What Is a Full Service Restaurant? A Strategic Approach To Long-Term Success

Published on:
March 9, 2024
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According to the 2024 State of Restaurants Report, the business expansion was planned by almost all (94%) of the full-service restaurants, which are also planning to grow in some form.

Have you ever thought about what is a full-service restaurant?

You know, the types of restaurants where you sit down, order from a menu, and a waiter or waitress brings your food to you.

Also, have you ever thought about what makes them different from the places where you have to stand in line, order and pay for your food, and carry the tray with your food to your table on your own? Well, come on and go on to the next paragraph and we'll do it together.

Full-service restaurants are not just places to eat; they offer an entire dining experience! Unlike fast food spots, where speed of service and little to no interaction with staff is key, the full-service restaurant concept is all about the experience. They offer a welcoming pleasant atmosphere, personalized service, and a chance to sit back, relax and take your time.

Now, why should you care about knowing what is considered a full-service restaurant? Well, they play a huge role in our dining culture. 

Full-service restaurants a places where people can eat their meals and social factors could be there.

There is a widespread belief that eating out is harmful to our health in terms of food quality control, calorie intake, and overall healthy lifestyle. But full-service restaurants employ chefs, wait staff, and managers, they help create jobs, etc. Full-service restaurants also have to figure out a way to outthink and outwit their competition and stay in business.

No matter if you are a die-hard foodie, a business investor, or just curious about the restaurant industry the details and information we covered today will give you a better understanding of what is a full-service restaurant, why it is important, and the best ways to set up your business for success in the long run. 

Let’s start 

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Operational Activities in Full-Service Restaurants

There are a host of activities that go on in full-service, to create an experience for the guest when they walk in the door.

From the reservation process to providing the table service which includes, meeting the guest at the host station, seating the guest, taking the guest's order, and ensuring satisfaction. Every Level is important since if one part is off the whole system is cripple.

Reservations are the initial point of contact between a restaurant and its guests. Many full-service restaurants have a reservation system that allows the guests to hold a time slot so that they are ensured a table when they arrive.

This has many advantages for the restaurant because it can help manage the restaurant's seating capacity and it also provides the customer with a sense of security, knowing that when he or she comes to the restaurant, a table will be waiting.

To get your guests to come back, you need to make sure the team knows how important a role they play in the hospitality service.

So let’s break down one of the most important parts of guest service: table service.

First off, getting the guests through the door is the first step, but the next step is table service. Table service includes greeting your guests with a smile, walking them to their seats, taking their orders, getting their drinks and food promptly, and checking back with them periodically.

Table service is more than just bringing out food; it’s making your guests feel welcome and making sure your team is giving a unique but in-depth interaction between your team and the guests.

Full-service restaurants strive to make sure that guests are at their comfort throughout their visit.

The dining experience starts when customers walk into the restaurant and ends when they leave the restaurant. Seating arrangements in full-service restaurants are designed to make consumers feel comfortable. 

Back-of-House Management and Maintenance

Full-service restaurants are known for their front-of-house operations, but the true backbone of a full-service restaurant takes place behind the scenes.

A team of people dedicated to the smooth operation of the restaurant and serving high-quality food and only the best meals possible are called the back of the house.

The back-of-house staff is the crew that turns raw ingredients into delicious dishes. From the experienced chef making the most delectable entrée to the line cooks who work tirelessly to ensure each order crosses the finish line at the same time to the prep cook grilling the perfect steak, sautéing all the mixed vegetables, and plating like a sculpture. 

Kitchen management and organization are additional responsibilities of back-of-house staff. Coordinating the flow of orders on time, managing cooking timetables to deliver completed meals without delay, and keeping a neat and sanitary kitchen environment are all managed by back-of-house staff. In a kitchen, many meals are being prepared at once, so the staff must have excellent communication and work well together.

Another key component in back-of-house management is inventory control. The typical restaurant food cost percentage is from 28% to 32% of total food sales.

It is important to order ingredients when they are needed and properly track their usage back of house, to reduce waste and maximize profits. It is vital back of back-of-house staff constantly monitor food usage, and adjust ordering accordingly, so we always have the proper supplies in-house to cater to our guests’ needs or dietary restrictions.

To keep food safe for guests and prevent foodborne illness, a clean and sanitary back-of-the-house operation is crucial.

From regular cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and work surfaces to proper storage and handling of potentially hazardous food items, back-of-the-house employees must follow proper procedures as mandated by health regulations and workplace expectations.

