If you’re looking for some of the best ESL restaurant and ordering food activities, games, role-plays, lesson plans and worksheets, then you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for everything you need to teach this unit on eating out in style.
Ordering Food ESL Activities and Games
Let’s get into the best ESL restaurant games and activities to try out with your students today.
#1: Practice Ordering Food with Roleplays
The best way to give students some practice with ordering food is of course to do some role-plays. I like to give students some situations and conversation starters and then let them get to work. Consider bringing in some fake money to make this exercise even more realistic.
All the students can do the same situation or it’s also possible to come up with a few different ones to put on cards so students can have a chance to practice in various situations. Of course, mix it up so that students each get a chance to practice ordering as well as taking an order.
With a smaller class, the teacher can take a bigger role is being the person who takes the order with each of the students getting a chance to order their meal. There are a number of different things to do related to this so get creative and have some fun!
#2: ESL Fruit and Veggies Quiz
If your students need some review about basic food vocabulary, have a look at this simple online quiz:
#3: Restaurant ESL Running Dictation
A nice way to give students some practice with ESL restaurant dialogues is to do running dictation. Find (or write) a dialogue related to ordering food at a restaurant and then paste pieces of it around the room. Students have to work in pairs to dictate the conversation and once done, put the strips of paper in the correct order.
It’s challenging, engaging and interactive. Give it a try and I’m confident that your students will love it! Find out all the details about it here:
ESL Running Dictation Activity.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 133 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
#4: Telephone English Speaking Game
Try out this fun ESL speaking game for kids to get some practice with common phrases that they might use to order food at a restaurant. You may have played this game as a kid.
The way it works is that students have to pass a message down the line and then compare what the last person has with the original one. The results are usually hilarious!
In this case, the phrase or sentence should be something related to ordering food. Check it out here:
#5: ESL Restaurant Dialogue Substitution
New vocabulary is often introduced through a dialogue. However, maybe your students are kind of like mine and just blow through it without really paying attention to what they’re reading. It’s really not their fault, it’s mostly that they don’t have a reason to read.
A way to give students a reason to read is to remove some of the key words. Then, it turns this activity from a simple reading one into one that involves meaning as well. Find out more about it:
ESL Dialogue Substitution Reading Activity.
#6: More Ideas for Food and Drink Games and Activities
#7: Countable/Uncountable Nouns and Ordering Food
A natural fit for the unit on ordering food at a restaurant is countable and uncountable nouns. Students can get lots of practice with these kinds of nouns with things like:
- A glass of water
- Some water
- A small bowl of soup
- 2 orders of fries
One idea is to bring in some restaurant menus and then have students look for examples of various kinds of nouns. Or, have students do a role-play where they order food, paying careful attention to this grammar point.
#8: Restaurant Menus and Likes/Dislikes
A natural fit for language related to likes and dislikes is using a restaurant menu. Students can take a look at the menu and then decide which dishes they like and would order as well as ones that they wouldn’t consider and why.
#9: Simple Food Vocabulary Quiz
#10: Restaurant ESL Warm-Up
A nice way to introduce this topic is to show a restaurant menu on the PowerPoint. Then, elicit some details from students. For example:
- What they’d like to order
- What they wouldn’t order
- Kind of restaurant
- Cheap or expensive
- Could kids eat there
Find out more about this activity here:
Dialogue Substitution Activity.
#11: Task-Based Teaching Ideas for Restaurants and Eating Out
I like to incorporate some task-based ESL teaching and learning into my classes. It’s a nice change of pace from the mostly communicative style of activities that are found in most ESL textbooks. Related to this topic, here are some things to consider doing with your students:
- Information gap activities where students work together to figure out someone’s order at a restaurant. Each student only has half the information and they need to get the complete picture through talking with each other.
- A project where each group has to plan a dinner at a restaurant for the class. They have to find information like food options, prices, operating hours, whether or not the restaurant takes reservations, etc. and then make a presentation to the class.
- Role-plays where students take turns ordering food and taking orders at a restaurant.
#12: Dictogloss ESL Ordering Food Activity
If you teach more advanced students, try out this challenging activity. Find (or write) a dialogue of someone ordering food at a restaurant. Throw in a few complicated things like substitutions, etc.
Then, put students into pairs and read it out at a faster than normal pace for the level of the students. They have to take notes and then compare with their partner to try to recreate what they heard. Read it out again quickly and students do the same. Finally, they can compare what they have with the original version.
Want to give it a try? Here are all the details:
Dictogloss 4-Skills ESL Activity.
If your students are learning how to order food in a restaurant with a textbook, it might be the case that it’s introduced through a dialogue. Here is a simple way to increase the level of difficulty of that.
#13: Menu Activity for English Learners
#14: Disappearing Text with ESL Restaurant Phrases
If you want to help students remember some key phrases related to ordering food, try out this quick review activity. Write a sentence on the board and have students read it out loud all together. Then, erase the first word or two and students have to say it again. Keep going until the entire sentence is gone but students are able to remember what it is.
Learn more about it:
ESL Disappearing Text Speaking Activity.
#15: ESL Menus
If you want to give students a chance to practice ordering food in a real-life kind of setting, be sure to use some menus and set up some role-plays. Just Google, “ESL menu” and you’ll see a myriad of options for any age and kind of food that you want to focus on.
This is a really nice food activity! Try it out with your students.
#16: Would You Rather Food Questions
I love to have my students discuss would you rather questions related to food. They are a fun way to get students talking, and of course, everyone has a strong opinion about what they like to eat!
ESL Restaurant Role Play Cards
One of the best ways to teach English learners how to order food is by using some restaurant roleplay. Check out some of the top recommendations for this:
ESL Restaurant Worksheets
Restaurants, eating out, and reading a menu worksheets can be quite a useful resource for our students. Here are some of the top recommendations for this:
ESL Restaurant Dialogues
If you’re looking for some good ESL restaurant dialogues to use, have a look here at some of my favourite options:
Ordering Food and Eating Out ESL Lesson Plans
If you’re a teacher then I’m sure you like to save time. One of the best ways to do this is to use lesson plans that other teachers have created. Here are some of the top picks for ESL restaurant lessons to choose from:
ESL Restaurant Vocabulary
Here is some ESL restaurant vocabulary to consider teaching:
- main course
- eat in
- take out
- fast food
- fast casual
- wine list
Did you like these Restaurant Activities and Games?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
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Have your say about the Best Restaurant and Ordering Food Activities and Roleplays
What’s your top pick for an ordering food game or activity? Is it one of the options from this list or do you have another one that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
I’m teaching my students about how to order food in a restaurant and found all your activity ideas really helpful. Thank you and keep up the great work!