So far as I know there isn't a nice automated way to provide the benefits of System Restore as it is implemented on Windows. For all its utility for Windows users, though, System Restore can't be used to backup/restore individual files & whatnot at the whim of the user - that requires a separate backup system.
Time Machine on OS X, on the other hand, can provide for the backup/restore of deleted documents, folders, etc, and can be used to restore an entire hard drive in the event of a crashed or munged drive. I've used this function a few times, twice on a very important server, and once on my own machine, with great success.
My Mom's new Lion iMac is setup with an inexpensive external 500 GB USB hard drive and Time Machine is running like clockwork. My Mom knows to check the Time Machine menu every day to make sure it is backing up. She's even started to recover files on her own now, without needing to call Tech Support (me).
Time Machine was also very helpful in migrating her creaky Leopard Mac mini to the new iMac a few months ago. Instead of hooking the old & new Macs together via Ethernet cable, I simply ran a Time Machine backup on the old machine, shut it down, connected the USB drive to the new iMac, and the Migration Assistant app took care of the rest. Her new iMac was up and running in a little more than an hour.
A non-Time Machine solution would be using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! to back up the Mac to an external hard drive on a regular basis. This would allow for a mass restore of the drive's contents.
Another non-Time Machine solution would be to boot from the System Install DVD (pre-Lion)
or an bootable external HD (Lion & after) and create a restorable disk image. After converting the image to ASR format, Disk Utility can be used to restore the disk image.