self-service restaurant in which customers select various dishes from an open-counter display. The food is usually placed on a tray, paid for at a cashier's station, and carried to a dining table by the customer. The modern cafeteria, designed to facilitate a smooth flow of patrons, is particularly well-adapted to the needs of institutions-schools, hospitals, corporations-attempting to serve large numbers of people efficiently and inexpensively. In addition to providing quick service, the cafeteria requires fewer service personnel than most other commercial eating establishments.
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