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0283 A Restaurant Drive-Thru

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 283: A Restaurant Drive-Thru.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 283. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Go to our website at eslpod.com to find out more about this podcast. You can also see a transcript of the dialogue by clicking on the name of the podcast. If you want a complete transcript, you can download the Learning Guide for this episode. More information is available on the website.

This episode is called “A Restaurant Drive-Thru.” A “drive-thru restaurant” is one where you are in your car, and you get your food in your car. Let's get started.

[start of story]

I had a little time between appointments and stopped at a fast food restaurant to get some lunch. The idea was to save time by using the drive-thru, but it didn’t work out that way.

Order-taker: Welcome to McDenny’s. May I take your order?

Daniel: Yes. I’d like a cheeseburger, an order of French fries, and a large soda.

Order-taker: I’m sorry, sir. Can you speak up and speak directly into the microphone? I can barely hear you.

Daniel: Oh, okay. I want to order one cheeseburger, one order of fries, and a large soda.

Order-taker: That’s four hamburgers, an order of French fries, and a sundae. Would you like anything else?

Daniel: No, I mean, yes. That order isn’t right. I wanted one cheeseburger, one order of fries, and a soda.

Order-taker: No problem, sir. There’s no need to shout. I can add those to your order. That’s four hamburgers, one cheeseburger, two orders of French fries, a sundae, and a soda. Your total comes to $18.95. Please pull up to the next window.

Daniel: Wait! Hello, hello. There’s been a mix-up. Hello!

Order-taker: Please pull up to the next window, sir. There are cars behind you and you’re holding up the line.

Daniel: But you don’t understand. My order is all wrong. I don’t want five burgers!

Order-taker: Well, sir, if you’ve changed your mind, just tell me your new order. There are other customers waiting.

Daniel: Forget it. Cancel my order. I’ve lost my appetite!

[end of story]

Our dialogue begins with Daniel saying that he had a little time between “appointment,” places where he had to go, or be, so he stopped at a fast food restaurant to get some lunch. A “fast food restaurant” is a restaurant that gives you your food within, usually, three or four minutes.

The title of this episode is “A Restaurant Drive-Thru.” A “drive-thru” is when you are in your car, and you can order and pick up your food without getting out of your car. It's a very common kind of restaurant you'll see in big cities like Los Angeles, especially since everyone in Los Angeles drives a car because we don't have a good public transportation system.

Well, in the story Daniel explains that the idea of going to a fast food drive-thru restaurant was to save time, meaning to do something quickly now so that you have more time to do something else in the future.

The person who works at the restaurant says, “Welcome to McDenny’s.” Now, of course, Daniel is in his car; he is not talking to this person “directly,” face to face. He's talking to her through a speaker and a microphone. The order-taker says, “Welcome to McDenny’s” – not a real restaurant. There is a restaurant called “McDonald's,” but this is not McDonald's this is McDenny’s, just a name that we invented for our dialogue. The order-taker says, “May I take your order?” This is what they will say to you if you drive up to drive-thru restaurant. “May I take your order,” in other words, “Let me know what you want to eat. Tell me what you want.”

Daniel says, “I’d like a cheeseburger, an order of French fries, and a large soda.” A “cheeseburger” (one word) is a hamburger that has cheese on top of it. It is very bad for your heart, but it tastes great. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it! “French fries” are potatoes that are cut up and put in hot oil, and a “soda” is something that you drink such as Coke – Coca-Cola – or Pepsi. In some parts of the U.S., especially where I am from in Minnesota, we say, “pop” (pop). In some places, they say, “soda-pop,” and in other places they just say, “soda.” So, you may hear all of those expressions when talking about things like Coke and Pepsi.

The order-taker says, “I’m sorry, sir. Can you speak up and speak directly into the microphone?” “To speak up” means to talk louder. If someone says to you, “Please speak up,” they mean, “Please talk louder,” they can't hear you. The “microphone” is what someone talks into, in this case, so that the order-taker can hear you. We use a microphone to record things as well; I am speaking into a microphone right now.

The order-taker says, “I can barely hear you.” “Barely” (barely) means almost unable to do something; you can do it, but you are close to not being able to do it. You could also say, “hardly” (hardly). You could say, for example, “She is barely old enough to drive,” meaning she is just old enough; she's 16 years old, she's barely old enough to drive. She is old enough to drive, but not by much.

In this case, the order-taker says, “I can barely hear you,” meaning “I can hear you, but it is very difficult.” So, Daniel repeats his order of one cheeseburger, one order of fries, meaning one bag of French fries, and a large soda. The order-taker, however, doesn't understand – doesn't hear Daniel. So, she repeats the order – she tells Daniel what he said to her just to make sure, and she gets the order wrong.

