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definitions - restaurant

restaurant (n.)

1.a building where people go to eat

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Merriam Webster

RestaurantRes"tau*rant (r?s"t?*r?nt;277), n. [F., fr. restaurer. See Restore.] An eating house.

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definition of Wikipedia

synonyms - restaurant


-Ad Hoc (restaurant) • Alex (restaurant) • Alice's Restaurant • Alice's Restaurant (album) • Alice's Restaurant (film) • Alinea (restaurant) • Amber (restaurant) • Amigo (restaurant) • Aquarium Restaurant • Arni's Restaurant • Bakers Square Restaurant • Baton Rouge (restaurant) • Beefeater (restaurant) • Bickford's (restaurant) • Black-eyed Pea (restaurant) • Blindekuh (restaurant) • Bloom's restaurant • Boll Weevil (restaurant) • Brown's Restaurant • Buffet restaurant • Bukhara (restaurant) • Bullwinkle's Restaurant • Cafe (British restaurant) • Café de Coral (restaurant) • Campisi's Egyptian Restaurant • Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association • Cantonese restaurant • Caprice (restaurant) • Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant • Carnivore (restaurant) • Carrols Restaurant Group • Carrows Hickory Chip Restaurant • Carrows Restaurant • Casa Bonita (restaurant chain) • Cedarvale Botanic Garden and Restaurant • Cheeseburger in Paradise (restaurant) • Chicken Licken (restaurant) • Chinese restaurant • Clock (restaurant) • Clyde's Restaurant Group • Coco's Bakery Restaurant • Cook Out (restaurant) • Cosplay restaurant • Così (restaurant) • Cranks restaurant • D.O.M. (restaurant) • Desert Inn and Restaurant • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant • Driftwood Inn and Restaurant • Earl of Sandwich (restaurant) • El Chico (restaurant) • El Fenix (restaurant) • Everest (Chicago restaurant) • Fairwood (restaurant) • Fast food restaurant • Fleur de Lys (restaurant) • Forum Restaurant • Fran's Restaurant • Gallagher's Restaurant • Gambero Rosso (restaurant) • Gargiulo's Italian Restaurant • Gertrude's Restaurant • Golden Dragon Restaurant (San Francisco) • Granita (restaurant) • Greco Pizza Restaurant • Greens Restaurant • Harvester (restaurant) • Henny Penny (restaurant) • Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management • Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union • Hungry Bear Restaurant • Imperial Dynasty restaurant • Islands (restaurant) • Jack Dempsey's Broadway Restaurant • Jack-in-the-Box (restaurant) • Juban's Restaurant • KLG (restaurant chain) • Kiev Restaurant • Kim Sơn (restaurant) • Komi (restaurant) • Krystal (restaurant) • La Belle Province (restaurant) • La Imperial (restaurant) • La Mon restaurant bombing • Les Ambassadeurs (restaurant) • List of caricatures at Sardi's restaurant • List of restaurant chains • Long Beach Seafood Restaurant • Lumière (restaurant) • Lundy's Restaurant • Lutèce (restaurant) • Mai-Kai Restaurant • March 9, 2004 attack of Istanbul restaurant • Margaritas (New England restaurant chain) • Masa (restaurant) • Maxim restaurant suicide bombing • Metromedia Restaurant Group • Michael Jordan's Restaurant • Miguel's Restaurant • Mikes (restaurant) • Milk Farm Restaurant • Moby Dick (restaurant) • Morton's Restaurant Group • Moto (restaurant) • Mr. Lee (restaurant) • Mr. Mike's (restaurant) • Mykonos restaurant assassinations • National Restaurant Association • New York Restaurant Week • Newport Restaurant • Ninety Nine Restaurant • Noma (restaurant) • OSI Restaurant Partners • Old Town Bar and Restaurant • Oleo Strut (restaurant) • Oporto (restaurant) • Panda Express Restaurant • Panic Restaurant • Passione (restaurant) • Pasta Pomodoro (restaurant) • Penn Station (restaurant) • Per Se (restaurant) • Perkins Restaurant • Perkins Restaurant and Bakery • Pharmacy (restaurant) • Pierre (restaurant) • Ponderosa (restaurant) • Prezzo (restaurant) • RTM Restaurant Group • Ram's Horn (restaurant) • Rax (restaurant) • Red Square (restaurant) • Restaurant (disambiguation) • Restaurant (film) • Restaurant Brands • Restaurant Empire • Restaurant Row • Restaurant Row (Beverly Hills) • Restaurant Row (New York City) • Restaurant at the End of the Universe • Restaurant magazine • Restaurant management • Restaurant media • Restaurant rating • Reuben's Restaurant • Riverside Restaurant • Rockpool (restaurant) • Royal Dragon Restaurant • Ruby Tuesday (restaurant) • Rusty Pelican restaurant • Salisbury House (restaurant) • Salisbury House restaurant • Salumi (restaurant) • Sam Woo Restaurant • Santa Barbara Restaurant Group • Santa Barbara Restaurant Group, Inc. • Scenes from an Italian Restaurant • Shish Mahal (restaurant) • Signatures Restaurant • Sketch (restaurant) • Smoke-free restaurant • Spangles (restaurant) • Specialty Restaurant Group • St John (restaurant) • Star Seafood Floating Restaurant • Starr Restaurant Organization • Stars (restaurant) • Subway (restaurant) • Sukiya (restaurant chain) • Sunset Grill (restaurant) • Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Workers' Union • Sylvia's Restaurant of Harlem • Ted's Restaurant • The Berghoff (restaurant) • The Blue Lagoon (restaurant) • The Chinese Restaurant • The Four Seasons Restaurant • The Melting Pot (restaurant) • The Pantry (restaurant) • The Restaurant • The Restaurant (U.S. TV series) • The Restaurant (UK TV series) • The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe • The Spaghetti Warehouse Restaurant • Tip-Top Restaurant • Todai (restaurant) • Tom Aikens (restaurant) • Tom's Restaurant • Tony Roma's Restaurant • Tony Roma's restaurant • Toots Shor's Restaurant • Topper's Pizza (Canadian restaurant) • Underground restaurant • Valentine (restaurant) • Versailles restaurant • Weber Grill Restaurant • White Castle (restaurant) • Wienerwald (restaurant)

