Teaching Hospitality English


Teaching Hospitality English

By Patrick Huwyler


Copyright © 2016 by Patrick Huwyler.

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2nd Foreword by Jeremy Day

What is Hospitality English

How to use this book

Role-play, simulation, shadowing & demonstration

PART 1: Hospitality in Practice

Welcoming guests

Customer information

Challenging situations


Dealing with complaints


Interviews and internships


Food and beverage service

PART 2: Language focus



PART 3: Resources


Resources & recommendations

PART 4: Course design

Assessing needs, course design & lesson planning




Teacher’s glossary of hospitality terms



Thanks to Margaret Godwin, Simon Russell, Andrew Keohane, Michael Cubbin, Marc Herbin and Carlo Giardinetti with their help on my early drafts.

Very special thanks to Jeremy Day, John Potts, Graham Workman and Martin Erlacher for checking the proofs and suggesting improvements.


There are no emergencies in teaching Hospitality English. You just need to organize and prepare yourself.

Teaching Hospitality English is for anyone who finds him or herself having to teach English for hospitality. There are, to the best of my knowledge, no teacher handbooks on teaching English for hospitality. This book is the first, and I hope an inspiration for many more to come. Hospitality English is simply not a well-established branch of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) such as Business English. And so I’ve written the book I always wished to have when I started teaching Hospitality English in 2012.

This handbook includes not only the technical lexis you may need, but also the psychological aspects of handling guests, and the language for the work processes. For example, what kind of language will a pre-experienced learner need to know whilst taking an order for a steak? You might be thinking of modal verbs to form a question… But someone trained in food and beverage service will automatically think of meat doneness: rare, medium rare, medium well, well done.

I wish you much success in teaching English for hospitality.

2nd Forward by Jeremy Day

I’m a big fan of Patrick’s book on many levels.

First of all, Patrick’s deep and varied experience in the hospitality industry shines through every page. He clearly knows what he’s talking about, and shares his experiences and expertise freely. Throughout the book, Patrick uses anecdotes from his career in hospitality to explain difficult concepts (and show why they’re important) and to bring the topics to life. Patrick’s experience will make the book invaluable to teachers who are new to this field. It will guide your course design, help you prioritise and plan, and answer your questions when you get stuck.

Secondly, I think Patrick’s approach to teaching ESP is spot on. He places role-plays at the heart of his lessons, with the result that learners spend a significant part of every lesson practising the language and skills they need in real-world situations. Even better, Patrick constantly reminds us to take our learners out of the classroom and into the restaurant, kitchen or hotel reception area, to make the practice as life-like and valuable as possible.

Thirdly, Patrick takes the very sensible decision NOT to provide a ready-made course for your learners. The only person who can do that is you – after you’ve got to know your learners, their situation and their needs. Instead, Patrick provides all the tools and guidance you need to help you prepare, plan, create and teach a course that truly caters to your own learners.

Finally, I admire Patrick for self-publishing his book. I firmly believe that self-publishing has to be the way forward in ESP. We certainly cannot expect the major publishers to serve every ESP niche (even big niches like hospitality English). But at the same time, it’s a colossal waste of time and talent if every ESP teacher writes his or her own courses from scratch. Self-publishing provides a neat solution. It allows a subject-specialist teacher (like Patrick) to share his or her skills and experiences with other teachers in similar situations around the world (like you). That means that not only will you save a lot of writing time, but your course will also be stronger because it’s built on solid foundations. That’s something that has to be applauded.

I hope you enjoy using Patrick’s book as much as I enjoyed working on it.

Jeremy Day
May 2016

What is Hospitality English?

Someone once told me that ‘English for Hospitality is but a short hop from English for Social Graces; in fact, it overlaps it.’

