English expressions that waiters, waitresses, and restaurant staff use
When you go to a restaurant, you usually have a good idea of what's going to happen. That's because eating at a restaurant usually follows a set script. The wait staff isn't actually given a written script to memorize, of course. But even so, waiters and waitresses usually stick to a very narrow range of phrases. Here's what you can expect when you go to a restaurant.
The host or hostess
When you first go in, the host or hostess will want to know how many people are eating with you. They might ask:
Or, in a fancier restaurant:
How many are in your party?
If they can see how many people walked in together, they might simply ask:
Some popular restaurants expect you to have a reservation before you come. In that case, the hostess might ask:
Do you have a reservation?
If the place is really busy, you might have to wait. They'll say:
It's going to be about a 15-minute wait.
If you decide to wait, they'll write your name on a list:
Can I get your name?
And then, when it's your turn to sit:
Mr. Knight, your table is ready.
The host or hostess will take you to your table with one of these phrases:
Right this way.
Follow me, please.
If it's a nice restaurant, they may ask:
Would you like me to take your jackets for you?
And then they say goodbye:
Jacob will be your server tonight.
Enjoy your meal.
The waiter or waitress
The waiter will usually start off by introducing him- or herself:
Welcome to D'Angelo's. My name is Rebecca.
Depending on the atmosphere of the restaurant, they may try to make some small talk:
How are you doing this evening?
If the restaurant has daily specials, the server will tell you about them:
Let me tell you about our specials today. We have a miso-glazed Chilean Sea Bass with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed spinach.
Then you're expected to order drinks:
If you're not sure, the server will offer to come back again in a few minutes:
Do you need a little time to decide?
They'll go around the table to each person, using phrases like these:
And for you sir?
And for you miss?
What can I get for you?
Then they'll leave:
I'll be right back with your drinks.
When the waiter or waitress returns, he or she will ask you to order your food:
Are you ready to order?
If the dish you order has a choice of side dishes, they'll offer to let you choose:
That comes with either fries or a baked potato. Which would you prefer?
Would you like fries with that, or a baked potato?
If you ask for something, the server will say:
Or at a fancier restaurant:
But if you ask for something that's not available, you'll hear:
Oh, I'm sorry. We're all out of the salmon.
When the waiter or waitress brings you your food, they'll probably ask:
Can I get you anything else?
After you're finished eating everything, someone will come to collect your dishes:
Would you like me to take that?
Then the server will come out to ask about your meal and offer dessert:
How was everything?
Can I interest you in our dessert menu?
When you're finished with your meal, they'll offer to bring you the check:
I'll bring the check right out.
And sometimes there are questions about the check:
Would you like me to split it?
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