She says, “That’s four hamburgers, an order of French fries, and a sundae.” A “sundae” (sundae) is a dish of ice cream, usually with something on top of it like chocolate or nuts. Many fast food restaurants that sell hamburgers also sell these “sundaes” – ice cream sundaes. Of course, Daniel did not want a sundae, he did not want four hamburgers; he wanted one cheeseburger and a large soda.

The order-taker then says, “Would you like anything else? Daniel is a little confused, he says, “No, I mean, yes. That order isn’t right” – it is not correct. He then repeats his order, saying it louder.

The order-taker says, “No problem, sir. There’s no need to shout.” “To shout” (shout) is to talk in a very loud voice. It means the same as “to yell” (yell). “To yell” or “to shout” is to speak very loudly. Of course, the order-taker told Daniel to speak up just a few minutes ago, and now she's telling him not to shout.

The order-taker is still wrong about the order. She says, “I can add those to your order.” She now thinks that Daniel wants even more food. She then tells him that “Your total comes to $18.95.” Your “total” means the amount that you “owe,” how much money you have to pay for everything.

She then says, “Please pull up to the next window.” “To pull up to something” means to move forward in your car and stop next to something. So in this case, she is asking Daniel to move his car forward to the window, where he can get his food from her. Daniel says wait a minute; hold on. “Wait,” he says, “There’s been a mix-up.” A “mix-up” (mix-up) is a “misunderstanding,” when there is confusion, a communication problem.

The order-taker says, “Please pull up to the next window, sir. There are cars behind you and you’re holding up the line.” “To hold up (two words) something” means to make other people wait, usually because you're doing something slowly. So, if someone says, “You're holding up the line,” they mean you are going too slowly, and there are other people behind you who are waiting, and you are preventing them from moving forward.

Daniel says that his order is wrong, and the order-taker, still not understanding, says, “Well, sir, if you’ve changed your mind, just tell me your new order.” “To change your mind” means to decide to do something differently, something different than what you originally planned. For example, you could say, “I am going to jump into the pool to swim,” and then you could say, “Oh, I changed my mind. I'm not going to swim today; I remembered that I don't know how to swim.” That would be “changing your mind,” and it would be very good idea, in this case!

Finally, Daniel says, “Forget it,” meaning “I've had enough; this is ridiculous.” He tells her to cancel his order. “To cancel” (cancel) means to not do something that you were planning to do. “I canceled my trip. I was going to go to San Francisco, and then I changed my mind and canceled it” – decided not to do it.

In this case, Daniel says he's lost his appetite. “To lose your appetite” means to no longer be hungry – not to be hungry any more. We usually use that expression when something happens; you see something or you hear something and you are no longer hungry.

Now let's listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

I had a little time between appointments and stopped at a fast food restaurant to get some lunch. The idea was to save time by using the drive-thru, but it didn’t work out that way.

Order-taker: Welcome to McDenny’s. May I take your order?

Daniel: Yes. I’d like a cheeseburger, an order of French fries, and a large soda.

Order-taker: I’m sorry, sir. Can you speak up and speak directly into the microphone? I can barely hear you.

Daniel: Oh, okay. I want one cheeseburger, one order of fries, and a large soda.

Order-taker: That’s four hamburgers, an order of French fries, and a sundae. Would you like anything else?

Daniel: No, I mean, yes. That order isn’t right. I wanted one cheeseburger, one order of fries, and a soda.

Order-taker: No problem, sir. There’s no need to shout. I can add those to your order. That’s four hamburgers, one cheeseburger, two orders of French fries, a sundae, and a soda. Your total comes to $18.95. Please pull up to the next window.

Daniel: Wait! Hello, hello. There’s been a mix-up. Hello!

Order-taker: Please pull up to the next window, sir. There are cars behind you and you’re holding up the line.

Daniel: But you don’t understand. My order is all wrong. I don’t want five burgers!

Order-taker: Well, sir, if you’ve changed your mind, just tell me your new order. There are other customers waiting.

Daniel: Forget it. Cancel my order. I’ve lost my appetite!

[end of story]

The script for this episode was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2007.

Glossary
to save time – to do something quickly so that one has more time to do other things later

* Washing machines are a wonderful way to save time in the home.


May I take your order? – a polite phrase used in restaurants to ask customers to let the waiter know what they would like to eat or drink

* May I take your order? Yes, please. I’d like the chicken salad and a glass of mineral water.


to speak up – to speak more loudly; to talk more loudly

* Your presentation was good, but you need to speak up so that the people in the back of the room can hear you.


microphone – an electronic device someone speaks into which takes the sound to another place or makes the sound louder

* We can’t hear the presenter in the back. Could you tell her to speak into the microphone?


barely – hardly; only just; almost unable to do something; almost not able to do something

* Wynona barely got to class on time. The bell rang as soon as she stepped into the classroom.


cheeseburger – a hot sandwich that is made from a round piece of bread cut into two pieces with a “hamburger patty” (ground beef formed into a circle) and a slice of cheese inside, usually with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, onion, and tomato

* Some people like to put bacon on their cheeseburgers.


