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20 common English phrases to use when you’re at a restaurant

Ordering at a restaurant can sometimes feel like a daunting task. It’s loud! The staff is in a hurry! It can make the situation feel even more stressful 😅. What is the best way to phrase your question about the specials? The side dishes? Or how spicy a dish is?
It’s true – the stakes are not as high as being in a business meeting, but having some common phrases like these will be useful so you can get exactly what you want and focus on having fun!

TRANSCRIPT

Podcast intro:

Welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m Hadar, and this is episode number 403. Today we’re going to practice together restaurant phrases.

Hey, hey everyone. What is up and how are you doing? I don’t know about you, but I love going to restaurants. I have also worked in restaurants for many, many, many years throughout my life. And honestly, if you were to ask me if I’d be interested in serving tables for one day or one night, I would say yes, because I actually really loved it.

I loved serving people. I loved working when it’s really busy, to kind of like organize everything in my head, and to communicate with people, talk to people, make them feel good, help them make good decisions about food. So I used to actually love it, except for certain restaurants or places that I’d rather forget working there. But anyway, I used to love it.

And I remember that when I worked in restaurants for a long time, like the names of the items in the menu, and how people would ask for those things or ask for help or ask for something. It would get stuck in my head and I would kind of like dream about it. Because it’s not very versatile when you work in a restaurant: “What do you recommend?” “What are the specials?” “Is it spicy?” “Can I get that on the side?”

So there are a lot of common phrases that I used to hear all the time. And there are a lot of common phrases that I use when I go to restaurants. And then I figured, why not create an exercise to help you become more confident in using some of those phrases. For some of you listening to this, this may be super easy and things that are kind of obvious. And for others, it might be like a good opportunity to improve and practice your vocabulary or how to say things in a way that is more common.

But either way, whether some of these phrases are going to be new or important for you to learn, or maybe you’ve been using them daily, this episode is for you because we’re not only going to practice these phrases, but also focus on intonation, rhythm, and stress.

So even if you use these phrases daily, this episode is going to help you understand a bit more about how we connect the words together, where to put the stress, the music of some of these phrases. So it’s a good exercise, both for going to restaurants and practicing your English and your prosody, which is your intonation, rhythm, and stress. So I cannot wait to share with you this episode.

And by the way, I have a free resource that I created for this episode with a recording of just the phrases and a PDF with just the phrases to help you practice it more effectively after you listen to the episode once. So it’s absolutely free. You can find the link in the description of the episode. All right, let’s go ahead and listen and practice restaurant phrases.

Video transcript:

Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Today we are going to practice together common expressions and phrases and sentences that you are likely to use when you are in a restaurant. The reason why I’m making this video is because, I don’t know if you know this, but I recently moved to Spain and I’m working on practicing and learning Spanish.

“Hola amigos, quiero hablar de hoy sobre como estoy aprendido Español.”

And I noticed that one of the biggest challenges I have or the biggest friction that I have is in restaurants, where I don’t know exactly how to say what I want and how to ask for something. And I like going to restaurants and I like making connections with the people that work there. Because having worked in restaurants, I know how important it is to make a genuine connection. And I can’t when I don’t have the right phrases and expressions.

So I thought that maybe you are also struggling with finding the exact phrase to say and how to say it and how to say it in a way that is clear. And also we can turn it into a pronunciation practice. So today we’re going to practice common phrases and expressions used in restaurants. We’re going to focus on pronunciation, rhythm, and intonation. Are you ready? Let’s do it.

Now, to make this practice more effective, I created a PDF practice for you with all the phrases and audio, so you can click to download it for free and you can practice it after watching this video. So it doesn’t have to be just the learning part, which is what we’re going to do now in this video, it can also be the repetition and the practice part. And you can do it on your own with my free PDF and audio. All right.

If you’re new to my channel, by the way, hi, my name is Hadar. I’m a non native speaker of English, and I’m here to help you speak English with clarity, confidence, and freedom, because you deserve it, my friend.

All right, so let’s get started. The first phrase. A table for two. Table, table for two… three, four. A table for two. Table for two. Table for two. Ta da da da. Table for two.

