Business Overview

Family style restaurants are those that design their menus and decor to attract families. Restaurants like Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, and Chili’s all fall into into this category. Meal portions are typically on the larger side so everyone can share and taste a variety of flavors. Family restaurants are likely to become community gathering places where people can take their children and meet other families who are looking for some wholesome fun.

Who is this business right for?

Owners should have a deep understanding and respect for what American families want today. They should also have a knack for bringing people together, and a desire to create a strong sense of community in the restaurant.

What happens during a typical day at a family style restaurant?

An owner of a family style restaurant has the following responsibilities:

  • Managing employees
  • Checking/ordering supplies
  • Selecting menu items
  • Marketing/advertising
  • Performing quality control/safety inspections

What is the target market?

Generally family style restaurants market to people who want to get out of the house more than they want to eat gourmet food. The average family is looking for dishes with which they are familiar. Parents especially have to make a lot of decisions throughout the day, and may not want a challenge when they walk into the restaurant. The decor should not be upscale. Families will be bringing in children who may not always be on their best behavior.

How does a family style restaurant make money?

Family style restaurants will mark up the cost of their food and beverages to turn a profit. Profit margins on checks are generally low, between 2 and 3% regardless of the type of restaurant you run. Generally, family style restaurants will serve alcohol though, which is an excellent way to make additional profit off each check.

What is the growth potential for a family style restaurant?

Restaurants like Applebee’s and Buca di Beppo grow because they serve good food in a clean, friendly setting for reasonable prices. Trendier places may be more fashionable, but they tend to attract a far more fickle crowd. A trendy restaurant will need constant innovation to hold customers’ attention, but a family style restaurant can grow big by delivering consistent quality to busy families.