Understanding the Menu
If you are going to be working in a restaurant, it is important that you understand the menu. Different menus use different words to mean the same thing. They also use certain words to make food sound more delicious. It isn't just the server who should know the menu. Hosts, bartenders, and bussers may also get asked questions about the menu from the guests. Cooks have to know the menu inside-out as well. After all, if an item says it is smothered in mozzerella cheese it can't just have a sprinkling of cheddar.
Most menus are divided into sections. You may need to help a guest find the entrees, or desserts. A guest might call a drink a beverage or a refreshment. Learn the different terms that are used so that you can understand and serve your guests promptly and accurately.
||Also Known As
||Appies, Finger Food, Combo Platters, Snacks, Starters
||Garlic Bread, Cheese Plate, Nachos
|Salads (and Soups)
||Garden Fresh, Greens, Light Fare, Lighter Favourites, Low Calorie Choices, Low-fat Selections
||Tossed Salad, Caesar Salad, Soup of the Day
||Burgers, From the Deli, From the Grill, Lunch Menu, Wraps
||Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Veggie (Garden) Burger, Steak Sandwich
||Noodles, Pasta, Pizza
||Spaghetti, Pepperoni Pizza, Fettucini
||Entrée, Dinners, Main Dish, Main Event
||New York Steak, Chicken Stirfry, Hearty Stew
||Accompaniments, On the Side, Side Dishes
||French Fries, Rice, Grilled Veggies
||Catch of the day, Fish, Fresh from the Sea
||Fish and Chips, Battered Shrimp, Smoked Salmon
||South of the Border, Tex-Mex
||Fajitas, Nachos, Enchilladas
||Signature items, Favorites, Pleasers, 5 Stars
||BBQ Ribs, Hot Wings, Chicken Cordon Bleu
||Sweets, Treats, For the Sweet Tooth
||Apple Pie, Mocha Cheesecake, Banana Split
||Drinks, Non-alcoholic beverages, Refreshments
||Soda Pop, Juice, Milk
|Wine and Beer
||Coolers, Draft, Liquor, Specialty Drinks, Spirits, From the Bar
||House Wine, Jug of Beer, Peach Cider
||Juniors, Kids Stuff, Little Tikes, For the Munchkins
||Spaghetti and Meatballs, Cheeseburger, Chicken Fingers
Descriptive Words and Expressions on a Menu
Menus often contain special language to make items sound delicious. These words and expressions can also convince the guests to order more food, such as appetizers or dessert. It is useful for servers to learn these expressions in order to sound more knowledgable and achieve better sales. In many English speaking countries, especially North America, having higher sales means earning better tips.
||Guests can have this food served a different way.
||All burger selections are available with whole wheat buns.
|bottomless (free refills)
||Guests can have more without paying.
||Coffee and tea is bottomless.
||many large pieces of meat or vegetables
||A steaming bowl of chunky vegetable soup
|coated in, glazed
||covered in a sauce (often before cooking)
||Breast of chicken coated in teriyaki sauce
||makes a crunchy sound when you chew
||Caesar salad with fresh lettuce and crispy croutons
||a small amount of liquid poured over top
||Apple pie and vanilla ice cream drizzled with butterscotch
||final step of the food preparation
||A generous portion of spaghetti and garlic tomato sauce, finished with homemade meatballs
||just off the farm/ out of the garden/
||All omelettes are made with three fresh egg whites.
||Our dinners are garnished with fresh parsley and seasonal fruit.
|generous portion, heaping, loaded with
||a large amount of
||All sandwiches are served with a generous portion of fresh cut fries.
|home style, homemade, made from scratch
||from a recipe (not a package)
||Try our chef's homemade chili with fresh baked bread.
||with liquid remaining for taste
||Garden salad with juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions
|lightly breaded, battered
||rolled in bread crumbs, eggs, or other mixture and cooked
||Our fish is lightly battered in beer.
||left in fridge to soak up sauce/juice/flavoring
||Our steaks are marinated in a rich peppercorn sauce.
||A vegetable medley tossed in olive oil and served over rice
||appearance causes mouth to salivate
||Finish your meal off with one of our mouth watering desserts.
|on a bed of
||on top of a layer of
||A ginger chicken stir fry served on a bed of rice
||produce varies at different times during the year
||Ask your server about our seasonal fruit pies.
||herbs and spices added
||Roasted chicken seasoned with fresh basil and oregano
Match the menu items with the menu section they belong in.
||Big Daddy's Hamburger with fresh cut fries
||Homemade Iced Tea
||Junior Spaghetti and Meatballs
||Peach pie a la mode
||Mouth watering garlic cheese toast
||Loaded mashed potatoes
||Chef Brian's homestyle chili
||Lemon and herb glazed Salmon
||Seasonal tossed greens
||1/2 litre house white
ANSWERS: 1d, 2e, 3g, 4b, 5h, 6f, 7c, 8a, 9j, 10i
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