I think Hospitality English is more multi-dimensional and multi-faceted than that. Think not only of staff-to-guest interaction but also of staff-to-staff. Not everyone who works in hospitality has direct contact with the guest. So I think it’s fair to say that Hospitality English involves Business English, psychology, technical vocabulary, French expressions (and other foreign languages) and terminology, culture and tradition, and even an aspect of religion – traditionally, English speakers pray before they eat. In other words, they say grace. Hospitality English is also a lingua franca. And I think it should be taught (and thought of) as an international language, where native speakers and non-native speakers can all communicate with each other successfully. As Jenkins (2007) points out of English as a Lingua Franca, ‘It should also be clear that in international communication, the ability to accommodate to interlocutors with other first languages than one’s own (regardless of whether the result is an ‘error’ in ENL) is a far more important skill than the ability to imitate the English of a native speaker.’

Lastly, Hospitality English is the kind of language that is polite and welcoming. And if you analyse the term hospitality, you will see that in Latin, hospes means host, and hospit means guest.

How to use this book

Teaching Hospitality English is for EFL teachers who (willingly or unwillingly!) have to teach Hospitality English to pre-intermediate and intermediate learners. The learners may or may not have working experience.

My goal, ultimately, is to enable you to give memorable lessons; lessons that are remembered many years later because they were tailor-made (relevant to the needs of the learner), performance-based and interesting. The aim of this handbook is to supply the teacher/trainer/lecturer with an abundance of activities, ideas and suggestions on how to teach English for Hospitality successfully – with or without a set coursebook.

I encourage you to view this book as something to ‘dip-into’ rather than to read from start to finish. You could, of course, use this book for General English or Business English to give a different angle on some of your teaching. Moreover, there are many ideas (and stories), which you could easily transfer to general English.

For the activities (set it up, let it run & round it off), I leave the length of the lesson or lessons up to you as teachers around the world work in radically different situations. I have taken the idea of ‘set it up, let it run & round it off’ from Teaching Unplugged (Meddings & Thornbury, 2009).

I did consider including a section of photocopiable resources. But I haven’t because I would actually be doing you a disservice. One of the main ideas of this book is to empower you to give bespoke lessons/courses on English for Hospitality. I simply cringe at the thought of a teacher using this book merely to do some ‘brainless’ photocopying fifteen minutes before the start of a lesson. I have, however, included examples of tables, grids and plans etc. in order to give you a good idea of how to tailor your own materials/resources.

There is an appendix containing interviews on English for hospitality as well as a teacher’s glossary at the back.

Warm-up, Performance & Feedback

The lessons / role-plays in this book basically use a tripartite method of warm-up, performance and feedback.

1. Warm-up (Set it up):

This first part of the lesson prepares the learner for the activity/performance about to come.

2. Performance (Let it run)

This second part of the lesson has your learners performing, role-playing or simulating.

3. Feedback (Round it off)

This third part of the lesson is for general feedback, homework and consolidation.

Role-play, simulation, work shadowing and demonstration

“[Of simulations] The aim is to create suspension of disbelief, so that the learners become fully involved in the activity, and are not distracted by the fact that it is taking place in a classroom.” – Evan Frendo

Role-play is more for the pre-experienced hospitality student who has yet to work at a reception or take an order in a restaurant. Many hotel schools for example, incorporate ‘real-play’ where the students have to work at the school’s restaurant, kitchen and reception.

Simulation is more for job-experienced learners or learners already at work. It is a tailor-made situation where the learner does not act a role but performs/practices his or her own work duty (such as giving a presentation, taking an order) in an anticipated situation to come.

Shadowing is where the teacher/trainer observes, monitors and even coaches the learner at work. This method of training can be very effective as the trainer sees his or her learner perform in a real work situation and environment, away from the classroom.

A kitchen trainee or apprentice, for example, learns while he or she works. In real-life situations like this, the plates are hot, the knives really cut and they could really end up burning down the restaurant. And there is someone who oversees their work, someone who looks over their shoulder and monitors and observes, someone who corrects and demonstrates. Kitchen trainees don’t go practicing with plastic fruit and vegetables in another room (and definitely not in demonstration kitchens).

This is the idea of shadowing in English for Hospitality: the English language learner is coached while on the job and receives feedback as to what could be improved. Hospitality English is a lot about performance and not only about technical vocabulary and social graces.

