Restaurant vs cafe- 15 Big Differences you don’t know Before

What is the difference between a cafe and a restaurant? This is an often asked question. Both serve food and drinks.

Think about it…

If you’re digging for a superb cup of coffee, you might think a coffeehouse is the best place to go. But if you’re looking for a meal, a restaurant might be a better choice- from there, the fight between Restaurant vs cafe comes first.

This is not the end here… There are more than 15 differences between restaurants and cafes. 

I mention this in detail below.

If you are in a hurry, Here’s a look at the dissimilarity between the two types of establishments and what you can expect from each.

A Quick Table on Restaurants VS Cafes

1st establish 1765 -17661632
Types7 types & more than 11 variationsMore than 10 types & variations
Seating CapacityMore than 100 More than 50, less than 100
Area in SizeVery bigger than CafeSmall to medium
AmbianceGreat for Dining PlaceCasual, eating & chilling place
Popular ForTons of food items from almost Every cuisineCoffee & Coffee Variations
Food ServeThere are so many foods to offer from starters to the whole mealCoffee, Coffee like Brevarages, sandwiches, Pastry
AtmosphereNoisy and Rush hourQuite & shooting for spending time
Menu ItemsYou can get more than 100 itemsLess than 30
ServisSomeone serve youSelf-service
ExpensesExpensive than cafeCheap to affordable

What’s the difference between a cafe and a restaurant?

There is a big difference between coffeehouses and restaurants in food menus, items, sitting capacity, popularity, and many more. Let’s look more closely at what distinguishes them.

Comparison Between Restaurants and Cafes By Origin

Cafe: The word cafe comes from the French word café, meaning coffee, which derives from the Arabic qahwah. 

Coffeehouses in the Middle East and West Asian immigrant districts in the Western world.

The first cafe in Europe is believed to have opened in Venice in 1683. The first coffeehouses in England appeared around 1650. By the early 18th century, coffeehouses had become popular meeting places for artists, intellectuals, and politicians. 

In America, the first coffeehouse was established in Boston in 1676. These early coffeehouses were simple affairs, serving little more than coffee and biscuits. But as they became more popular, they began to offer a broader range of food and drink and provide entertainment such as music and poetry readings.

Today, cafes can be found all over the world, serving a variety of food and drink. They are still popular meeting places for people from all walks of life.

Restaurant: The restaurant industry has come a long way since its humble beginnings. The first restaurants were probably in China and date back around 2000 B.C.E. These early eateries were called “Jia,” which means “house of stalls.”

They were essentially food stands that served simple meals like rice and noodles to travelers and workers in the city.

Eventually, the restaurant concept spread to other parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In ancient Rome, there were “Thermopolis,” or hot food counters, where people could buy cooked dishes.

And in medieval Europe, there were ” taverns” where people went to drink beer and wine. These early restaurants were often crude affairs, with little more than a counter and a few stools or chairs.

Restaurant VS Café by Defination

What are restaurants?

Restaurants are businesses that prepare and serve food and drinks to customers. 

A restaurant is a place where people go to eat food. Typically, the cuisine is cooked by a chef and served by waiters. Restaurants can be found in almost every city and town. 

They arrive in all shapes and sizes, from small cafes to large formal dining rooms. The word “restaurant” is French for “to restore,” which means that the first restaurants were places where people went to get their strength back after a long day of work. 

Today, restaurants are places where people go to enjoy good food and good company.

In most cases, restaurants also provide services such as table service, where customers can order and pay for their food at their table. 

Some restaurants also provide take-out and delivery. Restaurants vary greatly in terms of size, menu, and type of service they offer.

What is the definition of a cafe?

A cafe is a variety of restaurants that specializes in coffee and pastries.

Cafes are usually small, intimate places that offer a cozy atmosphere for customers to enjoy their food and drinks. Some cafes may also have outdoor seating areas where customers can people-watch or enjoy the fresh air.

Most cafes serve breakfast items such as eggs, bacon, toast, oatmeal, and pastries. They also offer lunch items such as sandwiches, salads, soup, and pasta. In addition, many cafes now offer a variety of specialty coffees and teas.

Cafes have played an essential role in the social and cultural life of many countries worldwide. They continue to be popular gathering places for people of all ages and from all walks of life.

cafe vs restaurant

Café VS Restaurant by types

What are the types of cafés?

Cafés come in various styles, each with its distinct ambiance and menu. The following are some of the most familiar types of cafés:

1. Coffeehouses: These cafés typically focus on serving high-quality coffee and offer a relaxed atmosphere for customers to enjoy it. They may also offer light food options like pastries or sandwiches.

2. Internet Cafés: As the name suggests, these cafés offer customers access to the internet, often along with other amenities like printing services and computer rentals.

