Most people put either carpet or tile in a lunchroom.
From a commercial cleaner’s viewpoint, the best situation is a little of both.
The “high spill” areas – the 2 feet or so around food preparation counters, microwaves, sinks etc should be tile – preferably ceramic. These areas will never look good with carpet as there are too many incidental spills to keep up with.
Unless the clientele spills a lot (small children, very disgruntled employees) the area under the chairs and tables should be carpet, as it’s easier to maintain and has a lower probability of a slip and fall accident if there is a small spill.
Vinyl tile should never be used. Tough to keep a finish on it. In the “spill zone” the constant acid bath from food acids will strip the finish off the tile, hence my preference for ceramic. In the seating area the chair feet and table feet will strip the finish in a few days in most situations, also leaving an undesirable appearance, hence my preference for carpet, or failing that ceramic tile.
Ceramic tile is more expensive to install – but in a lunchroom the cost to maintain vinyl tile at a reasonable level of appearance is prohibitive.