How to Choose Between Restaurant or Cafe?

How to choose between a restaurant or cafe? Some people have no idea if they want to dine in a restaurant or cafe. With the growing trend of people eating in different places instead of eating traditional home-cooked dishes, there is an explosion of fine restaurants or cafes. If you are a travel hack, you will need to know how to choose from both a restaurant or a cafe before you go exploring. Certainly, as it relates to a particular city.

Restaurant or Cafe

Difference Between Restaurant or Cafe

:diamond_shape_with_a_dot_inside: Although many people use the terms restaurant or cafe differently, they are different in some respects.

:diamond_shape_with_a_dot_inside: Not only are restaurants good for food, but they also serve as excellent meeting places for business people.

:diamond_shape_with_a_dot_inside: A pattern that is strongly influenced by busy schedules in our current lives is that people do not have time to prepare their meals at home and instead choose fast food outside their home.

:diamond_shape_with_a_dot_inside: More and more people are crowding these centers for fast food. Although these two terms are commonly used by many, how many know the difference between a cafe and a restaurant?

Though the differences between cafes and restaurants have narrowed down greatly, primarily, a café remains a place to be served different types of coffees while a restaurant is a commercial establishment where meals are served

  • While the ambience of a restaurant is that of a dining place and more formal, the ambience of a café is that of a casual eating place

  • Restaurants serve set meals while, at cafes, there are different food items, mostly snacks like sandwiches and burgers in addition to coffee

  • In some restaurants, alcoholic beverages are also served

  • Tipping a waiter is common in restaurants while it is optional in cafes

  • In most restaurants, food is served upon order by waiters while, in most cafes, self service is common

  • Restaurants have a menu card that is presented upon arrival while the limited items serves in a café are displayed with rates on the walls of the cafe.

Following are the discussion of the various features that make up a restaurant or cafe and their variations.

Fundamental Aspects of Restaurants

Following are mentioned some fundamental aspects of restaurant:

Overview of restaurants

The first difference between a restaurant and a cafe is in the basic meaning of the name. Here is the break down restaurants by definition, origin, functionality and price differences.

Meaning of restaurant

There are different meanings of restaurant including the definition in the dictionary and in the literal sense.

Meaning of restaurant in dictionary

:small_blue_diamond: When trying to find out if establishment is a restaurant or a cafe, we can look up the definition as it is in the English dictionary.

:small_blue_diamond: A restaurant means establishment in French where customers are served with drinks and food. At the restaurant, customers not only order the food they want, but also eat there in style.

:small_blue_diamond: Restaurants often do not serve ready-made meals but cater to orders from customers of their choice in a given menu. These establishments have comprehensive service delivery policies in which they provide home and office delivery services. Customers can order during office hours or their homes, and food can be delivered.

Literal meaning of restaurant

:small_blue_diamond: The word restaurant comes from the French language. Although restaurants have long existed, their modern concept dates back to the 18th century in France.

:small_blue_diamond: The name of the restaurant came from the French word “restoratives” which meant that the soup was served at the first restaurant called Bouillon. The first objective of the restaurants was to improve the quality of the food served at the local inns.

Origin of the restaurant

:small_blue_diamond: Another difference comes out when trying to figure out if an establishment is a restaurant or a cafe in the history of their origins.

:small_blue_diamond: The history of restaurants goes back to Rome and Greece where they were called thermopolia. They were commercial outlets that served hot food and drinks.

:small_blue_diamond: Since many homes now lacked kitchens, restaurants became more and more popular as meeting places for socializing.

:small_blue_diamond: Original thermopolia had L-shaped serving counters with containers that carried hot food and drinks.

:small_blue_diamond: Restaurants were also popular in China in the 11th century when they became fashionable and expanded their food supply. They now serve a variety of food styles, prices, and even cuisine.

:small_blue_diamond: However, the concept of restaurants as we know it in a modern term was perfected in Paris France in the 18th century and grew in other regions of the world such as the United States and Europe.

Functionality of restaurant

:small_blue_diamond: The biggest and most significant difference between a cafe and a restaurant that one can see is their scope of services. The restaurant is a commercial place that provides customers with food and almost all drinks including alcohol for licensed drinkers.

:small_blue_diamond: Restaurants often offer a variety of options for a single meal such as appetizers, entree, salads, soups and desserts. The working mode of the restaurant includes a waiter visiting the customer.

:small_blue_diamond: Most restaurants are built indoors, but some can have outdoor points where people can eat in good weather.

:small_blue_diamond: In restaurants, waiters serve food by order and the serving of waiters who serve you is a common practice.

Price variations of restaurants

Restaurants have high prices as they have a wide variety of foods and do not focus on specific foods. While you can still get food for less than $ 5 at some restaurants, high-quality ones can charge very high prices for their food.

