In this online exercise you will learn English vocabulary and phrases that are used when both taking customer food orders and serving dishes to customers. You will learn not only what to say professionally and politely, but also what customers will both say and ask.

This is the second part of three exercises on English vocabulary for restaurant waiters/waitresses. If you want to learn what to say when customers arrive and serving drinks, do our exercise on 'English for restaurant waiters: When customers arrive'.

After you have done this exercise, you should learn the English vocabulary used for giving a customer their bill/check and saying goodbye. You can learn this in the third and final part of this exercise called 'English for restaurant waiters: Giving the bill/check and saying goodbye'.


Exercise:

In the following conversation in a restaurant in England, a waiter is speaking to two customers who are deciding what food they want to order. This conversation is a continuation of what was said in the first part of this exercise when the customers arrived and ordered drinks.

Focus on the words/phrases which are in bold in the text and from using the context, decide both what they mean and what their purpose is. Do the quiz/test at the end to make sure that you are right.

Waiter:'Here are your drinks. A glass of red wine, a Pepsi-Cola and a bottle of still water'

Customer 1:'Thank you.'

Waiter:'Today, our specials are roast beef with roast vegetables and fried cod with a curry sauce.'

Customer 1:'They are not in the menu?'

Waiter:'No they are not. We change the special dishes that we serve every day. That's why they are not in the menu. If you like fish, I'd recommend the fried cod. It's very good.'

Customer 1:'Thank you.'

Waiter:'I'll leave you to look at the menu.'

5 minutes later:

Waiter:'Are you ready to order?'

Customer 1:'No. Can you give us two more minutes, please.'

Waiter:'No problem.'

3 minutes later:

Waiter:'Have you decided what you would like to have?'

Customer 1:'I think so. For the starter, I'd like the tomato soup, please.'

Customer 2:'The same for me.'

Waiter:'And for the main course?'

Customer 1:'I have a question. What's the shepherd's pie?'

Waiter:'It's a mixture of minced lamb (very small pieces) and vegetables and it's covered with mashed potatoes (so the potatoes are like a purée or cream). It is baked in the oven.'

Customer 1:'Does it comes with French fries?'

Waiter:'Yes, it is accompanied with salad, French fries or vegetables, sir.'

Customer 1:'I'll have that, please. Accompanied with French fries.'

Waiter:'And for you madam?'

Customer 2:'I'd like the fried cod with curry sauce.'

Waiter:'Would you like salad, French fries or vegetables with that?'

Customer 2:'Vegetables, please.'

Waiter:'So that's two tomato soups, shepherd's pie with French fries and fried cod with vegetables?'

Customer 1:'That's right.'

Waiter:'Thank you.'

25 minutes later: Giving/serving the main course

Waiter:'The fried cod?'

Customer 2:'For me.'

Waiter:'And the shepherd's pie?'

Customer 1:'For me, please.'

Waiter:'Is there anything else I can bring you? Would you like another glass of wine or another Pepsi-Cola?'

Customer 2:'No, we're fine thanks.'

Waiter:'I hope you enjoy your meal.'



Quiz:

Below is a definition/description of each of the words in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.


1. When a waiter repeats the order to the customers (to check if he has written it down correctly), he will start by saying
         

So that's:
(phrase) After everybody has told you what they want to eat or drink, it is normal for a waiter/waitress to repeat to the customers each dish or drink ordered to make sure they have written them down correctly. To do this in English, you would start by saying 'so that's' followed by the names of the dishes or drinks they have asked for.

For example:

'So that's a seafood salad, mushroom soup, roast duck with vegetables and fried cod with chips?'

In Spanish: "así que/entonces".

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So that's:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2. A phrase where you tell a customer what extra food (e.g. a salad, French fries etc…) 'comes with' the dish/food, is
         

It is accompanied with:
(phrase) This is a more formal way to say 'it comes with'. This is used when you are describing what a dish is to a customer and you are telling them what extra food the dish comes with (e.g. the roast chicken is accompanied with vegetables). You would normally use this phrase with main dishes (for the main or second course), but it can also be used for starters as well.

If the customer has a choice of which extra food to have with the dish (e.g. salad, French fries or vegetables), then you should tell them this after they have ordered it by saying 'would you like', then what things they can choose, then 'with that?'.

For example:

'I'll have the steak, please.'

'Would you like salad, French fries or vegetables with that?'

'Vegetables, please.'

In Spanish: "viene con".

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It is accompanied with:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3. A formal and polite word to call a woman, is
         

Madam:
(noun) When you are asking or answering questions from a customer, to sound professional you can end the question or answer by saying either 'madam' or 'sir'. You would use 'madam' when you are talking with a women and 'sir' when you are talking with a man.

For example:

'Would you like another glass of wine, madam?'

'Yes, please.'

or

'Can I have another glass of wine, please?'

'Of course, madam.'

In Spanish: "señora o señorita".

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Madam:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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4. What you would say when you want to tell the customer(s) about some dishes they can order which are not in the menu, is
         

Today, our specials are:
(phrase) 'specials' is the name in English for dishes which are not regularly served in a restaurant. In most restaurants, in addition to the regular dishes they make, they will serve a couple of different dishes each day. And what these dishes are, changes every day (e.g. one day it could be roast duck, another day it could be baked salmon etc...).

