A restaurant is a business establishment that serves prepared meals and beverages on the premises in exchange for a payment.

The food is usually prepared by a chef. The term covers a multiplicity of places and a great diversity of types of cuisine , both local and foreign.

The restaurants are sometimes the device reserved for serving meals within a larger entity (hotel, university, airport), we speak then of collective restaurant as opposed to the kitchen site. They can also be associated with a catering or grocery business.

The restaurant offers more or less comfortable conditions, and the restaurant is called «fast» when the customer can order and eat in minutes or tens of minutes, possibly standing.


The word restaurant comes from the verb «restore» means the xii th century «rehabilitate», «stand back up.»

From the beginning of the xvi th century, the term «restaurant», is a food sense to designate a «food tonic». In the middle of the xvii th century, the term refers more specifically to a «restaurant broth from concentrate gravy» and, from the middle of the xviii th century, the place which ensures the sale.

What is restaurant?

The restoration activity existed long before the use of the term «restaurant» in places where passengers were served food to drink, sometimes offering them also rest and a service for their teams.

Apart from the status of traveler and urban, the concept of eating in front of strangers, alone or with family, outside of his home and outside the holidays, is virtually unthinkable before modern times: this point is fundamental on the Anthropological plan, not only in the West.

Hōshi Ryokan , opened in 717 in Japan , is the oldest inn in the world still in operation. The Stiftskeller St. Peter in Salzburg was quoted for the first time according to a document from Alcuin dating from 803.

If this quote is proven, it is probably the oldest restaurant in the world still in operation; initially monastery then hostel, it nevertheless has no more hotel activity. In France, La Couronne , a Norman inn located in Rouen opened in 1345; the Hostellerie de la Croix d’Or (Provins), still in operation, opened as an inn in 1575.

According to historian Carolin C. Young, a lecturer at Oxford University from 2007 to 2010, some cafes are open in the 1450s in Turkey and Egypt.

This type of institution spread slowly in the cities of Europe, first Venice, then Vienna, until the 1650s when their development accelerates (Marseille, Lyon, Paris, Oxford).

The Coffee Procope, Created in 1686 in Paris, is the first «restaurant» in the modern sense, initially importing exotic product to eat in both sweet (Italian ice cream, cakes) and salted, and of course coffee.

At the Petite Chaise located 36 rue de Grenelle in Paris dates back to the year 1700 and was originally a wine cellar and a grocery store (hams, sausages), became tavernier under the Regence.

The Casa Botin , inn created in 1725 in Madrid , the foundations of the building date back to the end of the xvi th century, claims that the conversion of its innkeeper activity in restaurant is older than Café Procope, both being slow developments that are not precisely dated. Nevertheless the Café Procope has never had a hotel business, but only food.

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