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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.

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    Context should suffice for readers to understand your reference to diner indicates a human and not a restaurant. – Dan Bron Oct 18 '16 at 0:01
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    Patron, perhaps? – Mick Oct 18 '16 at 0:01
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    Particularly in the UK, diner refers far more to the person. – BladorthinTheGrey Oct 18 '16 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. – Peter Point Nov 17 '16 at 9:25
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Another common term is "guest".

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

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

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