Ideally, Hospitality English should be taught in a demonstration room / area [kitchen/restaurant/bar] and not just in a standard classroom. Chefs for example, are taught in demo kitchens – a place where practice is blended with theory, a place ideal for simulation and a place where the teacher/trainer/lecturer, can – well, yes – demonstrate!

Part 1: Hospitality in Practice

Welcoming Guests

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Students learn to make guests feel welcome, check guests into their accommodation and give essential information.

When it comes to giving essential information, I overheard this memorable part of a conversation at a restaurant:

Guest: ‘Are the service charges and tips included?’

Waiter: ‘Service charges are, tips not. But if you are happy, we are happy.’

If we could get our students to not only give information in grammatically correct sentences but also to speak in such a friendly way; we have then taught them the fundamentals of hospitality English.

Structures: possessive adjectives and object pronouns

Set it up 1

- Write Welcoming guests on the board:

- Ask students to come to the board and brainstorm all the words and expressions that they think relate to welcoming guests. Encourage students to draw pictures, symbols etc.

- Write prompts for weaker students:

Another option would be to start the brainstorm for the weaker students with words and expressions such as reception, check-in, check-out, check-out time, front-of-house, restroom, doorman, valet, voucher, key card, lounge, concierge

MODEL ANSWER: An effective brainstorm would include a lot of words and expressions such as:

arrivals, welcome drink, welcome, baggage/luggage, registration details, your name, room number, passport, passport number, voucher, sign here, reception, reception desk, receptionist, check-in, check-out, check-out time, front-of-house, restroom, doorman, valet, voucher, key card, lounge, concierge, bellboy, arrival date, departure date, sign, signature, Welcome to hotel XXXX, arrivals, date of birth, home address, flight number

Notes made by various groups, with my corrections (in red) and comments added.

- Correct and model any errors/misspellings.

- Check pronunciation – words like conciergekɒnsieəƷ], valet [væleɪ] and baggage [bægɪdƷ].

- Elicit any synonyms and antonyms (words with an ‘opposite’ meaning).

- Ask students if anyone has experience working at a reception, and encourage the ones who do have experience to share them.

Set it up 2

Below is a model script of a guest checking in to a hotel. Give your students a copy and ask them to get into pairs and read out their role as either guest or receptionist.

- Check pronunciation and intonation.

- Quiz your students:

1. What phrase does the receptionist use to introduce bad news? [I’m afraid]

2. What other phrase could the receptionist use instead of ‘I’m afraid’? [unfortunately]

3. What three extra words and phrases did the receptionist use to be polite? [please, thank you, sir]

4. Why does the receptionist say ‘Will this be suitable…?’ instead of ‘Is this suitable…?’ [Because it’s more polite and suggests the guest can still choose.]

5. What’s the difference between the verb ‘may’ and ‘could’ in the receptionist’s third turn? [‘May I?’ is more polite than ‘Could I?’ or ‘Can I?’, but we don’t use ‘may’ in questions with ‘you’.]

6. Can you find another word or phrase to replace ‘complete’? [‘fill in’ (British English) or ‘fill out’ (American English). The receptionist used ‘complete’ as it is more formal]

7. What is the meaning of ‘en suite’ [ˌɒnˈswiːt]? [a bathroom joined onto a bedroom and for use only by people in that bedroom]

8. What is a synonym for ‘noon’? [midday]

Set it up 3

The purpose of this activity is for students to familiarize themselves the kind of expressions relating to welcoming guests. They will also analyse the language functions.

- Elicit other possible expressions, phrases etc.

Suggested answers:

‘Would you like to have a bottle of water / some coffee?’ (for guests on arrival)

‘How can I assist you?’

‘How may I help you?’

‘You’re very welcome at our hotel.’

‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’

‘Good morning, everyone, and welcome.’

‘Can you take a seat? And we’ll serve you with a welcome drink.’

‘Enjoy your stay with us.’

- Divide the class into pairs (student A & student B)

- Distribute one set of cut-ups for each pair to match.

