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0373 Ordering Food Delivery

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 373: Ordering Food for Delivery.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast number 373. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. You can download a Learning Guide from our website to help you improve your English even faster. You can also take a look at our ESL Podcast Store, which has some additional courses in business and daily English I think you may enjoy.

This episode is about ordering food from a restaurant to be delivered to your house. It’s a conversation between a woman who’s calling and ordering the food and the restaurant employee. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Order clerk: Hello, Torino’s Restaurant.

Nancy: Hello, I’d like to place a delivery order.

Order clerk: Can I have your address and the major cross streets, please?

Nancy: It’s 1212 Main Street, and the nearest cross streets are Speedway and Highland.

Order clerk: Okay, it looks like you’re in our delivery area. What would you like to order?

Nancy: I’d like an order of spaghetti. Does that come with any sides?

Order clerk: You have a choice of soup or salad.

Nancy: I’ll have the salad.

Order clerk: Is that all? We have a $15 minimum for delivery orders.

Nancy: In that case, I’ll also take an appetizer sampler plate.

Order clerk: Okay, that’s one order of spaghetti and an appetizer sampler plate. You’re still $3 short. Would you like a drink or some dessert?

Nancy: I’ll take an iced tea.

Order clerk: All right, but you’re still a dollar short.

Nancy: What can I get for a dollar?

Order clerk: There’s nothing on the menu for a dollar, ma’am.

Nancy: And you won’t deliver my $14 order?

Order clerk: That’s our policy, ma’am.

Nancy: All right, you win. Give me an order of bread. How long will that take?

Order clerk: You should get your food in about an hour.

Nancy: An hour?!?

Order clerk: Yes, ma’am. You’ve ordered a lot of food and it takes time for us to prepare it.

[end of dialogue]

The telephone call begins with the restaurant employee, the clerk, saying, “Hello, Torino’s Restaurant.” Nancy says, “Hello, I’d like to place a delivery order.” A “delivery order” is when a restaurant brings the food to your house or to where you work; usually you call them on the phone. Now, I guess, you could perhaps email them your order, though I think most people still call on the phone. The verb “to place,” here, means, in this case, to tell the restaurant what you want to eat – what food you want to order, and that’s what Nancy does.

The order clerk says, “Can I have your address and the major cross streets, please?” “Major,” here, means most important or large. The two large “cross streets” would be the two streets that are large that have a lot of traffic on them that would be close to where you live. The restaurant is trying to figure out where the person lives. Most restaurants will only deliver food if you live within a certain distance from the restaurant. If you live 20 miles away they’re not going to deliver your food, so you have to live close, and that’s why the clerk asks for the address and the major cross streets. Nancy says, “It’s 1212 Main Street, and the nearest cross streets are Speedway and Highland.” The clerk says, “Okay, it looks like you’re in our delivery area.” The “delivery area” would be the area around the restaurant where they deliver food, as I was mentioning earlier.

The clerk says, “What would you like to order?” Nancy says, “I’d like an order of spaghetti.” An “order of” means usually one plate or one dish full of food. If you’re eating breakfast at a restaurant, and you say “I want an order of toast and an order of bacon,” that means I want, usually, two pieces of toast and some bacon. Nancy orders some spaghetti. She says, “I’d like an order of spaghetti,” and then she asks, “Does that come with any sides?” A “side,” when we are talking about a restaurant, are food items that you get in addition to the main dish. So let’s say you’re ordering a steak, your sides might include mashed potatoes and corn or some other vegetable. So, there are things that come with the main dish – the main food that you’re eating. The word “side” has lots of different meanings in English; take a look at the Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

Since Nancy is ordering spaghetti, I should mention that the two most popular kinds of restaurants in the United States, that have delivery food, are Italian and Chinese. So, if you come to the United States, you can almost always find Italian and Chinese restaurants; in some parts, you can also usually find Indian restaurants.

Getting back to our story, the order clerk answers Nancy’s question by saying, “You have a choice of soup or salad.” “A choice of” means you can pick between one or two things. In this case, Nancy says, “I’ll have the salad.” The order clerk says, “Is that all? We have a $15 minimum for delivery orders.” Most restaurants will only deliver your food for free if you order a certain amount; so if you don’t order enough, they won’t deliver it. That’s what the clerk means by the “$15 minimum,” the smallest or lowest possible amount of something.

