Are all restaurants considered fast food? Let’s dive into this in more detail and see what the difference is from one restaurant to another; and how to define what makes one restaurant fast food over another.
Not all restaurants are considered “fast food” just because it isn’t made by us in the confines of our home. It can seem like a whole new world sometimes for those stepping into a new restaurant to grab a bite to eat for the first time.
Luckily there are food safety regulations that all restaurants must follow in order to stay open to serve us. So, even if the food is prepared quickly or not, we can be comforted a little bit knowing that it’s safe (hopefully).
First off, is there a difference between a restaurant and a fast food establishment? No, there isn’t really, since a restaurant is simply a place where people can pay for food that has been cooked for them, and sit down in the same establishment and eat it.
So any fast food establishment where we can buy food to eat and sit is considered to be a restaurant as well. This also means that restaurants can be a wide variety of places that you never expected. Such as a school cafeteria for instance.
Of course, it might seem silly for some if a school cafeteria was regularly called a “restaurant” instead of a cafeteria, so I would just stick with the normal.
How To Tell If A Restaurant Is Fast Food Or Not
A fast food restaurant is more concerned with finding quick and simple ways to provide its customers with tasty food. Everything found on the menu can usually be ordered and received in a very short time.
Frying chicken is usually a quick process, so it normally isn’t hard to find a fast food chicken place nearby somewhere. They use commercial deep fryers to cook the chicken very quickly, and will often place other foods besides chicken in the fryer to serve to their customers as well.
For instance, they may fry vegetables as well too. French fries are a very common fast food item found at almost every fast food joint.
Foods that take longer than 5 or 10 minutes to cook at fast food restaurants are prepared before the store opens, and maintained by cooking new food before the old gets bad to ensure speedy service.
Speedy service is the goal of fast food restaurants.
Also, fast food establishments will have a busy drive-thru lane, which is a dead giveaway. However, it doesn’t mean that having a drive-thru lane is a dead indicator. It’s the fact that it’s busy around the clock that gives them away. Some restaurants that aren’t fast food may have a pick-up window for orders that were placed 45 minutes or more ago, but rarely.
Restaurants that aren’t fast food are the ones that people go into to have more of a home cooked meal experience. This usually means driving to that place, getting out of the car, walking inside, and waiting for the next available table. Making reservations might even be necessary depending on the restaurant and the time of day.
The meals are actual meals that are made into courses. Courses can have an appetizer, main dish, and dessert for the entire meal. Soups and salad can also be added.
Fast food may provide all of the above as options too, like soups and salads, but maybe at a lesser quality than dine-in restaurants. For instance, the soups may come fully made and pre-packaged before they are heated and served to the customer.
What separates these types of establishments from being a fast food joint is their focus of providing the customer more with a dine-in experience over the amount of time it takes to prepare the food for each consumer.
The ambiance is focused around creating more of a memorable experience everytime. Curtains might be used to block the view from the outside of the facility as to not disturb the eating experience, and to control the lighting.
They are not held so much on the speed of service as fast food would be. The people expect a longer waiting time with appetizers, a drink, and scenery to hold their attention until the main course arrives.
A waiter or waitress is often present. They are called waiters because you be waiting awhile before you receive your food (just kidding).
Because of this, fast food often comes with higher amounts of sodium, saturated fats, and sugars, which is not good for you if fast food is eaten daily. It doesn’t mean that dine-in restaurants are always a better option however. It depends on the type of food they are serving.
The foods found in fast food establishments are more processed than they are at dine-in restaurants. More processed just simply means that the foods have been altered more from their natural form. This could be by chopping them up or grinding it for example.
Doing so makes it easier to quickly serve when the time comes to prepare it.
Examples Of Restaurants That Are/Aren’t Fast Food
Here are a few restaurants that would be considered fast food:
- Burger King
- Church’s Chicken
- Dunkin Donuts
- Jimmy John’s
- Firehouse Subs
- Panda Express
- Baskin Robins
- Pizza Hut
- Domino’s Pizza
- Taco Bell
All of these restaurants are considered to be fast food since they deliver their food fairly quickly to their customers overall.
Of course, the speed of service from some of the companies can be questioned on an individual basis during peak hours sometimes Hmm…
Even Dunkin Donuts is considered to be fast food, even though they sell donuts. Donuts can be picked, paid for, and eaten in a matter of minutes, therefore it is fast food. They are a good example of a restaurant that serves food fast that takes awhile to cook. The employees get started early in the morning prepping and cooking so everyone can receive their donuts in minutes later on, when they actually open for business.
Starbucks is also considered to be fast food, since it’s mostly quick coffee on the go with some premade snacks.
Here are a few restaurants that would not be considered fast food:
- Golden Corral
- Longhorn Steakhouse
- Outback Steakhouse
- Red Lobster
- Red Robin
- Texas Roadhouse
- Olive Gardens
- BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
- Buffalo Wild Wings
All of these are considered to be dine-in restaurants and not fast food. Some with better experiences than others, but all focus more on ambiance and food experience instead of achieving the fastest times to get people their orders.
Locally their maybe more options available to you than the ones mentioned for both fast food and non fast food. This hopefully will help you to distinguish the difference.