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A canteen is a place where inexpensive meals are served, typically located in a school, factory, or hospital.
Ex: Henry usually brings lunch from home because he has a lot of allergies and can't eat what they serve at the school canteen.
Ex: Rosie eats lunch at the factory canteen everyday because workers get a discount, so it's the most affordable option.
American English speakers use cafeteria instead of canteen to refer to inexpensive restaurants in schools and hospitals. Canteen may occasionally be used by American English speakers, but only to refer to such restaurants that are located on military installations. Canteen also refers to a container that hold water.
Ex: On her first day of school, Cady was worried because she didn't know who to sit with in the cafeteria during lunch.
Ex: Make sure to bring a canteen with you on the hike, because we'll be walking for a long time and you don't want to get dehydrated.


A café is a restaurant that serves coffee, tea, other beverages, baked goods, and light meals such as sandwiches or salads.
Ex: Caroline and Francesca often meet up with each other at a café to study for their final exams over coffee.
Ex: This café is always so busy. It's hard to get a table because so many people who telework bring their laptops and spend hours sitting there working.
A transport café, in British English, or truck stop, in American English, is a commercial area located on or near a busy road that has a gas station, parking, and typically a restaurant so that motorists and truck drivers can stop to refuel, eat, or rest.
Ex: Long-distance lorry drivers will typically eat all their meals at the inexpensive restaurants in transport cafés.
Ex: In the United States, truck stops typically do not offer lodging, but some longdistance truck drivers park overnight and sleep in a compartment in their truck.
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