Difference Between Cafe and Restaurant

Cafe vs Restaurant

Eating out has become very commonplace in the world today because of busy schedules people have. Busy lifestyles have meant that we have little time to be at home at the time of lunch and dinner forcing us to have a bite outside. Also, there are times when people decide to eat out for a change and to have a change in food served in eating places outside. Two common eating joints around the world are restaurants and cafes. Many people find difficult to differentiate between these two eating places because of their similarities. This article attempts to highlight differences between a café and a restaurant.


If you look up the dictionary, café is defined as a type of restaurant that has an enclosed serving place but mostly having an outdoor section to let customers enjoy their coffee and snacks in the open. The word café comes from coffee, and this is reflected in the focus of the management on serving coffee varieties to the customers. Café refers to an establishment where people come primarily to have their coffee. In US, though, a café means an informal restaurant where food is served, mainly burgers and sandwiches.


Restaurant is a French word that refers to places where food and drinks are served to customers. It is a commercial establishment where a customer can not only buy meals, he can also eat these meals in style. The food served at a restaurant is not ready-made and usually prepared and served after a customer orders from a menu. These days home deliveries have also started from restaurants though mostly people come and sit, waiting for their orders to be prepared and served by waiters or waitresses.


What is the difference between Cafe and 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

• There is a greater variety of foods in a restaurant than in a café

• 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 café.