- Students test each other using the cards:

1. Student A chooses a card and reads it aloud.

2. Student B has to remember the correct response.

3. They then swap roles.

- Students now match the staff’s sentences (second set of cut-ups) to the appropriate functions.

Let it run

The students role-play check-in scenarios (in pairs) using the cards below. With a large class, write out one of the cards on the board and each pair can customise the information. Encourage stronger students to improvise without the use of cards.

- Monitor and check pronunciation and intonation (a higher intonation indicates friendliness). Make a note of mistakes for feedback later.

- Check that students use please and thank you.

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Pedro didn’t speak loud enough.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the receptionist).

- Remind your students that addressing guests by surname is essential, or by Sir or Madam if the names are not known.

Give these ‘vocabulary-consolidation’ cut-ups for students to match. :


Ask the students to write up the role-play they performed in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Customer Information

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Students learn to give information to customers and to answer questions about hotel facilities and services.

In the hospitality industry, the terms front desk (reception desk) and reception are used interchangeably. Below is a grid to clarify the exact meanings to you in hospitality English.

Structures: Is there? / Are there?, There’s/There are, There isn’t / There aren’t

Prepositions of location: above, behind, next to, between, in front of, under, at the bottom, opposite

Set it up 1

- Write facilities and services on the board and ask the students to guess the meaning. Facilities are things a hotel has. Services are things it does. So the hotel might offer a laundry service using its laundry facility.

- Write out the pronunciation [fəˌsɪlətiz] [sɜːvɪsəz] and ask students to say facilities and services aloud and check their pronunciation.

- Check that they know the nouns in their singular forms (facility, service) by asking a student to write them on the board or to spell them out to you.

- Students brainstorm facilities and services on the board, and then sort them into facilities vs. services.


- Correct and model any errors. Make further suggestions e.g. fitness centre, car park, airport transfer etc.

Set it up 2

- Write word chunks like in the photo below for students to form questions and answers. Demonstrate if necessary. Ask students to read their answers aloud. Check pronunciation and intonation.

E.g. Is there Wi-Fi available? There isn’t 24-hour front desk available. There’s a safe deposit box in every room.

- Revise prepositions of location with the class. Demonstrate simply with something like a beanbag E.g. : ‘The beanbag is…?’ : ‘…next to the chair!’ etc. Less obvious prepositions of location would include: beneath, opposite, at the end of. Commonly confused prepositions of location would include: over vs. above, next to vs. alongside, beyond vs. behind.

- Ask students to work in pairs. Their questions and answers now serve as prompts for them to form mini-dialogues with one another as either the receptionist or the guest. Demonstrate it. e.g.


- Elicit the kind of performance that is expected. E.g. The receptionist should be polite and professional by greeting the guest and welcoming him to the hotel. The guest should form questions using ‘Is there/are there…?’ etc.

- Encourage and clarify the use of please, thank you and welcome.

Let it run

Set up a ‘reception desk’, ‘concierge’ or ‘front desk’ at the front of the room (or visit the school/ hotel reception if you can) and ask pairs of students to perform their dialogues in front of the class. The students take turns to perform, watch and complete their feedback forms.

Giving customers information – your feedback form

1. Is the receptionist/concierge polite and professional? How?

2. Can the guest ask correct questions?

3. Can the receptionist respond correctly?

4. Could you hear them properly?

5. Any other comments?

- Encourage the students to take videos of the performances (for their own self-evaluation).

- Write down your own observations. Check pronunciation, intonation, use of voice, body language and spoken grammar (contractions, prepositions, articles).

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Pedro didn’t speak loud enough.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary..


Ask the students to write up the conversation(s) they had in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Challenging Situations

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Students learn how to deal with situations like bilking, dietary needs and walking the guest.

Bilking [bɪlkɪŋ] (informal) (American English) is often used to describe the action of a customer ‘making off without paying’ for goods or service. When I think of difficult situations in hospitality this is one that comes to mind because I’ve experienced it a number of times!

