Practice Restaurant Dialogue for Ordering Food

A sample menu provides ESL students with more practice

Smiling friends eating and drinking in cabin
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Ordering food in a restaurant is one of the most basic tasks for English learners—after all, eating is essential and so is talking about eating— but it can also be one of the most daunting. This simple lesson is aimed at beginners who are practicing ordering for the very first time. Use this lesson, dialogue, and sample menu to help ESL students learn how to order food in a restaurant using basic vocabulary

Preparing for the Dialogues

Simple dialogues will help students to order food and speak in a socially acceptable way in a restaurant while challenging listening-comprehension exercises will help boost their passive-understanding skills. Before having students perform the dialogue below, ask them to name different types of food they might find in a restaurant. Write the vocabulary on the board and make sure students also take notes. After they do so:

  • Give students the dialogue and menu, and ask them to read through it carefully. Point out the use of "would like" for asking for and making requests. You may also want to make sure they notice the use of "here you are" instead of "please" when handing someone something.
  • Pair students and ask them to role-play ordering food in a restaurant using the menu below (or a more interesting menu you may have on hand). Both students should switch roles a number of times.

Finally, ask students what are some ways (dialogues, thematic texts, and narrative stories) they can use to help them improve their listening-comprehension skills in English.

Dialogue: Ordering Food in a Restaurant

Have students pair up to practice the following dialogue, then have them switch roles.

Waiter: Hello, Can I help you?.
Kim: Yes, I'd like to have some lunch.
Waiter: Would you like a starter?
Kim: Yes, I'd like a bowl of chicken soup, please.
Waiter: And what would you like for your main course?
Kim: I'd like a grilled cheese sandwich.
Waiter: Would you like anything to drink?
Kim: Yes, I'd like a glass of Coke, please.
Waiter: Would Pepsi be OK? We don't have Coke.
Kim: That would be fine.
Waiter: (After Kim has her lunch.) Can I bring you anything else?
Kim: No thank you. Just the bill.
Waiter: Certainly.
Kim: I don't have my glasses. How much is the lunch?
Waiter: That's $6.75.
Kim: Here you are. Thank you very much.
Waiter: You're welcome. Have a good day.
Kim: Thank you. Same to you.

Sample Menu

Use this menu to practice ordering food in a restaurant. Have students swap out different food and drink items to modify the above dialogue, or let them create their own dialogues.

Joe's Restaurant

Starters 
Chicken Soup$2.50
Salad$3.25
Sandwiches - Main Course 
Ham and cheese$3.50
Tuna$3.00
Vegetarian$4.00
Grilled Cheese$2.50
Slice of Pizza$2.50
Cheeseburger$4.50
Hamburger$5.00
Spaghetti$5.50
Drinks 
Coffee$1.25
Tea$1.25
Soft Drinks - Coke, Sprite, Root Beer, Ice Tea $1.75