13/4/18 Difference between Cafe and Cafeteria

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Key Difference: A café or cafe, is a word that refers to a place that offers coffee, tea and other such hot beverages. Cafeteria is a place where there is little to no staff and has mostly self service counters. These places are often found in large institutions such as schools, colleges, office buildings, etc.
The terms café and cafeteria can seem quite similar as the words café are actually a part of the word cafeteria. However, what these words mean are miles apart. Cafés are completely different from cafeteria in today’s day and age.
A café or cafe, is a word that refers to a place that offers coffee, tea and other such hot beverages. If someone were to paint a picture of a perfect café or coffee shop, it would include comfy chairs, tables, sofas, a bookshelf, and a counter where various different types of coffee and other such beverages can be ordered. The purpose of a coffee shop was to meet up friends for a cup of coffee. The place also offers light foods that can accompany coffee and tea such as sandwiches, biscuits, pastries, wraps, etc. These days coffee houses have also expanded to include cold beverages such as smoothies and juices. Café’s may or may not offer alcoholic beverages; depending on the place it is located. In many Middle Eastern countries, cafes also offer hookahs to its clientele.
Cafeteria is a place where there is little to no staff and has mostly self service counters. These places are often found in large institutions such as schools, colleges, office buildings, etc. The place is mostly filled with many small tables and chairs and food counter or counters are available near walls. Cafeterias mostly resemble food courts in the mall. A person is expected to order their food at the counter and then pay for it. There are two ways a counter could be set up, a person could walk around and get whatever he likes and then pay for it, or it can be in a buffet style where he pays for it once and is eligible for second helpings. In certain office cafeterias, people can pay per product or they can pay by weight. The term ‘cafeteria’ is adapted from American Spanish word ‘cafetería’ meaning “coffee house” and French ‘cafetière’ from ‘café’. However, in English usage, the term cafeteria is reserved for these institutions, while ‘café’ is reserved for coffee houses.
The main difference between the two is one place provides coffee and similar hot beverages and is made for comfort, the other is a place that is strictly for eating and nothing else. Cafés have limited food options, while cafeterias many have multiple food options (in the case of department stores or office complex) or limited food options (in case of schools or college).

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