A restaurateur is a person who opens and runs restaurants professionally. Although over time the term has come to describe any person who owns a restaurant, traditionally it refers to a highly skilled professional who is proficient in all aspects of the restaurant business.
The French word restaurateur comes from the Late Latin term restaurator ("restorer") and from the Latin term restaurare. The erroneous word restauranteur is formed from the term restaurant with the French suffix "-eur" borrowed from "restaurateur".
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Mariana Starke, the author of travellers' guides to Europe in the early 19th century mentions the following as notable restaurateurs in Paris: Véry in the Palais Royal, the Frères Provençaux in the Palais Royal, and Richard in the Galerie de Valois. At this period restaurateurs devoted part of their houses to providing meals. Mariana Starke advises single men to resort to the house of a restaurateur rather than a "traiteur" whose services provide meals mainly for families. "The house of a Restaurateur ... is a sort of Tavern where ladies also may dine without the smallest impropriety".