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Restaurant Role Play for Learners of English as a Second Language

Updated on February 23, 2014

Exercises in Critical Thinking

In order to adequately express our ideas, intentions, and thoughts, conversations should be free-flowing, not rehearsed. When teachers elicit critical thinking, students are able to apply the facts they've learned to real-world situations.

Role plays and simulations are fun ways to provide students with a conceptual understanding of their environment. Therefore, it's beneficial to create an imaginary setting where students interact using certain target language, vocabulary, and expressions. Depending on the scope of the situation, these role plays and simulations can be interactive among large or small classes.

The Activity

Opening Up Your Restaurant


Role plays are a great way for students to actively engage in a lesson. When choosing the type of role play, teachers need to take into consideration the age of the students and the context of the activity. A fabulous role play that students of just about all ages can relate to and understand involves the restaurant environment.

How to Set It Up:

There are various ways teachers can set up this activity. Much will depend on the number of students available to take part in the role play. Ideally, the class should be divided into restaurant employees and customers. The employees have their designated position in the restaurant (waiter/waitress, host/hostess, cook, manager) and the customers can be divided into small groups. Have the customers enter and seat them accordingly. Run through the role play from ordering food to paying the bill. After, the students can switch roles and keep the activity going. The customers become the employees and vice versa.

Eliciting Conversation:

Create an interactive storyline. This may be more difficult with younger children, but for older students and adults you can build on the activity by providing students with a situation. Why are they at the restaurant? One group could be celebrating a birthday. Another group could be eating out with colleagues from work. Perhaps people are on a double-date. The scenarios are endless, and will give the customers conversation to develop on while they're at the restaurant.

Restaurant Vocabulary

Learning New Words

Food Vocabulary:

Make a menu in class. You can let the students choose what food items will go on the menu or utilize learned vocabulary. Here are some food suggestions:





















Restaurant Vocabulary:

Discuss some common vocabulary words that pertain to restaurants. Use real objects or pictures so the students have a visual reference. Here are some suggestions for creating a list of vocabulary words.





















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Restaurant Script

Learning Phrases and Expressions

Waiter/Waitress - Questions and Phrases

"Hello. How is everybody doing today?"

"Would you like an appetizer?"

"What would you like to drink?"

"Are you ready to order?"

"How is everyone's meal?"

"Would anyone like desert?"

Host/Hostess - Questions and Phrases

"Hello. Welcome to (Name of Restaurant).

"How many in your party?"

"Follow me please"

"Enjoy your dinner."

"Please come again"

Manager - Questions and Phrases

"Hello. How is everyone tonight?"

"Have a great night."

"Is there a problem?"

Customer - Questions and Phrases

"I would like a cola/juice/a glass of wine"

"I would like the ________."

"I would like to speak to the manager please"

"It's delicious"

"No thank you."

"Yes please"

**For more expressions and phrases click on the link below and print out a script.

Restaurant Role Play Script

Frequently used questions and phrases at a restaurant.

Make Your Restaurant Better

Enhance the Environment


Have the students create menus once a list of food items has been determined. This could be an arts & crafts activity. Allow the students to be creative in designing the restaurant menus.


Create tables by pushing desks together. Set two to four chairs around the table. You can even throw a sheet over the top as a tablecloth. Place candles, flowers, or other miscellaneous items to make the setting appear more authentic.


Get creative when serving the food. Have some students work in the kitchen. They can draw the food on blank sheets of paper as the waiters/waitresses tell the orders.


Bring some speakers and an iPod into the room. Put on some background music at a low level. The music could even correspond to the theme of your restaurant.

Restaurant Word Search

See if you can find these restaurant words.

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