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I am looking for a hypernym for all places that provide food, beverages, or both, of any quality or price — such as restaurant, cafe, fast-food and so on.

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Some common informal and slangy terms are "eatery", "beanery", and just a few from M-W.com online: cafeteria, lunch counter, luncheonette, lunchroom, snack bar; greasy spoon, hash house; chophouse, steak house; pizzeria; coffeehouse, coffee shop, estaminet, teahouse, tearoom, tea shop [chiefly British]; bar, barroom, inn, tavern. But you can look these up yourself at Dictionary.com. They have a wonderful thesaurus. –  user21497 Nov 10 '12 at 14:08
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The name of the industry in the US is “food service” (or “foodservice”); according to Wikipedia the corresponding term in BE is “catering industry”. Within the industry, individual outlets are “food service operations”.

In ordinary speech the most ‘generic’ term is “restaurant”, which embraces both ‘sit-down’ (table service) establishments and fast-food outlets, but tends to exclude institutional operations such as hospital or corporate cafeterias. “Eatery” is sometimes used, but it’s old-fashioned and implies a down-scale establishment; referring to a Michelin-starred restaurant as an “eatery” would be distinctly jocular.

Travel guides, newspapers and the like will often use verbal headings: “Eating”, “Eating Out”, “Dining Out”, and so forth.

EDIT:
tchrist asks for a term embracing hot-dog stands and the like. Within the industry they're still “food service operations”; they may be grouped with outlets like Burger King as “quickservice operations”. In ordinary conversation—well, they’re not “restaurants”. They are “eateries”, but as I said that’s not a term used much any more. I don’t think there’s any generic term embracing everything from the hot-dog stand to Maxim’s. If I had to find an X to plug into “What sort of X do you want to have lunch at?” I’d have to resort to ‘place’ or something equally vague.

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What would you call a hot-dog stand, or a roving falafel cart? –  tchrist Nov 10 '12 at 14:28
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@tchrist see my edit –  StoneyB Nov 10 '12 at 15:10
    
Thank you for detailed answer. –  RredCat Nov 10 '12 at 16:28
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In law the category is often referred to as a "retail food establishment", as opposed to a wholesaler or caterer. Hot dog stands and Michelin-rated restaurants are both included.

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