I'm not a native speaker and I'm trying to find a very specific term for a person who eats at a restaurant (from the owner's perspective).

In my native language, there's a word for 'client' and another word that exclusively means 'person who eats at a restaurant.' 'Customer' and 'client' came to mind, but they don't seem to fit, as they're broad terms (they can refer to multiple products / services, not just restaurants).

I already know of the term 'diner.' But it may also refer to a location, not just a person.

Is there any other term I could use? I want the term to be very formal and I don't know if 'diner' is formal / professional / clear enough.

  • 5
    Context should suffice for readers to understand your reference to diner indicates a human and not a restaurant.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 0:01
  • 6
    Patron, perhaps?
    – Mick
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 0:01
  • 3
    Particularly in the UK, diner refers far more to the person. Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 6:23
  • @Mick Patron as in 'le patron' is almost always used to refer to the boss or the chef-patron in a French restaurant in France or in a French restaurant overseas. But this does not stop native English speakers (particularly in UK) from using the word 'patronize' as in, Fred Bloggs is a good customer; he has patronized our restaurant ever since it opened 3-years ago. Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 9:25

2 Answers 2


Another common term is "guest".

"Customer" would be appropriate as would be "diner", but "client" would be incorrect.


consumer is also used, for ex, "Soup is served to stimulate the consumers’ appetite."

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