analogical dictionary



  Tom's Restaurant in Manhattan was made internationally famous by Seinfeld
  Workers in the kitchen at Delmonico's Restaurant, New York City, 1902.

A restaurant (play /ˈrɛstərənt/ or /ˈrɛstərɒnt/; French: [ʁɛs.tɔ.ʁɑ̃]) is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money, either paid before the meal, after the meal, or with a running tab. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services. Restaurants vary greatly in appearance and offerings, including a wide variety of the main chef's cuisines and service models.

While inns and taverns were known from antiquity, these were establishments aimed at travelers, and in general locals would rarely eat there. Modern restaurants are dedicated to the serving of food, where specific dishes are ordered by guests and are prepared to their request. The modern restaurant originated in 18th century France, although precursors can be traced back to Roman times.[1]

A restaurant owner is called a restaurateur (play /ˌrɛstərəˈtɜr/); both words derive from the French verb restaurer, meaning "to restore". Professional artisans of cooking are called chefs, while preparation staff and line cooks prepare food items in a more systematic and less artistic fashion.



  A Roman Thermopolium in Pompeii.

In Ancient Rome, thermopolia (singular thermopolium) were small restaurant-bars which offered food and drinks to the customer. A typical thermopolium had L-shaped counters into which large storage vessels were sunk, which would contain either hot or cold food. They are linked to the absence of kitchens in many dwellings and the ease with which people could purchase prepared foods. Furthemore, eating out was considered an important aspect of socialising.

In Pompeii, 158 thermopolia with a service counter have been identified across the whole town area. They were concentrated along the main axes of the town and the public spaces where they were frequented by the locals.[2]

Food catering establishments which may be described as restaurants were known since the 11th century in Kaifeng, China's northern capital during the first half of the Song Dynasty (960–1279). With a population of over 1,000,000 people, a culture of hospitality and a paper currency, Kaifeng was ripe for the development of restaurants. Probably growing out of the tea houses and taverns that catered to travellers, Kaifeng's restaurants blossomed into an industry catering to locals as well as people from other regions of China.[3] Stephen H. West argues that there is a direct correlation between the growth of the restaurant businesses and institutions of theatrical stage drama, gambling and prostitution which served the burgeoning merchant middle class during the Song Dynasty.[4]