Features of a Café

Here are mentioned some features of a cafe;

What is cafe?

:small_blue_diamond: A cafe in Japan can include cats or hedgehogs. This is completely different from the cafe in Paris. Use these Japanese travel tips to make sure you check correctly.

:small_blue_diamond: There is a difference between the definition of a restaurant and that of a cafe. Here is the break down cafe by definition, origin, functionality and price differences.

Meaning of Cafe

Cafe has different definitions including the definition in the dictionary and in the literal.

Dictionary definition of Cafe

:small_blue_diamond: When trying to find out if establishment is a restaurant or a cafe, we can look up the definition of a cafe as it in the English dictionary. Cafe, unlike a restaurant, can be defined as a facility where customers come to have coffee. It refers to a place that serves their customers with coffee and snacks.

:small_blue_diamond: In most cases, the service area is closed, but customers can enjoy their coffee on the outside of the center. Although the main purpose of cafe is to serve coffee, in the US, the term has changed its meaning when people consider it an informal restaurant serving burgers and sandwiches.

Literal Meaning of Cafe

:small_blue_diamond: Like restaurants, cafe has its origins in France. Although the term has been used in English-speaking lands since the 19th century, it has been used in France for a long time.

:small_blue_diamond: The word cafe, although derived from the French language, is spelled the same way in different languages. In the English language, cafe and coffee are derived from the word caffe which is different from the Italian word written as cavee.

Origin of Cafe

:small_blue_diamond: Background history is another difference when you try to find out if an establishment is a cafe or a restaurant.

:small_blue_diamond: Compared to restaurants, cafes, or bars, as they were originally called, it began much later in history. The great difference between a cafe and a restaurant can be seen in its place of origin and time in history. The history of cafe has been traced back to the Middle East despite the fact that it has been later than restaurants.

:small_blue_diamond: The initial cafes were established in Mecca during the 15th Century as the political meeting places of the Imams in Islam. However, they were banned in the 16th century but later came from Damascus, Cairo, and Istanbul.

:small_blue_diamond: The establishment of cafes and the use of coffee then paved the way for Europe from the 17th century and later became popular as we know it today. The first cafe to open in the United States was opened in New York as a venue for a variety of entertainers in the 20th century. Today, fine restaurants are in vogue, and they are now available in almost every crowded place in the world.

Functionality of Cafe

:small_blue_diamond: Cafes are usually coffee shops that sell coffee and in some cases tea. In cafes, they have a wide range of types of coffee they serve including special coffee like latte and mochas.

:small_blue_diamond: These joints are known for their diversity in the types of coffee and snacks they offer. In more recent times, some cafes have been called informal restaurants as others have added to their menu items such as soups and sandwiches.

:small_blue_diamond: Most of these joints have an open area where people can relax as they enjoy their coffee. Unlike restaurants, cafes, self-service is a day-to-day setting and a waiter at cafes is optional.

Price variations in cafes

:small_blue_diamond: In terms of prices, cafes tend to offer lower prices since institutions have chosen a few products such as coffee and perhaps snacks.

:small_blue_diamond: One can enjoy a cup of coffee for as little as 2 up to 10. At best cafes, if you pay for coffee using some credit cards, you save a few dollars. A good example of a credit card is Starbucks Visa Card Rewards is Chase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are some frequently asked questions related to the topic of restaurant or cafe

1. Is a cafe a restaurant?

Cafe is a restaurant that does not offer table services. Customers order their food over the counter and serve it to themselves. The cafe menu traditionally offers items such as coffee, espresso, cakes and sandwiches.

2. Is Starbucks a cafe or coffee shop?

As the world’s largest coffee restaurant, Starbucks appears to be the epitome of the second wave of the coffee culture. As of early 2020, the company operates in more than 30,000 locations worldwide in more than 70 countries.

3. Why is a cafe called a cafe?

The English word cafe to describe a restaurant that tends to serve coffee and snacks without the word coffee meaning drinks, is derived from a French restaurant. The first restaurant is believed to have opened in France in 1660.

4. What are the features of a cafe?

A good cafe should be able to provide its customers with more than just coffee. Their menu should also include a variety of good food. In addition to coffee, many fine cafes have a great selection of cakes and sandwiches.

5. What makes a good cafe?

Which in my opinion makes a good coffee shop is a convincing idea made in the same situation and place. The weather, great customer service and high-quality products create the experience the customer wants to have over and over again. Getting involved is key! Customer service is something we can never compromise on.


Two most known eating points in the world can be a restaurant or cafe. A restaurant or cafe is a great business opportunity. Personally, I like the cafe more than the restaurant. It allows me to take my time in the most relaxed environment. Also, I like coffee.

And while most people do not distinguish between the two, the above differences can be found between them. This article will be helpful at the same time and you can now know if you are eating at a restaurant or cafe.