning tables. This attention allows customers to enjoy their meals without any hassle.
Extensive menu: How about the menu? The menu would be extensive. There will be a variety of appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts. The restaurant may serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Aside from that, menus can be digital or printed nowadays, with daily specials and seasonal offerings also available.
Excellent customer service: Full-service restaurants excel at customer service, with knowledgeable and attentive staff who can make menu recommendations. Additional services like valet parking, coat-check, and live entertainment may be available.
Ambiance: A diverse range of atmospheres, from casual and family-friendly to formal and upscale, typify full service. Decors and themes reflect the cuisine they serve.
Typically, these quality features are found in full-service restos in varying degrees and styles, which endears them to customers. Individual restaurants may present more aspects of their service, such as drive-thrus and home deliveries. But such would be hybrid aspects that relate to limited-service and fast-food restaurants.
To help us picture how full-service restaurants operate, let us consider an actual example: Olive Garden Restaurants.
Example of a Full-service Restaurant
Olive Garden is an example of a full-service restaurant. Their Italian-American dining restaurants have 800+ locations worldwide that look and operate the same way interestingly.
Restaurant Business Online lists Olive Garden among the top 20 full-service chains in terms of sales and exceptional dining experiences.
In Olive Garden’s chain restaurant operation, a receptionist greets customers and shows them to their tables. The restaurant’s cozy interior includes Italian-inspired artwork, soft music, and dim lighting.
Customers receive menus from their server, who can suggest popular dishes or answer any menu questions. Olive Garden’s menu offers Italian classics like pasta, pizza, seafood, salads, soups, and appetizers. The restaurant also serves wine, beer, and cocktails to complement the food.
After the customers’ order, the server brings our breadsticks and salad as a complimentary appetizer. The main course is then prepared in the kitchen and brought to the table when ready. Customers can ask their server if they have any additional requests or need something else.
The level of attention customers receive in Olive Garden gives them a five-star guest experience.
The server will bring out the bill and take payment when the customers finish their meals. Olive Garden also offers a range of desserts, including their popular Tiramisu or Chocolate Brownie Lasagna, which customers can order separately.
This amazing restaurant also offers venues and services for special parties such as birthdays, weddings, and other events.
Limited-service Restaurants–How Do They Fare?
How about limited-service restaurants? Let’s look at its features before comparing it to full-service restaurants.
Customer experience: Limited-service (also called “fast-casual”) restaurants provide a streamlined dining experience compared to full-service. Customers usually order at a counter or kiosk and receive their food at a pickup counter without a server’s assistance.
Menus: Fast-casual restaurant menus are more focused, with fewer options for appetizers, sides, and desserts. Does that diminish the quality? Hardly! The food quality is still high as many fast-casual eateries use fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Customer service: A fast dining experience characterizes limited-service restos emphasizing speed and convenience. Self-service is the order of the day, with beverage stations and condiment bars that enable customers to personalize their orders.
“Fast casual” should not be mistaken for “fast food,” though. The service may be fast casual, but the feel is close to full-service.
Although they may have staff available for customer assistance, the level of service is less personalized in limited-service restos.
- Ambiance: True to the type, fast-casual restos have a modern and casual atmosphere, focusing on efficiency and functionality. Many restaurants even feature open kitchens or food preparation areas that allow customers to see their food prepared.
As you can see, limited-service restaurants have their appeal and cater to a specific segment of the market.
Full-service Restaurants vs. Limited-service
Here’s a head-to-head comparison of full-service restaurants vs. limited-service.
- Dining Experience
- Full set of meals including appetizers, entrees, and desserts
- Seated customers are assisted by attentive staff
- Table reservation sometimes required
- Streamlined dining experience
- Customers usually order at a counteror kiosk and receive their food at a pickup counter without minimal assistance
- Limited comfort
- Extensive; a variety of appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts offered
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages served
- Digital and printed menus
- Daily special and seasonal offers
- Focused menus; fewer options for appetizers, sides, and desserts
- Fast food preparation with high quality, fresh and locally sourced ingredients
- Wall-mounted menus are standard
- Fixed offers; few variations over time
- Customer service
- Excellent customer service; knowledgeable and trained staff assist customers
- Value-added services like valet parking, coat-check, and even live entertainment
- Fast and casual dining experience; self-service beverage and condiments stations are standard
- Enables customers to personalize their orders
- From casual and family-friendly to formal and upscale
- Focused on customer comfort and convenience
- Average table turnover time is extended
- Modern and casual atmosphere
- Focused on efficiency and functionality
- Average table turnover time is shorter
As you can see, full-service and limited-service restaurants both possess qualities that attract specific segments of the market. Each caters to different needs and focuses on viable services for their businesses.
Full-service Restaurant POS Systems
Another area where full-service would differ from limited, quick-service restaurants is technology. Full-service restaurant POS systems deal with the business’s specific needs and are designed accordingly.
Point-of-Service systems, or POS, are also called Restaurant Management Systems.
Here is specific areas of the business that full-service POS systems address.
Order Management: POS systems for full-service streamline order-taking and management with a user-friendly touchscreen interface. Servers can quickly and accurately enter and customize orders and then sent them to the kitchen bar for timely delivery.
Inventory Management: An ideal full-service restaurant POS system includes inventory management tools to track ingredient availability, usage, and waste. This design minimizes waste and ensures ingredients are always available.
Payment Processing: A full restaurant POS system allows diners to pay using different methods like credit/debit cards or mobile payments. It can also split bills and compute server tips, improving payment flexibility and convenience.
Reporting: A restaurant’s POS system offers in-depth reports. It helps owners and managers analyze sales data, track customer behavior, and identify growth opportunities.
You can tailor reports to specific factors such as time, menu items, and customer demographics. This way you can prevent a reduction in sales.
Table Management: Restaurant POS systems provide tools for tracking occupied and available tables. This optimizes table turnover and ensures prompt seating for customers.
Loyalty Programs: Certain restaurant POS systems integrate loyalty programs, enabling businesses to offer frequent customers discounts, promotions, and incentives. This builds loyalty and encourages repeat business.
Integration with Other Systems: A POS system can connect with accounting software, inventory management tools, and online ordering platforms. This technology can simplify operations and enhance the customer experience.
As you can see, POS systems can help full-service restaurant owners and staff manage all aspects of the dining experience.
Optimizing Your Full-service Restaurant POS System
Full-service restaurant POS systems have the edge in marketing, as you may have noticed in the discussion above.
A POS system can help restaurants enhance their marketing by analyzing customer behavior and identifying popular menu items. This enables informed decisions about promotions and menu offerings, adding more special customer experiences.
POS systems can enhance restaurants’ online presence by enabling online ordering and delivery. This simplifies customers’ online ordering process, improving the restaurant’s reach and search engine ranking.
Customer loyalty is another area where POS systems help in marketing. This is possible by offering personalized promotions and rewards programs based on tracked spending habits and preferences.
This is where Beambox’s WiFi digital marketing solutions get in. You can get reviews, contact lists, and information from your new loyal customers through your guest WiFi network.
Used in unison with a working POS system, Beambox can help you plan, monitor, and redirect your marketing efforts. These efforts easily increase sales and grow your business.
Learn more about Beambox and start growing your business now.
Get Started With Free WiFi Marketing
Beambox helps businesses like yours grow with data capture, marketing automation and reputation management.
Sign up for 30 days free