Nancy then says, “In that case, I’ll also take an appetizer sampler plate.” “In that case” is a very common phrase used to indicate that you are changing your plans; now you’re going to do something else because the situation has changed. Nancy didn’t realize she had to buy $15 worth of food; now that she knows, she changes her plans, and that’s why she says, “In that case, I’ll take an appetizers sampler plate.” “To sample something” means to try or to test something before you buy it. A “sampler plate” in a restaurant, however, is a food dish that contains small amounts of many different kinds of food. It’s a way for you to be able to taste different kinds of food in the restaurant without ordering an entire meal of that food.

The clerk says, “Okay, that’s one order of spaghetti and an appetizer sampler plate.” Then he says, “You’re still $3 short.” “To be short” means not to have enough of something, usually money. So you say, “I’m short $3,” you mean I need three more dollars to buy this thing. In this case, Nancy is short $3, so the clerk asks, “Would you like a drink or some dessert?” Nancy says, “I’ll take an iced tea.” “I’ll take (or I’ll have – I’ll order) an iced tea.” The clerk says, “All right, but you’re still a dollar short.” She still needs one more dollar worth of food.

Nancy says, “What can I get for a dollar?” The clerk says, “There’s nothing on the menu for a dollar, ma’am.” “Ma’am” is short for madame; it’s a polite term of respect used for women, when we’re talking to a woman. It’s sort of an old-fashioned word that you would use with a woman who was older than you. Nancy says, “And you won’t deliver my $14 order?” She’s saying can’t I get delivery even though I’m a dollar short, and the clerk says basically, no, “That’s our policy, ma’am.” A “policy” is a rule, in this case.

Nancy says, “All right, you win,” meaning they were having this disagreement and she’s saying that you win the argument. She says, “Give me an order of bread.” Then she asks, “How long will that take,” which is an informal way of asking someone how much time will it be before a certain thing is done. In this case, how long will it be until I get my food delivered, and the clerk says, “You should get your food in about an hour.” Normally, restaurants deliver food within 20 or 30 minutes to your house, so an hour is a very long time.

Nancy says, “An hour?!?” She can’t believe it. The clerk says, “Yes. You ordered a lot of food and it takes time for us to prepare it.” Of course, she only ordered all of the food because she had to get to the $15 minimum.

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

[start of dialogue]

Order clerk: Hello, Torino’s Restaurant.

Nancy: Hello, I’d like to place a delivery order.

Order clerk: Can I have your address and the major cross streets, please?

Nancy: It’s 1212 Main Street, and the nearest cross streets are Speedway and Highland.

Order clerk: Okay, it looks like you’re in our delivery area. What would you like to order?

Nancy: I’d like an order of spaghetti. Does that come with any sides?

Order clerk: You have a choice of soup or salad.

Nancy: I’ll have the salad.

Order clerk: Is that all? We have a $15 minimum for delivery orders.

Nancy: In that case, I’ll also take an appetizer sampler plate.

Order clerk: Okay, that’s one order of spaghetti and an appetizer sampler plate. You’re still $3 short. Would you like a drink or some dessert?

Nancy: I’ll take an iced tea.

Order clerk: All right, but you’re still a dollar short.

Nancy: What can I get for a dollar?

Order clerk: There’s nothing on the menu for a dollar, ma’am.

Nancy: And you won’t deliver my $14 order?

Order clerk: That’s our policy, ma’am.

Nancy: All right, you win. Give me an order of bread. How long will that take?

Order clerk: You should get your food in about an hour.

Nancy: An hour?!?

Order clerk: Yes, ma’am. You’ve ordered a lot of food and it takes time for us to prepare it.

[end of dialogue]

Special thanks to Carin Chea, who helped us read the dialogue today, and of course, we’d like to thank Dr. Lucy Tse, who wrote the script.

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 2008.

Glossary
delivery order – when a restaurant takes a food order by phone and then, often by car, brings the food to a person’s home or office

* I was hungry but didn’t want to leave my house, so I called the pizza restaurant and asked for a delivery order.

to place – to give instructions regarding a service; to tell a person at a restaurant or business what it is you want

* Julio called the flower shop to place an order of flowers for his girlfriend’s birthday.

major cross streets – the point at which two large streets meet or intersect forming a cross, or t-shape

* The traffic on both Jones Ave. and Main Street is always very busy, but the major cross street where they intersect is the worst!

delivery area – the area or distance to which a restaurant will bring a delivery order of food

* Our house is fifteen miles from the restaurant so it’s outside of their delivery area.

an order of – an informal unit of measure for food; usually one plate or dish of food

* Jenny wanted an order of French fries to eat with her hamburger.