Restaurants catered to different styles of cuisine, price brackets, and religious requirements. Even within a single restaurant much choice was available, and people ordered the entree they wanted from written menus.[3] An account from 1275 writes of Hangzhou, the capital city for the last half of the dynasty:

"The people of Hangzhou are very difficult to please. Hundreds of orders are given on all sides: this person wants something hot, another something cold, a third something tepid, a fourth something chilled; one wants cooked food, another raw, another chooses roast, another grill".[5]

The restaurants in Hangzhou also catered to many northern Chinese who had fled south from Kaifeng during the Jurchen invasion of the 1120s, while it is also known that many restaurants were run by families formerly from Kaifeng.[6]


  Barnum's City Hotel restaurant menu (January 18, 1860)
  Restaurants on Greek islands are often situated right on the beach. This is an example from Astipalea.

Restaurants range from unpretentious lunching or dining places catering to people working nearby, with simple food served in simple settings at low prices, to expensive establishments serving refined food and wines in a formal setting. In the former case, customers usually wear casual clothing. In the latter case, depending on culture and local traditions, customers might wear semi-casual, semi-formal, or formal wear.

Typically, customers sit at tables, their orders are taken by a waiter, who brings the food when it is ready, and the customers pay the bill before leaving. In finer restaurants there will be a host or hostess or even a maître d'hôtel to welcome customers and to seat them. Other staff waiting on customers includes busboy and sommeliers.

Restaurants often specialize in certain types of food or present a certain unifying, and often entertaining, theme. For example, there are seafood restaurants, vegetarian restaurants or ethnic restaurants. Generally speaking, restaurants selling food characteristic of the local culture are simply called restaurants, while restaurants selling food of foreign cultural origin are called ethnic restaurants.

Restaurants may also be classified on the structure of their menu or the style of offering food. For example, one might choose a tapas bar, a sushi train, a tastet restaurant, a buffet restaurant or a yum cha restaurant not only for the type of cuisine but for the way it is offered.

For some time the travelling public has been catered for with ship's messes and railway restaurant cars which are, in effect, travelling restaurants. (Many railways, the world over, also cater for the needs of travellers by providing Raiway Refreshment Rooms [a form of restaurant] at railway stations.) In recent times there has been a trend to create a number of travelling restaurants, specifically designed for tourists. These can be found on such diverse places as trams, boats, buses, etc.


Depending on local customs and the establishment, restaurants may or may not serve alcohol. Restaurants are often prohibited from selling alcohol without a meal by alcohol sale laws; such sale is considered to be activity for bars, which are meant to have more severe restrictions. Some restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol ("fully licensed"), and/or permit customers to "bring your own" alcohol (BYO / BYOB).[citation needed] In some places restaurant licenses may restrict service to beer, or wine and beer.[citation needed]


  Restaurants offering ethnic food have increased in North America, the UK and Australia in the past few decades. One of many Italian restaurants in the Heights commercial district of North Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

Restaurant guides review restaurants, often ranking them or providing information for consumer decisions (type of food, handicap accessibility, facilities, etc.). One of the most famous contemporary guides, in Western Europe, is the Michelin series of guides which accord from 1 to 3 stars to restaurants they perceive to be of high culinary merit. Restaurants with stars in the Michelin guide are formal, expensive establishments; in general the more stars awarded, the higher the prices.

The main competitor to the Michelin guide in Europe is the guidebook series published by Gault Millau. Unlike the Michelin guide which takes the restaurant décor and service into consideration with its rating, Gault Millau only judges the quality of the food. Its ratings are on a scale of 1 to 20, with 20 being the highest.

In the United States, the Forbes Travel Guide (previously the Mobil travel guides) and the AAA rate restaurants on a similar 1 to 5 star (Forbes) or diamond (AAA) scale. Three, four, and five star/diamond ratings are roughly equivalent to the Michelin one, two, and three star ratings while one and two star ratings typically indicate more casual places to eat. In 2005, Michelin released a New York City guide, its first for the United States. The popular Zagat Survey compiles individuals' comments about restaurants but does not pass an "official" critical assessment. In the United States Gault Millau is published as the Gayot guide, after founder Andre Gayot. Its restaurant ratings use the same 20 point system, and are all published online.

