Definition of self-service in US English:



  • Denoting a store, restaurant, or service station where customers select goods for themselves or service their car for themselves and pay a cashier.

    ‘a self-service cafeteria’
    • ‘The former stables and coach house are now studios, workshops, retail outlets and a self-service restaurant which overlooks the cobbled courtyard of Kilkenny Castle.’
    • ‘Britain's first self-service store, Sainsbury's, opened in Croydon.’
    • ‘The stall became a shop, and in 1962 the young William opened his first self-service store in an old Bradford cinema.’
    • ‘The emergence of self-service grocery stores and the subsequent development of supermarkets have helped to transform the culture of British retailing and, with it, the way people shop.’
    • ‘There are both non-smoking and smoking areas in the restaurant and a self-service counter.’
    • ‘Friends thought Tomás Garvey was mad when, in 1969, he decided to open Dingle's first self-service grocery store, a revolutionary concept at the time.’
    • ‘They make store checkout scanners, including self-service scanners.’
    • ‘In a self-service store, I buy matches from an Indian woman in a sari of deep colors.’
    • ‘The fact that Ikea is a self-service store that doesn't do business over the phone doesn't really strike me as something to get quite so bothered about.’
    • ‘Before 1950, when the first Sainsbury's self-service store opened in Croydon, shoppers used the parade of ‘convenience stores’ known as the high street.’
    • ‘Should customers require any assistance using the self-service checkouts for the first time, our staff are always on hand to help.’
    • ‘If he takes goods in a self-service supermarket he may be guilty of both offences.’
    • ‘While they reported that some items were better suited to a specific type of service, the conclusion was that the average weekly turnover of the self-service shops was 37 per cent higher than that of their counterparts.’
    • ‘On the entrance floor level, the Winter Garden has a self-service restaurant and dining area and a shop where the emphasis is on fine art publications rather than tasteful tea cosies.’
    • ‘These days, shoppers can use self-service checkouts at supermarkets, which in the future could remove the need for staff.’
    • ‘The very idea of a self-service grocery checkout is strange and wonderful.’
    • ‘Now, in some stores, even check-out is self-service, meaning labor in the grocery store is almost entirely out of sight.’
    • ‘On my return, I converted the Brigade Road store into a self-service supermarket.’
    • ‘To cut costs, many retailers have been introducing productivity-boosting measures, such as self-service checkout lines.’
    • ‘Those customers that do self-service transactions are the ones who are most satisfied.’


  • The system whereby customers select goods for themselves or service their car for themselves and pay a cashier.

    ‘providing quick self-service’
    • ‘The verdict of many at the time, including, presumably, the woman who threw a basket at the Croydon manager's head in protest at the new barbarism, was that self-service would never catch on.’
    • ‘One of the presumed benefits of customer self-service on the Web is that customers assume the task of keying in their own information.’
    • ‘This will increase the likelihood of successful self-service in the future.’
    • ‘If organizations are to control spiralling security management costs and minimize user downtime they need to introduce a significant degree of automation and self-service, while meeting compliance objectives.’
    • ‘It also provides an interactive workspace, within which collaboration, workflow and self-service can occur.’
    • ‘It provides self-service for customers with digital cameras.’
    • ‘They also offer self-service and shared service functionality.’
    • ‘Some would say you don't get much bolder than integrating self-service into customer care, yet that's one central thrust of the agreement.’
    • ‘For now, companies are juggling how much self-service to impose on workers.’
    • ‘It offers customer self-service and the ability to record, monitor and report on all the integrations.’
    cold table, cold meal, smorgasbord
    View synonyms



/ˈˌsɛlf ˈsərvəs//ˈˌself ˈsərvəs/