10 Restaurant Server Translations
Updated: Sep 7
If you've ever worked as a restaurant server, you already know it can be a physically and emotionally draining career choice. In order to just survive the day there will be times for the necessary "little white lies". Below are a few samples tossed around the workplace - with the hopes a guest isn't ready to call someone out!
1 . 'Sorry. That table is already reserved.'
Translation: Our restaurant is understaffed. The table is available, but I’d prefer to walk less and seat you closer to my other customers.
2. 'Sorry, we just ran out of (random item) a few minutes ago!'
Translation: My co-workers are in the back eating the last serving.
3. 'I'm so sorry. Our espresso machine is broken. We're hoping it's repaired later today.'
Translation: The Espresso orders are too time consuming to make. Plus, my co-worker called out today and our manager is making me cover the table service too. We do have regular coffee ready to serve right now.
4. 'Give me a minute and I'll check with my manager to see if we can make an exception.'
Translation: I’m going to step into the kitchen and check my Facebook for any interesting updates. I’ll be back in a few minutes to tell you “no” again.
5. 'The special today? It's one of my favorites.'
I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. Our chef just ordered way too much chicken (or a large group cancelled on short notice). You know how communication can be at work, right?
6. 'Your order hasn't come out yet? I'm sorry. I just saw it. It should be out any second now.'
Translation: Oops. I was distracted by telling a great story from last night and forgot to place the order. I’ll do it now.
7. 'Sorry. We're not allowed to change the TV station.'
Translation: If you think I’m going to be stuck watching soccer on this slow shift, you’re crazy.
8. 'Our beer vendor didn't make it out today. Sorry, but we're out of that beer.'
Translation: The manager didn’t have someone rotate the keg and it’s too heavy for me. Besides, we really need to burn out the product we have on tap because we ordered way too much.
9. 'Oops. You're right. It does look like the kitchen got the order wrong.'
Translation: I placed the wrong order in the system. But, I’d still like to salvage this service for a good tip.
10. 'Thanks for letting me know. I'll definitely tell the chef about that.'
Translation: Sorry, but it’s not happening. If I mention this to the chef, I’ll be yelled at about some random stuff that has nothing to do with me. No thanks.