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Did you know the word restaurant is derived from the French word restaurer which means to restore?The first French restaurants [pre-revolution] were not fancy gourmet establishments run by ex-aristocratic chefs.It was a coffee house, hence the word "cafe." Cafes were places educated people went to share ideas and new discoveries.Patrons spent several hours in these establishments in one "sitting." This trend caught on in Europe on the 17th century.
The genesis is quite interesting and not at all what most people expect.The French Revolution launched the modern the restaurant industry.It relaxed the legal rights of guilds that [since the Middle Ages] were licensed by the king to control specific foods [eg.Such tavern-restaurants existed not only in France but also in other countries.In Germany, Austria, and Alsace, Brauereien and Weinstuben served delicatessen, sauerkraut, and cheese, for example; in Spain bodegas served tapas.