What is a Limited Service Restaurant? Types & Benefits

The limited-service restaurant is a very common concept followed in America. In the limited-service restaurant, you have very little interaction with the restaurant staff.

Once you get your order, your interaction with the staff of the restaurant comes to an end.

Therefore, it’s somewhat like a drive-thru experience but where you get the opportunity to get a place to sit in a restaurant until your order gets delivered.

There are various quick-service restaurants like cafes, coffee shops, or bakeries that fall under the category of limited-service restaurants.

This article will guide you through every bit of the limited-service restaurant and how you can make the most out of your experience with these restaurants.

Fast Food Restaurants

Types of Limited Service Restaurants

This section will predominantly focus on different types of limited-service restaurants that you can identify around you. So, let’s get started!

Fast Food Restaurants

Fast food restaurants serve the food items in a fancy fashion to the customers and don’t spend much on the interiors of the place.

They focus on offering quality food by keeping a base ingredient as their star and serving to a maximum number of people.

Fast Casual Dining

Fast casual dining primarily offers you with a menu and staff serves you with your food at a top-notch pace.

This makes it seem like a full-service restaurant but the items served in the limited-service concept are fancier.


Cafeterias offer a self-service concept to the customers where they select the item from the open counter.

Once they pay for their order, they can get their order all by themselves to their place and enjoy.

Counter Service Restaurants

Food Trucks and Mobile Food Services

Customers get a lot of fascinating options on the menu of food trucks. The cuisine served in the restaurant will differ from one place to another.

These types of services have skilled workers who can serve several customers with quality food in a short span.

Counter Service Restaurants

In a counter service setup, the customer will go to the counter and pay for their order in the first place.

Once the order is ready for pickup, customer can go ahead and pick up their order from the counter.

Coffee Shops

Coffee shops offer a similar experience to cafeterias to the customers. But, their primary USP is hot beverages like coffee.

Customers can go ahead and get the order of their choice by making the payment in the first place.

Casual Takeaway Establishments

Casual takeaway establishments offer comfort food to the customers on their menu.

They don’t offer innovative dishes and throbs the heart of customers with their quick takeaway experience.

Benefits of a Limited Service Restaurant

Fast Food Preparation

In a limited-service restaurant, the food is cooked in a quick manner. Even though you have less time, you can still satisfy your cravings from a limited-service restaurant.

High Growth

Most of the limited-food restaurants offer delivery or takeaways. Therefore, they have a limited menu with impeccable preparation time that leads to higher revenue prospects.

Drastically Low Labour Costs

For a limited-service restaurant, most of the orders are delivery or takeaway and they don’t even have neat seating.

This reduces the table services which further reduces the hiring of staff to serve them ultimately saving on a lot of cost.

Low Food Costs

Most of the ingredients used in the limited-service restaurant are frozen which invites affordability and convenience for the customers. This leads to low food costs and saves some extra bucks for the owners.

Challenges in Limited Service Restaurant

Large Competition

Starting a limited-service restaurant requires a lesser investment as compared to setting up an entire full-service restaurant.

This invites a larger competition in the industry and makes it difficult for the restaurants to stand out among the lot.

Minimum Customer Interaction

In a limited-service restaurant, staff doesn’t get the opportunity to interact at a broader level with the customers.

This makes the customers and the owners devoid of a good customer interaction experience.

Minimum to No Alcohol Sales

Alcohol sales in a restaurant score a good profit for the owners. But, in a limited restaurant setup, there are various restrictions on the sale of alcohol making it difficult for the owners to make an exponential profit.

What is Full Service Restaurant?

Full-service restaurant is the place where you can enjoy your dining experience by booking a table and your food will be served at your table by the server.

In a full-service restaurant, you will order your food by choosing from an extensive menu. On the other hand, in this setup, you need to pay your bill at the end of your meal.

All the cutlery will be given at your seat and you can enjoy the ambience while having the delicious food.

What is The Difference Between Full Service Vs Limited Service Restaurants?

Full-service restaurant and limited-service restaurant have their unique attributes. Both of them differ from one another. One of the key differences between the two types is reservation.

You need to have a reservation to visit a full-service restaurant but there is no concept of reservation in a limited-service restaurant.

Apart from that, in full-service restaurants, there is a server who constantly helps the customer until they are done with the food.

But, in a limited service scenario, customers need to get their food via means of delivery or takeaway.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Meaning of Limited Service Restaurants?

Limited-service restaurants are a type of self-service restaurant where customers take their food themselves from the counter from a limited menu.
All this process is so quick that customers can satisfy their cravings at a faster pace.

Why Are Restaurants Serving Limited Menus?

Restaurants are serving limited menus to offer a dedicated set of options for customers to choose from without landing them in confusion.
This will make the ordering process quicker offering them quality time to relish the food.

What is Limited Cooking Restaurant?

A limited-cooking restaurant is a restaurant that doesn’t use any appliances to cook food that emits smoke.
These restaurants either serve cold food or food cooked in smoke-free appliances.

What is The NAICS Code For Limited Service Restaurants?

The NAICS code for limited-service restaurants is 722513.

Why Do Restaurants Do Limited Time Only?

Restaurants do a limited time only to offer curiosity among the customers to go and try the things that are available only for a specific duration.

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