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What’s the Difference? QSRs, FSRs, and Fast Casual Restaurants

🕒 3 min read

What’s the Difference? QSRs, FSRs, and Fast Casual Restaurants
What’s the Difference? QSRs, FSRs, and Fast Casual Restaurants

Sorting through the different types of restaurant terms can be difficult for potential franchise owners. The ever-changing landscape of the food industry can make it hard to keep up for those with little to no experience in the industry as well as for industry veterans.

There are three main types of restaurant formats, and due to the hybrid nature of the new Fast Casual concept, it can be hard to know what’s what. And when you throw in terms like fast food and casual dining, it just gets harder.

In this article, we are going to help simplify these restaurant terms. Let’s take a look at the three main categories of restaurants: QSRs, FSRs, and Fast Casual.

Quick Service Restaurants

QSR stands for Quick Service Restaurant. This is the industry term for the segment, though they are more commonly known as fast food restaurants. QSRs are the most common type of restaurant, due to the popularity of brands like McDonald’s, Subway, and Tim Hortons.

QSRs are classified by the functionality of the concepts. Menus are typically limited, with the focus being on burgers and sandwiches. The interior designs are simple, with a counter at which customers can order and pick up their food. Many QSRs have drive-thrus as the focus on fast carry out is a large part of the quick-serve model.

In Canada, QSRs have experienced an annual growth of 2.8% over the five years up to 2017, according to IBISWorld.

Full-Service Restaurants

Full-Service Restaurant franchises are known as FSRs, and they are the smallest segment by number of locations in Canada. FSRs cover a wide range price range, from casual family restaurants to fine dining.

FSRs are characterised by providing table service to their customers. The wait staff seats the customer, takes their order, delivers their food, and cleans up after the diner has left. Many of these types of restaurants will also have a bar. Think of brands like Swiss Chalet, Kelsey’s, and Boston Pizza.

IBISWorld reported that in the five years up to 2017, the Canadian FSR industry experienced a 4.5% annual growth and accounted for $31 billion in revenue.

Fast Casual Restaurants Franchise
Fast Casual Restaurants Franchise

Fast Casual Restaurants

The food industry is changing nearly every day, and quickly. The Fast Casual segment is a relatively new development as a restaurant category that fills the space between fast food and full service.

Up until about 2014-2015, the popular term was Limited Service Restaurants. LSRs covered a broad range of anything that wasn’t full-service, covering fast food, fast-casual, pizza restaurants, and cafes. Now the terms have been simplified, QSRs have been giving their own designation like FSRs, and the rest falls under Fast Casual. It’s still not always easy to know which restaurants are classified as Fast Casual.

Fast Casual restaurants are a little like QSRs and a little like FSRs. They aim to offer higher quality food at lower prices while still maintaining a casual atmosphere and quick service. Fast Casual restaurants do not typically have standard table service, but they may bring food out to their customers’ tables. Popular Fast Casual brands include Panera Bread, Freshii, and Smokes Poutinerie.

The restaurant industry is constantly changing as restaurant owners attempt to keep up with consumer focus on fresh, high quality foods and affordable prices.

To find QSR, FSR, and Fast Casual franchises that are right for you, browse available restaurant franchise opportunities here.

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