Can I get a menu, please? Can I, can I, can I, can I get a, get a (flap T), get a menu? (tense uw). Can I get a menu, please? Right. If you raise your pitch at the end, this rising, rising intonation, it sounds more open. And it’s a nice way to ask for something this way. Can I get a menu, please? Can I get a menu?

Can I get that to go? Can I get, can I, can I, can I get that to go? t’ – schwa, t’go. Can I get that to go? What are the specials today? What are the specials? Specials. What are the specials today? What are, what are, what are. What are the specials today? What are the specials today?

Can we split the bill? Can we, can we, can we, can we split the bill? Split, I stick the tongue out preparing for the TH, split the bill. Can we split the bill please? Is it spicy? Is it, is it, is it, is it spicy? How spicy is it? How spicy is it? Is it spicy or spicy spicy? Spicy spicy? Okay then, I’m not going to get it.

Can I have that? Can I have that? Can I have, can I have, can I have that? Can we get a bottle of water? Can we get a bottle of water? That’s a tricky one, do it with me slowly. Bottle of water. Bottle of water. Can we get a bottle of water? Can we get a bottle of water? Can we get a bottle of sparkling water?

What do you have that’s gluten free? What do you have that’s gluten free? Gluten free. Do you have any gluten-free desserts? Gluten-free desserts. Do you have any, do you have any, do you have any gluten-free desserts? Can I get the dressing on the side? Can I get the dressing, dressing on the side?

Is it okay if I have the dressing on the side? Can you put the dressing on the side for me please? Dressing on the side. Can you put the dressing on the side for me? Can I have the dressing on the side? Can I have some more water? Can I have some more, can I have some more, can I have some more water? Can I have some more dressing? Can I have some more ketchup? Can I have some more coffee? Can I have some more water? Water, water.

I’ll have the steak. I’ll have the salad. I’ll have the hamburger. I’ll have the cheese fries. I’ll have, I’ll have, I’ll have. Does that come with something on the side? Does that come with something on the side? Does that come with a side dish? Side dish, side dish. Thank you so much, it was such a great meal. Thank you so much, it was so good.

Now let’s practice the pronunciation of how I ask for the bill.

Now, you really have to practice the pronunciation with me here.

All right, kidding aside. Can I get the bill? Or, can I get the check, please? Check, bill, you can use both. Can I get the check, please? Can I get the bill? Don’t forget to pay, my friends.

All right, that’s it. Thank you so much for practicing restaurant phrases with me so you can order confidently and get the food just right.

All right, that’s it. Don’t forget to download the PDF so you can practice it with me on audio and PDF. OK? So you can get comfortable and confident with these phrases. And the thing about repeating these phrases, it’s not like you don’t know how to say it. It’s not like you don’t understand them, but sometimes they’re just not available. And then we kind of like invent it. Right? Like, we create new sentences, which is amazing.

But sometimes there are ways to ask for things that are, you know, they have a certain structure, certain pronunciations, certain intonation. And when we practice them as if we were practicing words, you know, or even music, then we just get used to it, and then it’s a lot more available. And then we don’t need to recreate something every single time we sit at a restaurant.

Let me know in the comments if it’s helpful, and what other phrases do you usually use in a restaurant? Write it down in the comments, and let’s practice together. Have a great day, and I’ll see you in the restaurant… I mean, next week in the next video. Bye.


The InFluency Podcast
The InFluency Podcast
403. 20 common English phrases to use when you’re at a restaurant
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Download the free PDF with 20 common phrases to use at a restaurant

Download now

In today’s video, I’ll walk you through the pronunciation, rhythm and intonation of 20 common phrases you can use the next time you order food in English.

And if you are already familiar with most of these, or even if you won’t be ordering in English anytime soon, use this as a pronunciation practice! I’ve also prepared a PDF for you including how to pronounce these phrases in connected speech, along with the audio.

Download the PDF and audio for free to practice it out loud with me and become an expert in ordering in English! 😋

It’s important to get what you want in a restaurant! And in life…

Let me know in the comments if you found these phrases helpful and which other phrases you usually use in a restaurant.

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