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What types of fast-food restaurants are there?

Chloé Thévenet
December 27, 2023
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In an age when time is precious, fast food is an essential solution. This article is aimed at managers and franchisees in the sector, and offers a clear analysis of the various types of fast food. Explore with us the timeless classics and emerging trends that are redefining this dynamic market. Our aim: to provide you with the keys to understanding and excelling in this constantly evolving sector!

Understanding fast food

Fast food is, above all, the promise of efficient service and a convenient meal. Simplicity, accessibility and speed are the cornerstones of this model, designed to meet the needs of today's fast-paced lifestyles.

The evolution of fast food: from yesterday to today

Born of the need to eat quickly and cheaply, fast food has long been synonymous with traditional fast food. In recent decades, however, its landscape has undergone a metamorphosis. 

With customers more aware of their food choices and looking for diversity, the sector has evolved considerably. Healthier options, world cuisines, and even thematic and eco-responsible concepts have emerged, enriching the classic burger and fries offering. This evolution reflects not only changing consumer preferences, but also a global awareness of health and environmental issues.

👉 To find out more: Fast food: how can you improve your delivery capacity?

1. The most popular types of fast food

Fast food

These establishments have become indispensable today, offering on-the-spot or takeaway catering solutions at all hours. The choice is limited and highly standardized. Drive-ins provide takeaway service specifically for motorists. The staff employed often lack specific hospitality training, and working hours are often set by clocking-in methods. Managers are generally trained in-house, and are mainly promoted from within.


Often associated with beverage establishments, the snack bar offers simple meals (hot dogs and various sandwiches) at any time, served at the table or counter.

Sandwich shop

Very popular in France for fast food, this formula, although basic, has diversified with upscale sandwiches, specialized sandwich shops, and concepts like "Brioche Dorée" emphasizing freshness and variety. Service is generally take-away.


A restaurant concept that seems to be taking off in France. It consists of several themed restaurant islands where each customer pays independently and then eats in a large common room. Each island owner contributes to the rental of the dining room.

2. New trends in fast food

Wondering what the latest trends in fast food are?

Healthy fast food

The era of healthy fast food is here. Crisp salads, nutritious wraps, vegetarian and vegan options are making their way onto menus. These choices meet a growing demand for a balanced diet, even on the move. These healthy alternatives not only attract a health-conscious public, but also broaden the potential customer base.

Quick world cuisine

Culinary diversity is taking hold of the fast food sector. From Asian flavors to Mexican delights and exquisite Middle Eastern spices, fast food is embracing the cuisines of the world. These options offer an enriched taste experience and satisfy a growing curiosity for authentic and varied tastes.

👉 To find out more: 10 must-know restaurant trends for 2024!

Healthy fast food

3. Classic types of fast food

Of course, "classic" fast food outlets are not losing their popularity! Burger and pizza chains are the historic heart of fast food. Symbols of fast, reliable service, these brands enjoy a solid reputation. They attract a wide and varied clientele, from convenience-seeking families to busy professionals.

These establishments, often operated as franchises, offer a promise of consistency and efficiency. For a franchisee, joining an established chain is synonymous with security and profitability. These brands bring a loyal customer base, acquired through years of market presence. What's more, they offer a proven business model, with well-honed marketing processes and strategies.

Choosing a traditional fast-food franchise therefore represents an attractive opportunity. It allows you to become part of an already well-established system, benefit from ongoing support and maximize your chances of success in a competitive sector!

👉 To find out more: Discover the 4 steps to opening your own fast-food restaurant!

4. Niche fast food

Unique concepts

Personalization is the watchword for themed and niche concepts. From themed cafés inspired by pop culture or original concepts, to restaurants offering fast-food fusion cuisine, originality is the name of the game. These establishments stand out for their unique atmosphere and innovative menus, creating memorable experiences for diners.

Upscale fast food

Premium quality is making its way into fast food. Restaurants are focusing on local, high-quality ingredients, breaking the "junk food" stereotype. This approach is attracting customers who care about the origin and quality of what they eat, even for a quick meal!


Did you like this article? Please feel free to consult our platform of resources to help you develop your business!

Innovorder is the leader in digital solutions for commercial and institutional foodservice. Our team supports restaurateurs in their digital transformation with an all-in-one solution (cash register, kiosk, online ordering, KDS).

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