New Types of Restaurants and Why They’re So Popular

New Types Of Restaurants
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Ever since the pandemic started, new types of restaurants have begun popping up all over the map. Because people are interested in more flexible dining options, business owners have created (or enhanced) a few options to fit that bill perfectly.

There are a few things people have been looking for in dining since the pandemic started, including:

  • Flexibility, the ability to easily take food to go or eat anywhere, easily
  • Socially distant or open-air seating options
  • Limited contact or fully contactless experiences

And while the pandemic is winding down in many states, these dining options that thrived during the pandemic continue to thrive in the present day. One theory is that customers became so accustomed to these flexible options that they didn’t want to lose them. They liked being able to choose to order and pick up without speaking to anyone or being able to sit outside or take food home easily. Plus, with all these new innovative options, why would we want to go back to the limited way of dining? It’s not like dine-in restaurants are going anywhere, so it’s nice to have the option for a different experience every once and a while.

Takeout Food MenuGhost Kitchens

Ghost kitchens really thrived at the beginning of the pandemic. These restaurants offered delivery service only, often through partnerships with apps like DoorDash and UberEats. As these restaurants didn’t need to have their own storefronts, they often share kitchens with other restaurants. Because dine-in restaurants weren’t making a fortune during this time, hosting a ghost kitchen was a good way to pull in some extra money. On top of that, opening a ghost kitchen is much less risky than opening a full-service restaurant, making it more appealing to new restaurant owners.

However, there are a few cons of these types of restaurants. They don’t have much brand recognition, and often have to rely on customers finding them through delivery apps. If the food is subpar, customers aren’t likely to order again. For ghost kitchens to be successful, the food has to be stellar, the prices have to be right, and the reviews should entice your customers, not send them away.

  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Easy Ice
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Epiq Global Payment Card Settlement
  • Atosa USA
  • McKee Foodservice Sunbelt Bakery
  • RAK Porcelain
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Day & Nite
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Inline Plastics
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Imperial Dade

Pop-up Restaurants

Pop-up restaurants also grew in popularity during the late stages of the pandemic when outside dining was allowed again. These types of establishments function like food trucks, except without the truck. They “pop up” at certain events with their small set up and serve food. Pop-up restaurants are great because they offer flexibility in dining, allowing customers to eat wherever they’d like. The events that feature pop-up restaurants often take place in parks with ample seating, so social distancing was easy during the pandemic. These restaurants, like ghost kitchens, are also a great option for startups, allowing aspiring restaurants owners to get into the game without having to spend an arm and a leg.

However, with pop-up restaurants, you have to rely heavily on social media interaction and foot traffic to get your name out there. However, by building a strong social media following and working with local festivals, farmers markets, and more, you can develop a strong, recognizable restaurant and work toward creating something more permanent, if that’s what you’re interested in.

Outdoor Dining QR Code MenuOutdoor Dining Only

Many restaurants closed down their interiors during the pandemic, choosing to only serve takeout and delivery for the first few months. This sparked a new restaurant idea (or the resurgence of an old idea), takeout counters. Takeout counters host the kitchen inside and allow customers to order from a window. Much like an old-school ice cream shack, these types of restaurants offer flexibility and choice in dining. Customers can choose to pick up their order and take it home or sit outside the restaurant. Many of these types of restaurants also offer delivery.

Unlike pop-up restaurants and ghost kitchens, these counter-type quick service restaurants still require quite the start-up cost and will require some forethought and research before opening. While pop-ups and ghost kitchens are still gaining popularity on the tail end of the pandemic, it’s uncertain whether or not these quick service windows will continue to be popular.

Food TruckFood Trucks

Food trucks have been around for years, but have taken a huge step up in popularity over the last few years. They offer maximum flexibility in dining, giving customers the opportunity to order food wherever a food truck is stationed and eat it while walking down the street, seated at a table nearby, or in the comfort of their own home.

Food trucks are a great option for people looking to start a restaurant without having to invest as much as a full-service restaurant requires. They’re also great for owners who like flexibility as much as their customers do. However, food trucks still require some generous upfront costs and research. You have to take the time to find the perfect truck, outfit it with the right equipment, and get the right licenses and permits to be able to park it where you want.

What Can Dine-In Restaurants Learn From These Options?

Like we stated previously, dine-in restaurants aren’t going anywhere. To be honest, there’s nothing that beats the typical dining experience. However, these alternative methods live in their own space and have their own host of benefits. There’s a lot that dine-in establishments can learn from their flexible counterparts. Flexibility, for instance. Offering a multitude of options for customers who prefer takeout, contactless dining, and outdoor seating will be beneficial now and in years to come as people adjust to the “regular” way of life once more. While we work our way toward the “new normal” restaurant owners need to embrace flexibility and allow customers to engage with their restaurant in the way that they choose and are most comfortable. By allowing options and flexibility, dine-in restaurants can cast a wider net.


Megan Prevost is a marketing content writer for MustHaveMenus. When’s she’s not writing about restaurant marketing, she’s hanging out with her three cats and binging the latest television shows. Her work has appeared in App Institute, Bar Business, CLH News, FanSided, FSR, Miss Details, Modern Restaurant Management, PMQ, QSR, RestoBiz, RestoHub, Site Social SEO, Small Business Currents, and The Daily Fandom. 

  • Day & Nite
  • Easy Ice
  • Epiq Global Payment Card Settlement
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Inline Plastics
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Imperial Dade
  • RATIONAL USA
  • RAK Porcelain
  • McKee Foodservice Sunbelt Bakery
  • AyrKing Mixstir