French fries – long, thin pieces of potato that are cooked in oil, salted, and eaten hot

* French fries have a lot of cholesterol, so they aren’t good for your heart.


soda – pop; a sweet, carbonated liquid like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, 7-Up, Sprite, Fanta, A&W Rootbeer, etc.

* How many cans of soda do you drink in a week?


sundae – a dish of ice cream covered with chocolate, caramel, or berry sauce, usually with nuts and a cherry on top

* Dad’s favorite sundae is vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and peanuts.


to shout – to say something very loudly; to yell

* The restaurant was very noisy and we almost had to shout to be heard.


to add – to put something else in a group of things; to put something with another thing

* Please add this letter to the ones you’re taking to the post office.


to pull up to (something) – to drive one’s car forward and stop next to something

* My house is there. Please pull up to that corner so that I can get out of the car.


mix-up – confusion; a misunderstanding; a communication problem

* I ordered a blue jacket, but I received an orange one. There must have been a mix-up at the store.


to hold up – to make other people wait, usually because one is doing something too slowly

* The accident held up downtown traffic for more than two hours.


to change (one’s) mind – to decide to do something different that originally planned; to change one’s idea

* Ezekiel was planning to go skiing with us, but he changed his mind and decided to stay at home.


to cancel – to undo something; to not do something that was planned

* Let’s cancel our hotel reservation and stay with my uncle instead.


to lose (one’s) appetite – to no longer be hungry; to not be hungry anymore; to suddenly not be hungry although one was hungry a little while ago

* When Katya saw dog on the menu, she lost her appetite and wanted to leave the restaurant.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does the order-taker ask Daniel to speak up?
a) Because Daniel needs to save time.
b) Because Daniel is speaking too quietly.
c) Because Daniel was speaking down.

2. Why does Daniel cancel his order?
a) Because he is frustrated that the order-taker can’t understand him.
b) Because he doesn’t have enough money to pay $18.95.
c) Because he has changed his mind about how many burgers he wants.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to speak up

The phrase “to speak up,” in this podcast, means to speak more loudly: “You need to speak up when you talk to Grandma, because her hearing isn’t very good.” The phrase “to speak over (someone)” means to interrupt someone, or to talk when another person is speaking: “The children were speaking over each other and nobody could understand what they were saying.” The phrase “to speak out against (something)” means to say publicly that one doesn’t agree with something: “Millions of Americans spoke out against the Vietnam War.” Finally, the phrase “to speak for (someone)” means to speak while sharing other people’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions: “I speak for the entire department when I say that we will miss you when leave to take another job.”

to add

In this podcast, the verb “to add” means to put something else in a group of things or with another thing: “Please add these names to the list of participants.” “To add” can also mean to say something in addition to what has already been said: “After Diane described the new project, Lulu added that it was the biggest project the company has had in years.” In mathematics, the verb “to add” means to sum two or more numbers: “Students, what do you get when you add 82 and 203? 285.” Finally, the verb “to add” can mean to increase the size, amount, or cost of something: “The phone company adds a 13% tax to the bill each month.” Or, “The Hardwicks are adding a new bedroom to their home.”

Culture Note
In the United States, people drive to most places and rarely walk or take busses. When they need to “run errands” (make many short trips to buy or do things), they usually park as close as they can to the places they need to visit. Many businesses have “drive-thru windows” so that customers can use their services without getting out of their cars.

Like most fast-food restaurants, many coffee shops offer drive-thru windows. People who have to drive a long way like to quickly pull up to the drive-thru window to buy a cup of coffee, because the “caffeine” (a chemical in coffee) helps them stay awake and concentrate on driving.

In addition, most U.S. banks have drive-thru windows. The bank “teller,” or the employee, is inside the bank behind a glass window. The car pulls up to the window and the driver communicates with the employee through a microphone. A special drawer lets the driver and the teller pass papers and money to each other. Unless the line is very long, using the drive-thru is usually faster than going into the bank.

Many “dry-cleaning” shops, or stores that clean one’s clothes without using water that might damage special fabrics, also offer drive-thru services. The car pulls up to the drive-thru window and the driver can “drop off” or leave dirty clothes there. A few days later, the driver can return to pay and “pick up” or get the clean clothes.

There really is no limit to the types of services that can be done through a drive-thru window. Probably the most “bizarre” or strange drive-thru service is in Las Vegas, Nevada, where people can get married through a drive-thru window!

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a