FCRs, FSRs, & Quick Serve Restaurants in Canada

It is notoriously difficult to be a successful standalone restaurant, particularly when the economy is bad. According to Nima Samadi, senior analyst at IBISWorld, full-service restaurants back in 2009 were “the first to feel the pinch and the last to feel the recovery.” However, for those who run a franchise restaurant,   having the support of a major brand can be the key to succeeding in the industry. 

Anyone looking to own a franchise restaurant will quickly learn that there are categories that different restaurants fall into. Initially, the various restaurant terms seem complicated, but things become much more clear once you understand which type of restaurant goes with each term. While the terms might throw you off at first, you are likely already familiar with all of the restaurant formats.       

Three Main Types of Restaurant Categories

The three different types of restaurants are: 

  1. Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) 
  2. Full-Service Restaurants (FSRs) 
  3. Fast Casual Restaurants (FCRs) 

Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs)

Quick Service Restaurants (QSR), better known as fast food, have an environment that is centred around functionality. After all, a QSR’s main characteristic is “fast food” or “quick service”, so they must have efficient systems in place. QSRs often feature the following: 

  • A limited menu 
  • Serves foods such as burgers, wraps, sandwiches, pre-packaged salads, etc. 
  • Simple interior design 
  • Order and pick-up at the counter 
  • Bundle pricing (such as a meal that includes a burger, fries, and drink) 
  • Drive-thru 

There are numerous fast food restaurants in Canada, but the top four are: 

  • McDonalds
  • Subway
  • A&W 
  • Tim Hortons

While COVID-19 negatively impacted the fast food industry in Canada, IBISWorld reported a 6.2% increase in industry revenue in 2021 with continued growth projected. As of the end of 2022, QSRs were a $29 billion industry in Canada. 

Full-Service Restaurants (FSRs) 

Full-Service Restaurants (FSR), which represent the smallest number of restaurant locations in Canada, range from casual family restaurants to fine dining. Some common characteristics include: 

  • Seating and table service (which includes a wait staff that takes orders, delivers food, and cleans up after the meal is finished) 
  • Bar seating is often available 

A few examples of an FSR include: 

  • Swiss Chalet 
  • Kelsey’s 
  • Boston Pizza  

As with all restaurants, the FSR industry declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s projected to improve over the next few years, it might be a slow recovery in light of growing inflation in Canada. 

Fast Casual Restaurant (FCR)

Fast Casual Restaurants (FCR), a more recently developed restaurant category, is a hybrid of casual dining (FSR) and fast food restaurants (QSR). Qualities that differentiate FCRs from the other categories include: 

  • A more diverse menu when compared to a QSR 
  • Typically more expensive than a QSR 
  • Oftentimes there is more seating space 
  • Usually it’s self-serve (order at the counter and pick-up at the counter) – although sometimes the staff will bring your food to the table 
  • The interior of the restaurant will be more comfortable than a QSR 

The following examples will help clarify what a FCR is: 

  • Panera Bread 
  • Freshii 
  • Smokes Poutinerie  

While the food industry is always changing, the goal remains the same for Fast Casual Restaurants, which is to provide fresh, high-quality foods at an affordable price. 

Is a Canadian Restaurant Franchise Right For You?  

Interested in owning a franchise in the restaurant industry? If so, FranNet will help you explore your options. However, it’s important to note that franchising is more than just french fries. In fact, there are more than 4,000 franchise brands within 90 industries in the United States and Canada combined. This means that the opportunities for you to own a franchise in Canada extend well beyond the restaurant industry. Schedule a free consultation with a FranNet consultant today, and we will help you find the perfect fit. There are hundreds of franchise brands in various industries to choose from in your local market and a franchise consultant will guide you along the way. Better yet, this comes at no cost to you! Contact us today – you have nothing to lose! 


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