English Phrases For Restaurant Staff: What You Need To Know

Posted on July 13, 2022

In this post we’ll explore the English phrases for restaurant staff that you need to know. So the first question is: what kind of restaurant do you work in?

If you work in a casual restaurant then you should use more casual English to speak to customers. In a pub restaurant for example customers expect a more relaxed atmosphere.

The following are some useful English phrases for restaurant staff that can be used in both casual and luxury restaurants. We focus on front of house restaurant staff in this post.

English Phrases For Restaurant Staff When The Customers Arrive

Here’s how you can greet customers to your restaurant in a natural way.

  • Do you have a reservation?
  • I’m afraid we won’t have a table for about 20 minutes.
  • Would you like to wait at the bar?
  • Come this way!

At The Table

English phrases for restaurant staff: waiters and waitresses

Some typical phrases you can use once your guests are seated.

  • The specials are rump steak and Dover sole.
  • Are you ready to order?
  • What would you like to drink?
  • Would you like any sides?

During The Meal

Go back to check on your guests to make sure they’re happy.

  • How is everything?
  • Can I get you any more drinks?

If There’s A Problem

It’s tempting to try to avoid the situation. But the sooner you can address problems, the less they will escalate.

  • I’m sorry to hear that.
  • What would you like me to do?
  • Let me get the manager.

Finishing Up

  • Would you like to see the dessert menu?
  • Any tea or coffee?
  • Can I take your plate?
  • Are you paying by cash or card?

Common Mistakes When Using English Phrases For Restaurant Staff

“Do You Want…”

This is rather casual for a situation where you’re talking to a customer. Unless you work in an extremely casual place, it’s best to avoid it.

Above all, you should not say “What do you want?” Yes, you can say this in other languages such as French, and it’s fine. But it sounds rude in English in this context.

Calling A Woman “Lady” Or “Missus”

The correct way to address a woman is “madam”. However, this is very formal so it’s only appropriate in an upscale restaurant.

Not Saying “Thank You” When Your Customers Leave

In the UK we use “please”, “thank you” and “sorry” a lot more than in other cultures. And when people don’t use these it often sounds inappropriate.

So you should really say “thank you” after your customers pay. This is true whether or not they have left you a tip. You are the face of the restaurant and it seems strange not to thank your customers for coming.

When staff don’t say “thank you” or “thanks”, customers leave with a very bad impression.

Get In Touch For English Phrases For Restaurant Staff In Action!

Our great teachers give engaging and fun English speaking classes at restaurants all over London. Does this sound like something you’d like at your restaurant?

We’d love to hear from you on 020 8150 7239, or you can send us a message here.

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