3. Bubble Tea Shops: Bubble tea is a cold beverage that originated in Taiwan and typically contains tea, milk, and chewy tapioca balls. Many bubble tea shops also serve light snacks.

Also, Juice bars offer a variety of fresh, healthy juices and smoothies as well as light food options like salads or wraps. Dessert Cafés focus on serving sweet treats like cake, ice cream, and cookies. They may also offer savory items like sandwiches or soups. And many more.

What are the types of restaurants?

Several types of restaurants include fast food, casual dining, and fine dining. Fast food restaurants are usually less expensive and offer quick service. 

Casual dining restaurants are typically more moderately priced and have a more relaxed atmosphere. Fine dining restaurants are usually the most expensive and offer a more formal dining experience.

The most common type is the full-service restaurant, which offers table service and a variety of menu items. Full-service restaurants are typically more expensive than other types of restaurants. They are usually found in hotels, resorts, or upscale shopping malls.

Cafeterias, buffet restaurants, and take-out restaurants are other types of restaurants that are less common than full-service or fast-food restaurants. 

Cafeterias serve food prepared in advance and served from a buffet line. Buffet restaurants are similar to cafeterias but typically offer a wider variety of menu items. Take-out restaurants only offer take-out service; customers cannot eat their food on the premises.


Name Suggestion: Restaurant VS Coffeehouse

Why is it called a cafe?

A cafe is a place where people can buy coffee and pastries.

A cafe is a great place to take a break from shopping or sightseeing. You can sit and unwind with a cup of coffee and a snack. Cafes are also excellent places to catch up with friends.

If you’re looking for a quick bite, most cafes offer sandwiches and other light meals. And, of course, no cafe would be complete without a selection of delicious desserts.

Why is it called a restaurant?

A restaurant is a spot where somebody can go to eat food. The term “restaurant” comes from the French word “restaurer,” which means “to restore.” This is because restaurants were initially placed people could go to get a good meal and be restored or refreshed. 

Difference Between Restaurants and Cafes by Foods Serve, menu items, services…

What do cafes serve?

Coffee and coffee-related beverages, tea, hot chocolate, lattes, cappuccinos, smoothies, cold drinks, snacks, pastries, and sandwiches.

Some cafes also offer breakfast items such as eggs, bacon, toast, or oatmeal. 

Others may have lunch menu items like soup, salads, or Panini sandwiches. And some cafes even offer dinner items like pasta dishes or burgers. So really, it just depends on the cafe and what they choose to serve.

What do restaurants serve?

Restaurants typically serve a variety of food items, including appetizers, main course meals, sides, and desserts. 

Some restaurants also offer drinks and beverages and serve heartier meals such as steaks, seafood, and pasta dishes.

Most restaurants have a menu that lists all the food items they serve. Some restaurant menus also include pictures of the dishes.

Environment: Restaurant VS Cafe

Cafes and restaurants are two different types of food service businesses. Both these businesses offer food and drinks to customers, but there are some key differences between them. 

The main difference between a cafe and a restaurant is that cafes typically have a more casual atmosphere than restaurants.

As you can see, there are some important differences between restaurants and cafes. Choosing the right environment for your needs is crucial when dining out. 

A restaurant is typically the better choice if you want a more formal dining experience. If you’re looking for a more casual atmosphere, on the other hand, a cafe might be a better option.

Also, the ambiance of Restaurants is more noisy and chaotic than the cafe.

Comparison between Cafe and Restaurant by their popularity

The cafe is more popular than a restaurant. There are a few reasons for this. Coffee is typically cheaper than meals at restaurants. Cafes are more relaxed and comfortable places to hang out than restaurants. 

People usually go to cafes to socialize with friends, while restaurants are considered more of a date night destination.

Other Facts: Cafe VS Restaurant

What makes a café a café?

What sets a café apart from a regular restaurant is its focus on providing a comfortable place for people to gather and relax. The atmosphere of a café is usually more casual than a restaurant’s, and the menu is typically smaller and less expensive.

Cafés typically have outdoor seating areas where people can enjoy the weather and watch passersby. Many cafés also have indoor seating areas that offer a cozy place to relax and chat with friends. Wi-Fi access is often available, making cafés popular places to work or study.

What makes a restaurant a restaurant?

Many variables contribute to what defines a restaurant. Restaurants typically serve food and drinks to customers. 

Second, restaurants usually have a designated area for dining. Restaurants typically have staff members who help to run the business. 

All of these factors work together to create an environment where people can go to enjoy a meal or snack.

Size Comparison between Restaurants and coffeehouse

It is generally safe to say that restaurants are larger than coffeehouses. This is partly because restaurants typically offer a wider range of menu items than coffeehouses, which often focus on coffee and other beverages. 

