Restaurant Role Play Part 1

English Listening Practice Restaurant Role Play 1

Welcome to our Daily English Listening Practice with this week’s series:

Role Play: At a Restaurant

Get ready for some Restaurant role plays!
Grab the American and British Transcripts here, we’ve also written the dialogue under each audio clip.

Daily life in English is important! Conversation at most restaurants is pretty casual, but we sometimes speak really quickly because hosts, servers, bartenders and other people in restaurants say the same thing to 100 tables a day!

These role plays and English dialogues are in pieces, and you can find the full role play at the end of this week, after you feel comfortable with each piece.

Here’s what we recommend:

Choose your Accent
American or British, American clips are on the top, British clips are below.
Kat will be the hostess or server in the American Restaurant and Mark will be the server in the British Restaurant. We talk about some cultural differences between the two, and we add some notes to the bottom.
Listen to both and think about the differences!

First Listen
Don’t read the transcript!
Listen first and think about what happened in the audio clip.
What’s the gist? What’s the general idea?
Don’t worry about every single word, think about the most important words and figure out what happened.

Second Listen
Don’t read the transcript!
If you really need to improve your listening skills:
Here’s a quick tip:
Listen again, but this time write (or type) out every single word you hear. Put a space ___________ if you aren’t sure what the words are.
Listen as many times as you need to, then check your work with the written transcript.

How did you do?

American Restaurants

Download the American and British Transcripts.

USA – Getting Seated with a Reservation

This American English clip is between a restaurant hostess and a customer.

—Transcript—

Hostess: Hi guys, how are we doing this evening?

Customer: Yeah, doing very well, thank you.

Hostess: Do you guys have a reservation for this evening?

Customer: Yes, we do. It should be under “Foley”

Hostess: Okay, Foley, Foley, F… F-O-L…?

Customer: That’s right.

Hostess: Okay, uhm… yeah actually we have your reservation right here, table for 2?

Customer: Yes, please.

Hostess: Okay, we’re gonna be right over here by the window.

Culture Notes:
In American restaurants, you’ll almost always be greeted and seated by a host or a hostess at the front of the restaurant. If you’ve made a reservation, you can simply tell them your last name, and they’ll find the reservation in their book.

USA – Getting Seated – No Reservation

This American English clip is between a restaurant hostess and a customer.

—Transcript—

Hostess: Hi guys, welcome to Joe’s, do you guys have a reservation with us?

Customer: No, we don’t.

Hostess: Okay, absolutely no problem. Is it just the two of you?

Customer: Yeah, it’s just us two.

Hostess: Okay, so right now the wait’s going to be about twenty minutes, but I can check in the back real quick and see if we have an open table…. Okay, so I can actually squeeze you two in the back by the window, is that gonna be okay?

Customer: Yeah, that’d be great.

Culture Notes:
Unless it’s a very popular new restaurant or you have more than 4 people, don’t worry about making reservations at most casual restaurants. Most Americans only sit for an hour or two for dinner and even less time for lunch, so tables become available pretty quickly.

USA – Waiting Time – Sit at the bar

This American English clip is between a restaurant hostess and a customer.

—Transcript—

Hostess: Hey guys, just to let you know there’s gonna be about a 45-minute wait at the moment.

Customer: Yeah, we don’t mind waiting. Do you mind if we sit at the bar?

Hostess: Yeah, sure that’s no problem. Here’s your buzzer and uhm, basically it’ll let you know whenever your table’s ready.

Customer: Okay, thank you.

Culture Notes:
Friday and Saturday nights can get packed pretty quickly, and while some people eat as early as 6 p.m., 6:30-8:00 p.m. is probably the busiest time at the restaurant. The “wait time” is how long it will take for a table to be open. Most restaurants have a small waiting area or you can wait outside. The restaurant bar is often an option for a waiting place, especially if you would like to start with a beer or something else to drink. Most restaurants will give you a small device that will shake, beep or vibrate when your table is ready. Bring this up to the host stand and they will seat you right away.

USA -Waiting Time – Leave

This American English clip is between a restaurant hostess and a customer.

—Transcript—

Hostess: Hey guys, just to let you know there’s about a 45-minute wait time for food.

Customer: Mm, sorry that might be cutting it a bit close, we have to be somewhere in about an hour, sorry.

Hostess: Oh, okay, sorry about that guys.

Culture Notes:
Americans usually expect to spend about an hour (maximum 2) at a regular dinner, so spending 30 or 45 minutes waiting might be too long if we have something to do afterwards like go to a movie or meet someone after, or sometimes we just want to be at home by a certain time. It’s not unusual to drive to another restaurant if the wait time is too long.

USA – More Culture Notes

—Transcript—

British Restaurants

Download the American and British Transcripts.

UK – Getting Seated – Reservation

This British English clip is between a restaurant server and a customer.

—Transcript—

Server: Evening, guys. Do you have a reservation?

Customer: Yeah, I think it should be under Kat, K-A-T.

Server: Okay, it says here it’s for 4 people?

Customer: Yeah, one of our friends is gonna be late.

Server: Okay, no problem, would you like to follow me? I’ll show you to the table.

Culture Notes:
Especially in the evenings at weekends it’s a good idea to make a reservation to make sure you get a table. There might not be a concierge to greet you, perhaps the owner or manager will take care of you and show you to your table. Tell them your last name and the time and they should show you to your table.

UK – Getting Seated – No Reservation

This British English clip is between a restaurant server and a customer.

—Transcript—

Server: Good evening. Do you have a reservation?

Customer: Ooh.. uh, no actually, we don’t, sorry.

Server: That’s no problem. Uh, we’ve got a table for two open at the moment.

Customer: Actually, it’s gonna be four of us.
Server: Mm.. okay, I can see one that’s just opened up now. D’you wanna follow me? I can take you over.

Culture Notes:
Showing up without a booking for 2 people is usually alright, you can probably find a table for two or three. If you show up with 4 or more, it might be more difficult to find a table for you.

UK – Waiting Time – Sit at the bar

This British English clip is between a restaurant server and a customer.

—Transcript—

Server: Hi guys, just so you know, there is a bit of a wait, we’re looking at about 45 minutes for food. Is that alright?

Customer: Uhm, yeah do you think we can order a drink at the bar?

Server: Yeah that’s no problem.

Culture Notes:
Some restaurants in the UK don’t have this option. Usually because they are a little bit smaller, and you can’t always eat at the bar in many restaurants in the UK either. There might not be a seating area for waiting either, you might just have to stand near the door for a table.

UK – Waiting Time – Leave

This British English clip is between a restaurant server and a customer.

—Transcript—

Server: Hi there guys, just so you know there is wait of about 45 minutes on food, would that be okay?

Customer: Oh uhm, I don’t know, what do you guys… well… no I mean we kinda don’t really have ti… yeah, we’re probably not going to be able to wait that long.

Server: Okay, sorry about that, we’re really busy tonight.

Culture Notes:
Depending on your plans, 45 minutes to 1 hour is the minimum amount of time people expect to be in a restaurant. If you’re in a large group, waiting longer for food obviously isn’t so bad, but if you have plans within the next hour, maybe look somewhere else to eat.

UK- More Culture Notes


What sort of differences did you notice between the two countries? Were there any interesting culture notes?

Thanks!
Kat and Mark

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