sides – food items that are eaten in small amounts together with a main dish; small amounts of food that is usually placed next to the main dish on a plate

* Uwe’s grandmother cooked chicken with a side of mashed potatoes for dinner.

a choice of – given a decision between two or more things; to have more than one option

* The store sold shirts in a choice of colors, including red, green, and blue.

minimum – the smallest or lowest possible amount of something

* She doesn’t have a job now, so she spends a minimum amount of money on things like clothes and CDs.

in that case – a phrase used to indicate a change of plans; because one thing changed, a person will now do something else

* Dan said the movie theater may not be open today. In that case, I will just watch TV.

sampler plate – a food dish that contains small amounts or samples of many different foods; a large plate with different types of food for the customer to try

* Toshi couldn’t decide on just one type of vegetable, so he ordered a sampler plate that included them all.

to be short – to not have enough of something, often money; to have less than is required

* My father gave me some money to buy the bike, but I am still 10 dollars short.

ma’am – short for madame; a polite term of respect used for women

* “Would you like something to drink, ma’am?” the boy asked his mother’s friend.

policy – a strict rule; the way that an action is done; the way a situation is handled

* It was the restaurant’s policy not to serve alcohol after eleven o’clock.

how long will that take? – an informal way to ask someone how much time until an action is completed

* How long will it take Sara to go to the store and buy the computer?

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Nancy add an order of bread?
a) She thinks bread is part of a healthy diet.
b) To meet the company’s $15 minimum for delivery orders.
c) Because her friend told her to order more food.

2. What is a side?
a) A place where a person can order food.
b) The point at which two main streets intersect.
c) A small amount of food eaten with a main dish.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
sides

In this podcast, the word “sides” refers to small amounts of food eaten with a main dish, eaten “on the side”: “Where are the sides I ordered with our fried chicken?” However, a side can also mean the outer edge of a shape or object: “A square has four sides, a triangle has three, and an octagon has eight.” The areas on either side of the human torso above the hips and below the arms are also called “sides”: “He had surgery to have his liver removed, and now he has scars on his sides.” A side can also be a belief or point of view: “After speaking with him about this issue, I can now see his side.” Finally, to say that a person is from “the wrong side of the tracks” means that the person lived in a dangerous or bad neighborhood: “Joe grew up on the wrong side of the tracks; his parents sold drugs and his brother went to jail.”

to be short

The phrase, “to be short,” in this podcast means that someone doesn’t have enough of something, specifically money: “I want to buy this pair of shoes, but I’m three dollars short.” Short can also mean the opposite of “tall”: “The girl is very short and cannot reach the box on the high shelf.” Short is also the opposite of “long” when referring to amounts of time: “It was a short bus ride to Sarah’s house.” To “be short with” means to grow angry or irritable with another person: “He was very tired, and was short with the little girl when she asked for a new toy.” “To short change” is to cheat a person of money during a transaction by giving that person back less money than is owed: “I was short changed at that store yesterday when I gave the clerk one dollar for a 25 cent piece of candy and he only gave me 50 cents back.”

Culture Note
Many Americans are very busy with work and family, and enjoy the “convenience” (ease; lack of work) of placing delivery orders. When there is no time to cook, a good meal is often as easy as “picking up the phone” (calling) and telling the person on the other end what you would like to eat.

The time it takes to deliver a food order is different with each restaurant, but a typical “timeframe” (range of time) is 30 to 60 minutes. While many restaurants provide delivery service “free of charge” (for no extra money), it is a custom in the U.S. “to tip” (to give money as a “thank you” for a service) the person who delivers the food. Most Americans “agree” (share the belief) that a tip should equal 15 to 20 percent of the total cost of the food.

While convenient, many Americans feel that restaurants with delivery service are on the “pricier side” (more expensive). Americans have begun to “increasingly” (more and more) “rely on” (trust; depend upon) fast food restaurants to “fill their stomachs” (satisfy hunger) without “emptying their wallets” (spending too much money). Customers at fast food restaurants can place an order at the counter, and have that order “filled” (the food made ready) within a few minutes.

When a customer orders, the clerk (employee who takes the food orders) will often give a choice of “for here” (eat the food in the restaurant) or “to go” (take the food away to eat somewhere else). If the customer chooses “to go,” the food will be placed in a “take out bag” (plastic or paper bag often printed with the restaurant’s name), so that the customer can easily take the food out of the restaurant and enjoy the meal in the place of their choice without ever having “to set foot” (to go inside a place) in a kitchen.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - c