ESL Lesson Plan for Conversation

Smiling friends eating and drinking in cabin
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Ordering food in a restaurant is one of the most basic - and daunting to some beginners - tasks that beginners need to learn. Ordering food in a restaurant is also one of the most important language functions for any learner. Everyone needs to eat, so every class will discuss and practice ordering in a restaurant sooner or later. This simple lesson is aimed at beginners who are practicing ordering for the very first time.

Aim: Ordering food in a restaurant using basic vocabulary

Activity: Simple dialogues and more a more challenging listening comprehension for passive understanding skills

Level: Beginner


  • Ask students to name different types of food they can find in a restaurant. Write the vocabulary on the board and make sure students also take notes.
  • 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 (a rather common mistake beginners make).
  • Pair students up and ask them to use the menu (or a more interesting menu you may have on-hand) to role play through ordering a meal. Both students should switch roles a number of times.
  • If you have access to a computer in the classroom, improve passive understanding by doing listening comprehension exercise, like the one found in this practice script
  • Ask students which other types of formulas were used in the listening comprehension.

Ordering Food in a Restaurant

Read this dialogue

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... 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, the same to you.

Use this menu to practice ordering food in a restaurant.

Joe's Restaurant

Chicken Soup$2.50
Sandwiches - Main Course 
Ham and cheese$3.50
Grilled Cheese$2.50
Piece of Pizza$2.50
Hamburger deluxe$5.00
Soft Drinks - Coke, Sprite, Root Beer, etc.$1.75