As a result, these dishes (or 'specials') are not included in the menu, but normally written on a blackboard in the restaurant. To tell customers what extra dishes you are serving on the day, you would say 'today, our specials are' followed by a description of the dishes. You should also point to the blackboard where they are written after you have told them.

For example:

'Today, our specials are roast lamb in a mango sauce and paella with chicken and rabbit.'

In Spanish: "hoy, nuestros platos especiales son".

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Today, our specials are:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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5. What a customer says when they want the same drink or dish that the person before them ordered/asked for, is
         

The same for me:
(phrase) This is a commonly used phrase in English when people are ordering food or drinks in a restaurant. It basically means 'I want the same thing that the person before me ordered'.

For example:

'I'll have tomato salad, please.'

'And for you, sir?'

'The same for me, please.'

In Spanish: "lo mismo para mí".

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The same for me:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. A polite thing for a waiter to say to customers after he has given them their main course dish, is
         

I hope you enjoy your meal:
(phrase) A waiter/waitress would say this phrase to customers to sound polite and professional. Normally, you would not say this phrase when you have served the customers with their starters (first course) dishes, but just after you have given all of them their main course (second course) dishes.

In Spanish: "buen provecho/qué disfruten".

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I hope you enjoy your meal:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. What a waiter would say when he wants a customer(s) to tell him what dish they want for the second course, is
         

And for the main course:
(phrase) This is a common way to ask customers what dish they want to order for their main (or second) course. Sometimes, customers will tell you when ordering what they want for both their starter and main course (e.g. 'For the starter, I'll have the tomato salad. And for the main, I'll have the lamb.'). But if they only tell you what they want for the starter, you will have to ask them what they want for their main course. And to do this, you say 'and for the main course?'

For example:

'For the starter, I'll have the chicken soup.'

'And for the main course?'

'I think I'll have the beef stew.'

In Spanish: "y de plato principal".

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And for the main course:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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8. A polite way to ask a customer if they need something else after you have just given them something, is
         

Is there anything else I can bring you:
(phrase) This is basically a formal way to say 'do you want anything else?'. You would normally only use this phrase after you have just given a customer(s) something (e.g. their drinks, an extra knife and fork, their dishes etc...) and just before you leave them. You use it to sound polite and professional.

For example:

'Here are your drinks.'

'Thank you.'

'Is there anything else I can bring you?'

'No, we're fine thanks.'

In Spanish: "desean algo más".

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Is there anything else I can bring you:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9. A formal and polite word to call a man, is
         

Sir:
(noun) When you are asking or answering questions from a customer, to sound professional you can end the question or answer by saying either 'madam' or 'sir'. You would use 'madam' when you are talking with a women and 'sir' when you are talking with a man.

For example:

'Would you like another glass of wine, sir?'

'Yes, please.'

or

'Can I have another glass of wine, please?'

'Of course, sir.'

In Spanish: "señor".

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Sir:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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10. When a waiter 'suggests' to a customer to order a certain dish or drink, they would say
         

I'd recommend:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to recommend'. This is used to suggest a particular dish or drink to a customer(s). If you use this, you should explain why you recommend the dish or drink after you have said it (e.g. 'it's an excellent dish', 'it's the dish which our restaurant is known for', 'it's very popular with our clients' etc...).

In addition, you can say before this phrase what type of thing you are going to recommend to them (e.g. 'if you like fish', 'for the starter' etc...).

For example:

'For the main course, I'd recommend the chicken curry. It's very good.'

In Spanish: "recomendo".

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I'd recommend:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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11. What a customer says when they tell the waiter what food/dish they want for the first course, they begin by saying
         

For the starter:
(phrase) This phrase is what a customer will normally say before they tell you what dish they want to order for 'the first course' of the meal (which is commonly called 'the starter').

For example:

'For the starter, I'll have the tomato salad.'

You may also hear customers use 'for the first course' instead of 'for the starter'.

When customers tell you what they want for the main (or second) course, they will normally say 'and for the main course'.

For example:

'And for the main course, I'll have a cheese hamburger with French fries, please.'

In Spanish: "de entrante".

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For the starter:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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12. A polite way to ask a customer if they have decided what are they going to eat, is
         

Are you ready to order:
(phrase) A waiter/waitress will say this phrase to a customer(s) to know if they have decided what dishes they are going to order. You should only say this phrase to customers when you want to take their savoury food (their starter and main course) orders. You don't ask this when you want to know what they want to drink (you would say 'what would you like to drink?' instead) or for desserts (you would say 'would you like to have a dessert?' instead).

If the customers tell you they haven't decided yet, don't say 'are you ready to order?' the next time you ask them. Instead, you should say 'have you decided what you would like to have?'.

In Spanish: "sabéis lo que queréis pedir".

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Are you ready to order:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Now that you've learnt this vocabulary, you should do the third and final exercise: 'English for restaurant waiters: Giving the bill/check and saying goodbye'.




Practice

Now that you understand the vocabulary, practise it by speaking to a customer in the restaurant you work in.

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