Adhering to these practices will preserve the health of guests, while also protecting the reputation and integrity of the establishment.

Preventive Maintenance and Equipment Management

Preventive maintenance is important to the consistent and efficient running of the facility and equipment in any full-service restaurant.

In many cases, full-service restaurants do not already have preventive maintenance plans in place. One way this may be useful is if you know a particular item will go bad soon, and you will need to replace it. Considering what is a full-service restaurant, relies on a lot of different types of equipment to function and deliver good food to its guests.

Regular monitoring and protection of kitchen equipment is one of the most important safeguards of preventive maintenance in full-service restaurants.

Ovens, grills, refrigerators, and freezers are all essential appliances used in the preparation, storage, and presentation of food. Consistently maintaining these appliances ensures reliable food prep, saving time and money.

It is also strongly recommended that you learn and practice the proper maintenance and operation of all appliances to prevent breakdowns that can hinder productivity and compromise quality and your reputation.

A great example of regular maintenance is ovens. Ovens are used for a wide range of baking, roasting, and broiling menu items including items like pizzas, pastries, meats, and vegetables.

Regular oven maintenance including cleaning and inspection of the various components such as heating elements and ventilation systems can prevent several issues such as uneven cooking, overheating, and fire hazards.

Both refrigerators and freezers are crucial in storing foods that need to be kept cool to be safe to eat. Regular maintenance, such as correctly defrosting, cleaning, and dusting the condenser coils underneath the refrigerator/freezer, will help prevent any failures that result in food spoilage and possible contamination.

Another important piece of equipment in a full-service restaurant is a dishwasher. Its job is to maintain daily cleanliness and sanitation of the dishes, utensils, and glassware that are used by the waitstaff and the cuisine.

To keep them running smoothly we must go through a simple checklist cleaning the filters and checking the water temperature and pressure.

You also must check the seals and hoses, to be sure no rinseaid is leaking, clogging the hoses, or creating bacteria.

Also, preventive maintenance not only extends to the equipment in the kitchen but also to the rest of the restaurant. Maintaining the HVAC system, plumbing system, and electrical systems is also a part of preventive maintenance.

Regular inspections of these systems will help to prevent things like bad air quality due to dirty filters, water leaks that could cause damage to the dining room, power outages that would possibly cause you to close, etc.

Staff Training and Development 

42% of back-of-house staff quit within the first 90 days of employment. In the full-service restaurant industry, your staff is what makes the business succeed or fail.

From the host that greets you at the door, to the server who knows everything on the menu and is there to cater to your every need. Again think about each member of the team. 

What is a full-service restaurant without a well-trained staff? The importance of staff trainers and what it results in when providing an unforgettable food experience.

The backbone of any great full-service restaurant is the team that is carefully put together to ensure the highest level of service possible.

Through extensive training, staff members can familiarize themselves with the menu, master proper serving techniques, and perfect their overall communication and interpersonal skills. Training gives employees the confidence and knowledge to anticipate guest needs, recommend dishes, and handle potential concerns or questions with ease and professionalism.

Moreover, ongoing training is crucial to ensure staff remains current on new menu items, service initiatives, and industry trends to offer the highest level of service to our members.

Regular training sessions provide opportunities for skill set expansion, two-way communication, and continual improvement feedback opportunities so staff is empowered to present exceptional service to your members, every time.

Full-service restaurants that invest in quality staff training and development will foster a culture of excellence and deliver an overall elevated dining experience to their patrons.

Full-service restaurants also require effective communication and a strong sense of teamwork, just as the fast food establishments; however, the need for both is exacerbated here.

Full-service restaurants require teamwork because the wait staff must be able to communicate and coordinate with the bus staff and kitchen staff to properly organize the orders they take and get them out to the appropriate table in a prompt manner. They also need good communication so that can answer any questions a customer has for them.

These two traits are also quite desirable in this workplace because they allow all staff members to have a co-worker to confide in and they feel comfortable regardless of the position they hold.

Wrapping it Up

According to Harvard Business School research, each one-star rise in Yelp online ratings boosts restaurant revenue by 5-9%. So as we wrap up this module, it’s shown that there are several key elements and operational sides of what goes into a full-service restaurant, which makes it effective in producing high dining satisfaction. 

So let's summarize in a quicker recap the key focal points of these features, and how each part of them operates to contribute to such great success in these establishments.

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