Kantin hampir selalu ada di tiap [[sekolah]] di [[Indonesia]]. Biasanya kantin menjadi tempat [[kongkow|berkumpul]] bagi para [[murid]]. '''Pesan-ambil-bayar-duduk''' mungkin merupakan prinsip para pengguna fasilitas kantin. Ramainya kantin disebabkan oleh obrolan siswa-siswi yang makan bersama. Kebanyakan murid menganggap penting kantin sebagai tempat bersosialisasi, tempat berkumpulnya seluruh angkatan.
Instead of table service, there are food serving counters/stalls, either in a line or allowing arbitrary walking paths. Customers take the food they require as they walk along, placing it on a tray. In addition, there are often stations where customers order food and wait while it is prepared, particularly for items such as hamburgers or tacos which must be served hot and can be quickly prepared. Sometimes, for some food items and drinks, customers collect an empty container, pay at the check-out, and fill the container after the check-out. Free second servings are often allowed under this system. For legal purposes (and the consumption patterns of customers), this system is rarely or never used for alcoholic beverages.
Customers are either charged a flat rate for admission (as in a buffet), or pay at the check-out for each item.
As cafeterias require few employees, they are often found within a larger institution, catering to the clientele of that institution. For example, schools, colleges and their residence halls, department stores, hospitals, museums, and office buildings often have cafeterias.
At one time, cafeteria-style restaurants dominated the culture of the Southern United States, and there were several prominent chains of them: Bickford's, Morrison's Cafeterias, Apple House, K&W, Britling, and Blue Boar among them. These institutions, with the exception of K&W, went into a decline in the 1960s with the rise of fast food and were largely finished off in the 1980s by the rise of "casual dining". However, newer chains, notably Luby's and Piccadilly Cafeterias, have arisen to fill some of the gap left by the decline of the older chains.