Companies provide a room which has tables and chairs. In some companies, the room may have other things such as refrigerators and microwaves.

I have been calling this place pantry, but I noticed that pantry is actually a storage for food in addition to kitchen.

I want to know what the correct term is to call that place?


15 Answers 15


They would be a "breakroom", or "break room" a place where staff go when they have their breaks.



In the UK I have heard this referred to almost exclusively as the "canteen".

The dictionary definition for canteen states: "a restaurant provided by an organization such as a college, factory, or company for its students or staff."

However, even when working in organisations where there is no food service (nor even a vending machine), I have still heard it referred to in this way.


Lunch room

lunch room


  1. a room, as in a school or workplace, where light meals or snacks can be bought or where food brought from home may be eaten.



Consider cafeteria.

a lunchroom or dining hall, as in a factory, office, or school, where food is served from counters or dispensed from vending machines OR where food brought from home may be eaten. (Random House)

a dining area, as at a school or office building, where meals may be purchased or brought from home and eaten. (AHD)


In the UK, in government (police/fire service/parks depts) and some industry settings it can be called a 'mess room'. In educational and academic settings it can be referred to as a 'staff room'. In an office setting, 'staff kitchen' or 'office kitchen' are often used. 'Staff dining room' or 'staff lounge' would be clear and generic terms regardless of industry.

UK health and safety law requires that all workplaces over a certain size have 'rest areas' or 'welfare facilities' to heat up and consume food, although those terms are purposefully vague to apply to all industries and types of workplace.


We call it kitchen where i work because that's what it looks like. It has everything you would find in a standard kitchen (at home) except a gas cooker. Nevertheless, I think other answers are an attempt to make it sound more formal than just 'kitchen' because of the business environment within which the 'room' is found.


Mess hall has not been mentioned yet. Mess in this case means food, not that it's a place for dirt. It's usually used to describe very large rooms and especially in military camps, but it can also be used for very large eating zones on industrial factories.

  • 1
    Similarly, I've heard it referred to as the "galley" which is an appropriation of a navy/maritime term.
    – GSP
    Oct 14, 2015 at 14:11

Another possible name for this (in the UK, at least) is a refectory. This is what it's called where I work, but it's more academic than corporate, and is perhaps slightly old-fashioned.

  • Old fashioned indeed, but old-fashioned terms are often borrowed to lend an air of dignity to modern institutions. Refectory, or more commonly 'the ref' is commonly used in Australian Universities to designate the student cafeterias and dining rooms. From the Latin, essentially meaning 'restore' or 'refresh', usually a term for a dining room in a religious institution. From the OED: [Orig. f. L. refect-, ppl. stem of reficĕre to remake, restore, renew, etc., f. re- re- + facĕre]. A sort of re-furbishment or re-facing place (factory) for hungry monks.
    – John Mack
    Oct 26, 2015 at 5:04


Where I am (in Seattle) this is what I hear most often. It has one or more tables, a counter, fridge or two, a microwave or two, a sink, and a dishwasher.

Elsewhere (Missouri—and in lower paying jobs) I had break rooms. These had tables, a microwave, and maybe a sink.

I am unsure if the difference was the amenities or the locale.


Cafeteria serves food to employees or students. A break room lets them eat food brought, or sometimes prepare their own food.

  • Many years ago when working for British Steel there were three rooms. A canteen for manual workers that sold food accompanied by chips and where they ate their sandwiches brought from home. There was a middle managers' dining room with waitress service that served the same food as sold in the canteen, but where you could have a beer, too, if you wanted and where your paid you bill monthly. There was also the directors' dining room where the cocktail cabinet had pride of place. All this and only about 50 people worked at the site - no wonder it went bust - and all the managers were pissed.
    – Nicole
    Oct 15, 2015 at 20:43

(Office) Pantry

While some companies provide for a full break room/cafeteria, many only offer a pantry that is basically a small kitchen area with a sink, refrigerator and maybe a microwave and such. Could have a small counter area so multiple employees can better balance their needs in a shared space.

(Staff) Lounge

Some places also have a staff lounge that might simply be a room with some comfortable seating like a sofa and maybe a table. Food might not be discouraged there, but the food would have to come from elsewhere. Perhaps there would be a snack vending machine or even a soda machine?

  • 4
    Where are you located? In my world, a pantry is at most barely big enough to allow one person to stand in it. It's a "room" in the same way a closet is a room. (A "butler's pantry" might be as big as a small kitchen, but 1. that's a different animal entirely, and 2. offices don't have butler's pantries.)
    – Marthaª
    Oct 13, 2015 at 1:11
  • 1
    In my understanding pantries can be of various sizes, including room-sized, but they're always for storing food, not for preparing or consuming it.
    – stannius
    Oct 13, 2015 at 15:50

"Restroom", "of duty room", "staff room", "staff lounge" are all used in the UK.

If there is at least a kettle and sink, it is often called the office kitchen, even if there is no oven.

  • 19
    In the US, "restroom" is the loo. Oct 12, 2015 at 19:23
  • In Australia "staff room" would probably be the almost universal word for the room in question. Other terms like "staff lounge" give the impression of being "the American term" (even if that may not be the case). "restroom" also means toilet to us, though we'd more often refer to the toilet room as "toilet" or "toilets".
    – guest34491
    Oct 13, 2015 at 12:27
  • Also in Australia, 'Ref's' (short for Refectory, for University cafeterias) and 'Crib Room', which I have only ever encountered in the Police Forces.
    – John Mack
    Oct 26, 2015 at 5:34
  • I think that sometimes the police sleep in their Crib Room on small beds. E.g when they are working away from home, due to helping other police forces.
    – Ian
    Oct 26, 2015 at 11:21



noun: commissary; plural noun: commissaries

a restaurant in a movie studio, military base, prison, or other institution.


In the US, if the room is big, it would generally be called a "cafeteria" or "cafe" if it is smaller. Cafeterias tend to be more generic and institutional looking while cafes tend to emphasize design and branding a bit more.

In Asia, the term for cafeteria is often substituted with "Canteen".

A small area may also be set aside with a coffeemaker, refrigerator and or microwave that is referred to as a "break room", "mini kitchen", "kitchen" or even "coffee room".

  • Would the word cafeteria be appropriate if everyone who ate there had to bring their own food? Oct 13, 2015 at 2:38
  • @curiousdannii imo, if there's a kitchen area for people to prepare the food they brought and everyone went at relatively the same time, then it is probably appropriate. Take away any food prep or "gathering" and it becomes more of a break room or lunch room. Oct 13, 2015 at 22:11

It can be called a faculty lounge or common room.


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