A few of my students have part-time jobs in cafés and restaurants. This post is for them and anyone else who needs to use English in restaurants.
‘May’ or ‘can’?
Generally, when you are taking orders for people, use ‘may’; it’s more formal and customers should be respected. ‘Can’ is more informal and it’s not really a problem if you use ‘can’ instead of ‘may’ but ‘may’ is more appropriate.
How to ask about takeaway service
One of my students has asked:
Which is better, “For here or to go?” or “Is this to eat in or take away?”
The answer is both are fine. The first one is more informal, the second slightly more formal.
Here in Japan, at a lot of restaurants, it is common to take the bill/check to the cashier. At other places it is common to pay at the table.
Other little things
Japanese people can be very particular about how food ought to be served. The photograph at the top is from my class blackboard.
When the sand (in the timer) has all reached the bottom, (your tea) is ready to drink.
Not all of your food will be ready at the same time. We will bring each dish as soon as it is ready.
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