A restaurant prepares and serves food, drink and dessert to customers. 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 cuisines and service models.
While inns and taverns were known from antiquity, these were establishments aimed at travellers, and in general locals would rarely eat there. Modern restaurants, as businesses dedicated to the serving of food, and where specific dishes are ordered by the guest and generally prepared according to this order, emerged only in 18th-century Europe, although similar establishments had also developed in China.
A restaurant owner is called a restaurateur; both words derive from the French verb restaurer, meaning "to restore". Professional artisans of cooking are called chefs, while prep staff and line cooks prepare food items in a more systematic and less artistic fashion.