The Good Food Guide, published by the Fairfax Newspaper Group in Australia, is the Australian guide listing the best places to eat. Chefs Hats are awarded for outstanding restaurants and range from one hat through three hats. The Good Food Guide also incorporates guides to bars, cafes and providers. The Good Restaurant Guide is another Australian restaurant guide that has reviews on the restaurants as experienced by the public and provides information on locations and contact details. Any member of the public can submit a review.

Nearly all major American newspapers employ food critics and publish online dining guides for the cities they serve. A few papers maintain a reputation for thorough and thoughtful review of restaurants to the standard of the good published guides, but others provide more of a listings service.

More recently Internet sites have started up that publish both food critic reviews and popular reviews by the general public such as RestaurantGuide.com and TheBigFork.com. Their major competition comes from bloggers, particularly publishers of food blogs, also called foodies. These writers and publishers represent the common dining aficionado rather than the gourmet, and thus do not provide "official" reviews, but nonetheless are capable of garnering large, loyal followings.[citation needed]


  Lunch at a restaurant on Queen Street in Toronto, Canada

  United States

As of 2006, there are approximately 215,000 full-service restaurants in the United States, accounting for $298 billion, and approximately 250,000 limited-service (fast food) restaurants, accounting for $260 billion.[clarification needed][7]

One study of new restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio found that 1 in 4 changed ownership or went out of business after one year, and 6 out of 10 did so after three years. (Not all changes in ownership are indicative of financial failure.)[8] The three-year failure rate for franchises was nearly the same.[9]


There are 86,915 commercial foodservice units in Canada, or 26.4 units per 10,000 Canadians. By segment, there are:[10]

  • 38,797 full-service restaurants
  • 34,629 limited-service restaurants
  • 741 contract and social caterers
  • 6,749 drinking places

Fully 63% of restaurants in Canada are independent brands. Chain restaurants account for the remaining 37%, and many of these are locally owned and operated franchises.[11]

  See also


  1. ^ Rebecca L. Spang, The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture (Harvard University Press, 2001), ISBN 978-0-674-00685-0
  2. ^ Ellis, Steven J. R. (2004): "The Distribution of Bars at Pompeii: Archaeological, Spatial and Viewshed Analyses", Journal of Roman Archaeology, Vol. 17, pp. 371–384 (374f.)
  3. ^ a b Gernet, 133.
  4. ^ West, 69–76.
  5. ^ Kiefer, 5–7.
  6. ^ Gernet, 133–134.
  7. ^ 2006 U.S. Industry & Market Outlook by Barnes Reports.
  8. ^ Kerry Miller, "The Restaurant Failure Myth", Business Week, April 16, 2007. Cites an article by H.G. Parsa in Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, published August, 2005.
  9. ^ Miller, "Failure Myth", page 2
  10. ^ CRFA’s Provincial InfoStats and Statistics Canada
  11. ^ ReCount/NPD Group and CRFA’s Foodservice Facts


  • Gernet, Jacques (translated by H. M. Wright) (1962), Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276, Stanford: Stanford University Press, ISBN 0-8047-0720-0
  • Haley, Andrew P. Turning the Tables: Restaurants and the Rise of the American Middle Class, 1880-1920 (University of North Carolina Press; 2011) 384 pp
  • Kiefer, Nicholas M. (August 2002). "Economics and the Origin of the Restaurant" (pdf). Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly,: pp 5–7. DOI:10.1177/0010880402434006. http://www.arts.cornell.edu/econ/kiefer/Restaurant.PDF. 
  • Lundberg, Donald E., The Hotel and Restaurant Business, Boston : Cahners Books, 1974. ISBN 0-8436-2044-7
  • Spang, Rebecca L. (2000), The Invention of the Restaurant, Harvard University Press
  • West, Stephen H. "Playing With Food: Performance, Food, and The Aesthetics of Artificiality in The Sung and Yuan", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (Volume 57, Number 1, 1997): 67–106.
  • Whitaker, Jan (2002), Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America", St. Martin's Press.
  • Fleury, Hélène (2007), "L'Inde en miniature à Paris. Le décor des restaurants", Diasporas indiennes dans la ville. Hommes et migrations (Number 1268-1269, 2007): 168-73.


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