Ordering Food by Phone in America – How to Get What You Need

Ordering Food by Phone in America – How to Get What You Need

As you dial up the restaurant, your heart races. And by the time they answer, you have forgotten your order. Embarrassing, right? Anxiety will do that to a person.

Whether you’ve just arrived in America, or you’ve been here for a while, the nervousness of ordering food on call may still persist.

Even people with impeccable English skills might feel tongue-tied when the person on the other end of the phone asks an unexpected question. Maybe they say something you don’t understand; so you simply agree, and when the food finally arrives, it’s the wrong order. This is why you need a guide that simplifies this process.

The next time you call a restaurant to order food, follow these simple steps to reduce anxiety, and get your order in right:

Step 1: State Your Purpose for Calling

When you phone an American restaurant, they will introduce themselves first. So, you know you have dialed the right number. In case they don’t, just confirm the restaurant’s name once before you proceed.

They’ll ask you what you have called for, and you have to be precise with your response. Let’s assume you have dialed a Chinese restaurant. Your conversation should sound something like the following.


Restaurant: Hello, this is Leo from Magic Noodle House. How may I help you?

You: Hi, I’d like to place an order.

Restaurant: Pick-up or delivery?

You: Home delivery, please.

Step 2: Give Your Details

All the details required to deliver your food to your place would be filled in now. They usually ask for your address, phone number, and buzzer code (in case you live in an apartment complex). Be as precise with your address as possible. These questions should be pretty easy to answer.


Restaurant: May I have your address, please?

You: It’s 679 Wexford Street, house number 55.

Restaurant: And your phone number?

You: 415-888-3939

Step 3: Place Your Food Order

People usually fumble the most at this step. Check out the restaurant’s menu before you call so that you can be sure about your order. Write down the items you want to order before you call if necessary.

Now comes a challenging step. The person on call might ask you follow-up questions based on your order. This might be about the serving size or add-ons, and they might ask in typical restaurant lingo that you don’t quite comprehend. Don’t shy away from asking what they mean. If you quietly nod along, you might end up with a dish you didn’t exactly want. 

Another probability is they’ll try to upsell by offering their new discounts and combos. If you are interested in the offer, follow along; otherwise, politely decline. This is also the perfect time to add cooking instructions and requests if you have any.


Restaurant: What would you like to order?

You: I would like one wonton soup, one beef with broccoli, and one garlic noodles.

Restaurant: Would you like your wontons fried or steamed?

You: Steamed, please.

Restaurant: Beef with broccoli, half-plate or full?

You: What’s the difference?

Restaurant: You’ll get half-pound of beef with the half plate and one pound with the full.

You: Make it half-plate then.

Restaurant: Ok, anything else?

You: Yes, make the noodles spicy, please.

Restaurant: No problem.

Step 4: Provide Payment Details

Next, you have to tell them how you would like to pay. You can pay with either cash or a card, in most cases. This is a good time to use discount vouchers if you have any.


Restaurant: How would you like to pay?

You: In cash.

Step 5: Ask Your Questions

Before they hang up, you should ask whatever crucial questions you have. If they haven’t disclosed the bill, ask about it now. Also, enquire about how much time it will take. That’ll give you an estimate of how long you’ll have to wait without getting impatient or anxious.


You: How much is the bill?

Restaurant: It’s $25.99.

You: Are you taking a delivery charge?

Restaurant: Yes. It’s $2.

You: Okay. How long before the food arrives?

Restaurant: Shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes.

You: That’s fine.

Step 6: Wrap It Up

It is time for relief. The difficult part is over now. Say goodbye and hang up like you wanted to from the beginning.


Restaurant: Is there anything else I might help you with?

You: No thanks.

Restaurant: Okay. Thank you for calling Magic Noodle House. Have a good day.

Ordering Food on Call—Some Final Tips

Ordering food in America should be pretty clear and easy for you now. Just remember two things—be confident, and be kind.

Your confidence will be your ultimate friend whenever you need to get tasks done smoothly. Even if you say something wrong while ordering, don’t let it sit and ruminate. Correct yourself immediately and move ahead.

When ordering food on call, remember that the other person is probably overworked and underpaid. Even if that’s not the case, you should be kind to the person working hard to serve you. If they get something wrong, correct them. Speak politely and patiently. Unlike your food, kindness is free.

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