Like other industries, the restaurant sector exists to make a profit. Restaurants' business models are based on serving food. Unlike many other types of businesses, restaurants also offer a deeply personal experience that is often intricately choreographed. In addition, many chefs use their restaurants as platforms to express their culinary visions. Restaurant industry objectives are geared towards providing a satisfying customer experience that includes enjoyable food and a relaxing atmosphere while running an operation that is efficient enough to also make money.


The objectives of a restaurant with regard to the food it serves can vary widely depending on whether it is a fast food joint or a fine dining operation, but all restaurants must create dishes that customers are willing to pay for and also return to eat again. Materials and labor costs for menu items should be low enough for the retaurant to mark them up and charge a price that brings in a profit and also feels fair to diners. Many restaurants focus on a particular style of food, such as an ethnic cuisine or local, seasonal offerings. Such a specialty makes it easier to build a brand and advertise to a target market.

Dining Experience

Restaurant patrons don't just go out to eat for the food. They dine out for relaxation, luxury and convenience, among other reasons. Restaurant business objectives include creating a complete dining experience that includes everything from the way a space is decorated to the type of music it plays. The quality of service also enhances or ruins a dining experience. Servers should be respectful and prompt; they should be attentive without hovering as well as knowledgeable about ingredients and preparation methods.


The biggest costs that a restaurant incurs are food and labor expenses. Labor includes not only kitchen staff but also servers, hostesses and bussers. The objective of every restaurant business is to keep these costs low enough to run a profitable operation. In addition, restaurateurs must manage other types of expenses such as rent, advertising, utilities, equipment, maintenance and repairs. Profitability is also a matter of increasing revenue by bringing in new customers, keeping existing customers happy so they will return and offering a wide enough selection of items for diners to order extras such as wine and dessert.


Successful restaurants endure by building reputations and loyal clienteles. If a restaurant is profitable, makes its customers happy and holds a long term lease or owns the building where it operates, then it can continue operating indefinitely. Many restaurateurs also aim to grow their operations beyond the limitations of their individual ownership by selling their companies or franchising. A business owner is most likely to achieve this goal if she develops clear and effective operational systems.