Is A Restaurant Retail?

A retail business sells products to the general public. It includes clothing stores, grocery stores, furniture stores, supermarkets, and shops. There are many different retail businesses, categorized in a few ways. The first way to categorize retail businesses is by the type of product that they sell. For example, there are fast food retailers and supermarkets. Another way to rank retail companies is by the size of the business. For example, there are small businesses and large businesses.

What types of businesses are considered retail?

There are many different types of businesses that can be considered retail. Most common include clothing stores, grocery shops, and supermarkets. A supermarket sells various products like food and non-food items such as cereal, produce, meat, and dairy. Depending on the business location and the population, the size of a supermarket varies from a small mini-shop to a supermarket.

However, many other types of businesses could also be classified as retail. This includes businesses such as furniture stores, home improvement stores, and even some service-based businesses. Ultimately, any business that sells products or services to the general public or final consumer can be considered a retail business.

Are restaurants retailers?

The retail industry and restaurants are two vastly different business sectors. While restaurants sell products to the general public, they are not typically considered retail businesses because restaurants are classified as food service businesses.

Food service businesses prepare and serve customers’ food and beverages. This includes industries such as catering companies, food trucks, and of course, restaurants.

While some restaurants may have a retail component, such as selling cookbooks or other branded merchandise, most of their business comes from serving food and beverages. For this reason, restaurants are typically not considered retail businesses.

Retail Industry vs. Restaurant Industry


  • Both businesses sell products to customers.
  • The customers for both businesses are the general public.
  • Products for both businesses are typically consumed off-site.
  • The two businesses typically have either online or physical locations where customers can purchase products.
  • The two businesses have employees who work to serve customers.
  • Both have products that are priced at a certain amount.
  • Both have products that are typically taxed.
  • Both businesses typically have some form of customer service.
  • Both businesses require licenses and permits to operate.



Restaurant owners order products based on customer demand in a given time frame. It could be a week or two because food goes wrong, so they need to account for that. Retailers can order products based on long-term projections and don’t have to worry about the same time frame as restaurants. Inaccurate estimates of product purchases can lead to lower profit margins.

Retail owners cannot suffer such timely consequences and adjust their inventory as needed. Owners in this industry can order products years in advance and keep them in a warehouse unless the product is perishable food.

Licenses and permits

Another big difference is that restaurants need a permit to operate, which can be costly and time-consuming. Retailers may also need specific licenses and permits, depending on the type of products they sell. However, the process is not as complex or costly as it is for restaurants.

A restaurant owner must have a health permit to operate, which must be renewed regularly. They may also need a liquor license if they serve alcoholic beverages. In addition, restaurants typically have to adhere to stricter building codes than retail businesses. In case of violation, restaurant owners may be subject to significant fines.

Product cost

Another difference is the cost of the products. Restaurant owners have to account for the cost of food, which can fluctuate based on market conditions. Retailers typically sell non-food items, so their production costs are not as susceptible to changes in the market. Restaurants may also incur extra charges from ordering too many food products. Sometimes employees may also use incorrect recipes or serve the wrong sizes. The risk of this cost is higher than what the retail industry suffers in the face of shrinkage. Shrinkage happens when a product gets lost from damage or theft. 

Profit margin

Another difference is in the profit margins. Restaurants typically have a lower profit margin than retail businesses. This is because they have to account for food, labor, and other operating expenses. Retailers typically have a higher profit margin because their products are not as expensive to produce or purchase. The bottom line is that restaurants are typically not as profitable as retail businesses.

Customer service

Restaurants typically provide a higher level of customer service than retail businesses. This is because customers come to the restaurant for an enjoyable dining experience. As such, restaurant employees must be attentive and accommodating to ensure that each customer has a positive experience. The retail industry typically provides a lower level of customer service because customers come to the store to purchase products and typically do not require the same level of attention.


Restaurants typically have more employees than retail businesses. This is because more positions need to be filled in order to provide a high level of customer service. For example, restaurants typically have servers, cooks, dishwashers, and hostesses. Retail businesses usually have sales associates and cashiers.


Restaurants are typically located in high-traffic areas, such as downtown districts or near tourist attractions. Retail stores, from strip malls to downtown shopping districts, can be found anywhere.

Is a restaurant a store?

No, a restaurant is not considered a store because restaurants typically sell perishable items and provide a higher level of customer service. A store generally is a retail business that sells non-perishable items and does not provide the same level of customer service.

It is also vital to note that a restaurant is different from a grocery store, even though both may sell food items. Grocery stores typically sell non-perishable food items and do not provide the same level of customer service.

Is food service retail

Foodservice is a type of retail, but not all retail is food service. Foodservice is a subcategory of the retail industry that focuses on selling food and beverages. This can include restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and more. Not all retail businesses are considered food services, such as clothing stores, home improvement stores, etc.

Does fast food count as retail

Yes, fast food is a type of retail because fast food restaurants typically sell perishable items and provide lower customer service. Fast food is a subcategory of the restaurant industry that focuses on quick service and typically sells burgers, fries, and other similar items. Another reason fast food is considered retail is that it is typically sold in a retail setting, such as a mall or strip center. Also, fast-food restaurants usually have a higher turnover rate than sit-down restaurants, another characteristic of the retail industry.

A good example is McDonald’s, which focuses on quick services and typically sells burgers, fries, and other similar items. 

In conclusion, businesses that are considered retail typically sell products, have a physical location and offer a lower level of customer service. Retail businesses can be located anywhere in many forms, such as restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and more. Foodservice is a type of retail, but not all retail is food service.

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