What you need to know

The FSR (full service restaurant) sector continues to be outpaced by more affordable and innovative limited service concepts, especially fast casuals. The casual dining segment remains stagnant, although some operators are showing signs of success by curating fun and engaging on-premise experiences, and investing in quality food as well as takeout and delivery. Looking ahead, the FSR sector must improve their quality and value perceptions to compete with the perceived healthfulness of at-home meals and the convenience of limited service restaurants.


This Report covers consumers’ attitudes and behaviors surrounding FSRs. FSRs are defined by having a front of house staff (ie waiters, host). FSRs include the following restaurant segments:

  • Family midscale restaurants (used interchangeably with family dining restaurants) offer the lowest check size of any FSR. A majority of midscales do not serve alcohol, though some may have a limited alcohol selection (just beer and wine). Midscale examples include Denny’s, Cracker Barrel and IHOP. Buffet restaurants are classified as midscale restaurants (eg, Golden Corral).

  • Casual dining restaurants represent the largest segment of the FSR market. Casual dining restaurants have higher pricing than family/midscales but lower than fine dining, and they offer a full bar. Examples include Chili’s, Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse.

  • Fine dining restaurants have the highest price point of all FSRs.

Note: As casual dining restaurant chains represent a large share of the total FSR market, this Report will provide an in-depth analysis of casual dining chains.

This Report builds off of analysis presented in Full Service Restaurants – US, February 2019.

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