Additionally, restaurants tend to have more seating capacity than coffeehouses, as they need to accommodate larger parties of diners. 

While there is no hard and fast rule, restaurants are often more popular than coffeehouses.

What are the most popular restaurants and cafés in the world?

There are many popular restaurants and cafés worldwide. Still, some of the most well-known restaurants include McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, K.F.C. Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Domino’s Pizza. 

Some of the most well-known Cafes include Starbucks Coffee Costa Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Caffè Nero, Pret a Manger, Panera Bread, Tim Hortons, Caribou Coffee, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

These restaurants and cafés offer a variety of menu items that appeal to a wide range of customers, and they are also convenient locations for people on the go.


Is a cafe considered a restaurant?

Yes, a cafe is considered a restaurant. Cafes usually serve coffee, tea, and light snacks, but some cafes also offer full meals. The term “cafe” is derived from the French word for “coffee,” which is “café.” 

In France, a cafe is more of a coffee shop than a restaurant, but in many other countries around the world, cafes are considered to be restaurants. 

So, whether you’re looking for a quick cup of coffee or a full meal, you can find it at a cafe. 

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Bottom Line: Cafe vS Restaurant vS Bistro

There are many different dining establishments, each with its unique atmosphere and menu. When deciding where to eat, it’s important to know the difference between a cafe, a restaurant, and a bistro.

A cafe is a casual dining spot perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely meal. The menus at cafes tend to be smaller than those of restaurants, and they often specialize in coffee, pastries, and light fare such as sandwiches.

A restaurant is a more formal dining establishment that serves various hot meals. The menu options are usually much larger at a restaurant than at a cafe, and the atmosphere is usually more upscale.

A bistro is similar to a restaurant, but the menu is usually smaller, and the atmosphere is more casual. Bistros are often known for their unique wines, beers, and signature dishes.

When choosing a dining spot, you must consider what type of experience you’re looking for. A cafe is a perfect choice if you want a quick snack or coffee. For a more formal meal, go to a restaurant.

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FAQs Relate on Cafe and Restaurant

Q. Are cafes and restaurants the same?

No, cafes and restaurants are not the same, but a cafe is a type of restaurant. 

Cafes are typically smaller, and they serve coffee and pastries. Restaurants are larger, and they serve a wider variety of food.
Cafes are typically smaller than restaurants, and they serve coffee and pastries.

Restaurants are usually more extensive and serve a wider variety of food. Cafes are more casual than restaurants and often don’t have waiters or servers. Customers order at the counter and then take their seats.

Restaurants are usually more formal than cafes, and they often have waiters or servers who take orders and bring food to the table. 

Restaurants usually have a wider variety of menu items than cafes, including entrees, side dishes, and desserts. And while some cafes may offer a limited selection of alcoholic beverages, restaurants usually have a full bar.

Q. Does café mean cafeteria?

No, the word “café” does not mean “cafeteria.” A café is a type of restaurant that typically serves coffee and other light refreshments. 

On the other hand, Cafeterias are usually self-service food establishments found in schools, hospitals, and other institutional settings. 

While cafés may offer some hot food items, they are not as comprehensive as a cafeteria.

Q. What is the difference between Resto and a restaurant?

The main difference between Resto and a restaurant is that Resto offers a more casual dining experience, while restaurants are typically more formal. 

Resto also offers a smaller menu with fewer choices than most restaurants. It derives from the French word “restauration,” meaning “the act of restoring.”

A restaurant is a business that provides food and drinks services to the public. A Resto is a specific restaurant genre characterized by fine dining, an intimate setting, and often high prices. 
However, both Resto and restaurants offer fresh, made-to-order food.

Q. Is Starbucks a cafe or restaurant?

This is a difficult question to answer. While Starbucks is often thought of as a coffee shop or cafe, it is technically classified as a restaurant. This is because Starbucks serves food and drinks, and customers can sit and consume their orders on the premises. 

However, some key differences between Starbucks and traditional restaurants set it apart from other eateries.

For one, Starbucks focuses primarily on coffee and other beverages. While it offers various food items, such as pastries and sandwiches, its menu is not as extensive as that of a typical restaurant. 

Starbucks does not have waitstaff who take orders and bring food to customers’ tables; instead, customers generally place their own orders at the counter and then retrieve their food and drinks when they are ready. 

Starbucks typically does not have table service; customers take their orders to go or consume them at one of the cafe’s many standing tables or counters.

So, while Starbucks may technically be a restaurant, it is certainly not your typical dining establishment. Whether you consider it a coffee shop, cafe, or restaurant, one thing is for sure: Starbucks is a popular destination for caffeine lovers and foodies alike!

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