Companies in this industry provide food services in casual atmospheres to seated patrons who are served by wait staff and pay after eating. Major companies include Bloomin' Brands, Brinker International, and Darden Restaurants (all based in the US), along with Cara Operations (Canada), The Restaurant Group (UK), and Skylark (Japan).
Demand for casual dining is driven by personal income, consumer tastes, and demographics. The profitability of individual companies depends on sales of high-margin items and effective marketing. Large companies have advantages in marketing, purchasing, and access to capital. Small companies can compete effectively by offering superior food or customer service. The industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 20 percent of revenue.
Products include average quality appetizers, entrées and main dishes, desserts, and beverages. About 40 percent of restaurants specialize in an ethnic food category: Italian, Mexican, and Chinese are the most popular types of full-service restaurants. Companies may also focus on a type of food: Seafood restaurants, steakhouses, and pizza parlors each make up about 5 percent of US full-service restaurant locations. Alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, and spirits, account for about 15 percent of full-service restaurant sales.