Difference between Restaurant and Café

Eating out has always been an everyday activity among people. Two common establishments people prefer going for a bite include restaurants and cafés. If you want a coffee, you would undoubtedly go to a café. What if you want coffee with breakfast? Do you have to stop at a café before visiting a restaurant? Or would you go for a place that serves both? Do restaurants serve coffee? While both of these establishments belong to the same industry, there are factual differences that differentiate restaurants from cafes significantly. What makes a restaurant different from a café?

Continue reading our article for the answers.

What are cafes? 

Cafes are known for selling beverages, especially coffee. In addition to that, many cafes also serve bakery items, snacks, and other small dishes. The most standout point of cafes is that they have professional espresso machines, which you may not find in a restaurant.

Most cafes serve food that pairs well with coffee. Therefore, it won’t be hard for you to find a restaurant serving breakfast, light lunches, and confectionary items. Cafes often open earlier than restaurants, typically during morning hours, and close by evening.

If you like a calm and noise-less ambiance to have a good time with your loved ones or colleagues, a café should be the perfect place for you.

What are Restaurants?

Restaurants come with different types of ambiance, food choices, and budget options. If you want to grab a quick bite on your way to the office, you can go to a fast-food restaurant. Meanwhile, if you want a classy and thematic fine dining experience, you must reserve a table earlier. Generally, you can reverse a table at a fancy restaurant 1-2 days earlier. However, you have to book it as early as a week during the holiday season.

The experience of a fast-food is similar to a café. If it’s a sit-down restaurant, you can order your food by sitting at your table. Many sit-in restaurants have wait staff to assist you with plating, serving, and other relevant tasks.

Unless you opt for a brunch or breakfast restaurant, most restaurants generally serve during lunch and dinner hours. Limited hours are pretty standard in upscale places.

Difference between Restaurant and Café

Food MenuFast-food restaurants serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Restaurants are offers a diverse range of foods starting from beverages, starters, main course to desserts.Usually coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lemonade and other beverages. You will also find pastries, snacks, breakfast items, brunch items, and other food items. 
Alcohol in MenuMost restaurants serves beer and some even serves hard drinks.Only a handful of establishments offer beer.
AmbienceDepends on the type of restaurants you visit. A fast-food restaurant is usually busy while an upscale restaurant offers privacy and peaceful experience.Cafes are often peaceful and have a great seating arrangement for a conversation. Overall, the ambience is quite relaxing.
SpaceAn average small-sized restaurant can accommodate around 100-150 people. While a fancy restaurant have more floor and moving space.Most cafes have smaller floor space, accommodating around 20-30 person at a time.
ServingAt restaurants, you can expect food at your table. The server will come to your table to take your order.Cafes are usually self-service. Meaning, you have to place your order at the coffer bar and pick the food by yourself to your own table. Some cafes do have servers, but you will find that very rare.
Giving tipsAlthough you are not legally mandated to pay a tip, but not paying it can be considered rude, especially If there is a wait staff for you. The standard rate of tips is 15 percent of the total bill, while 18-25 percent is a good rule of thumb.  It is not rude to not offer tips to the server. However, 70 percent of people do give tips when they pick their food from the barista. Most café has a tip jar next to the coffee bar where people tips with the change they get from the order.
PricingVisiting a restaurant will cost you more as there are more food types available. The food menu are also pricier in restaurants as it cost them more to upkeep a larger building, pay kitchen staff and servers.Cafes are usually cheaper, but it depends on the food you order. Based on the location and ambience, cafes will charges you prices similar to restaurants.


Restaurants and cafes both offer food and beverages, and some even serve alcohol. If you want to grab a quick bite, you can go to a café or a fast-food restaurant. Due to their quiet ambiance, they are great for holding business meetings, going on a date, and even gossiping with your friends. A restaurant is an establishment that people usually go to if they crave a good meal or want to try a new meal or something refreshing.

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