I think it would be an interesting (amusing) word to teach as even most native speakers don’t know it (it shows up only twice on the British National Corpus, http://bnc.bl.uk/saraWeb.php?qy=bilking) and the language and attitude on how to deal with it would be very useful.

In the US, a guest who leaves without paying is also referred to as a ‘skipper’ or a ‘walk-out’. See the Glossary for more information.

Set it up 1 – Bilking

Write bilk [bɪlk] on the board. Ask your students to guess the meaning. Is it a verb or a noun (verb)? Is it formal or informal (informal)? Positive or negative? (negative) Synonyms? (cheat, deceive, trick)

- Elicit the kind of language a member of staff would need to use in a situation where a guest would be leaving without paying, for example, at a restaurant. Possibly also elicit some reasons why a guest would bilk. i.e. there are innocent reasons as well as sinister ones, hence the need to be nice to bilkers, to give them the benefit of the doubt.

- Make the students aware that they should ‘remind’ the guest to pay. The guest should be made to feel that they had simply forgotten to settle the bill.

MODEL ANSWER 1 (formal):

MODEL ANSWER 2: (informal)

Set it up 2

- Give these cut-ups to your students to match in pairs in order to consolidate their vocabulary.

Let in run

The students role-play ‘bilking’ scenarios (in pairs) using cards like the ones below. With a large class, write out one of the cards on the board and each pair can customise the information. Encourage stronger students to improvise without the use of cards.

- Monitor and make a note of mistakes for feedback later.

- Check that students use Excuse me, Sorry and address the customers with Sir or Madam.

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Salvotore didn’t say excuse me…

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the role as the waiter/bartender – as you’re preparing them for the industry).

- Remind your students that addressing guests by surname is essential, or by Sir or Madam if the names are not known.


Option 1: Ask the students write up the role-play they performed in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Option 2: Students write about what they would do if the guest refused to pay and left the premises (your student would have to inform their line manager immediately).

Set it up 1 – Dietary needs

Write Dietary Needs on the board and elicit the meaning. Ask your students if they can eat all kinds of food. Explain to them that some people cannot consume certain kinds of food and drink because they are allergic or intolerant to them.

Present your students with the cut-ups below (to match in pairs) in order to pre-teach some essential vocabulary.

Set it up 2

Ask your students to brainstorm the Dietary needs on the board.

- Try to include main sections that will also serve as prompts

- The second picture serves as a model answer

- Correct and model any errors/misspellings

- Check pronunciation and intonation

- Another category under dietary needs could be vegetarian / vegan

Give these cut-ups for students to match in pairs. They will prepare the students for the role-plays that follow.

Let it run

The students role-play ‘dietary needs’ scenarios (in pairs) using the cards below. With a large class, write out one of the cards on the board and each pair can customise the information. Encourage stronger students to improvise without the use of cards.

- Monitor and check pronunciation and intonation. Make a note of mistakes for feedback later.

- Check that students use correct terminology.


Round it off

Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Simon recommended low fat milk. He should have recommended fat-free milk instead.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the role as the member of staff – as you’re preparing them for the industry).


Round it off 2

- Present this menu to your students or write it on the board.

- Ask them which items would cause a problem for:

1. someone who is diabetic (the lemon sorbet most likely, the Caesar salad may have a dressing containing sugar)

2. someone who is lactose intolerant (cream of mushroom soup, the Caesar salad)

3. someone with celiac disease (the croutons in the mushroom soup and Caesar salad)

4. someone with a nut allergy (coconut spinach, the Caesar salad my also contain nuts)

This exercise serves to illustrate the dietary problems guests may have with even a simple menu of the day.

Additionally, get your students to write their own menus and analyse each other’s.


Option 1: Ask the students to write up the role-plays they had in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Option 2: Students research food and nutrition on the internet (www.westonaprice.org for example) and then give mini-presentations about the kind of ‘healthy foods’ they have found (for the next lesson).

Option 3: Students complete a grid as shown below. The first row serves as an example:

Set it up – Walking the guest

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The International Dictionary of Hospitality Management (2008) defines ‘walking the guest’ as follows:

- ‘When a guest arrives at a lodging facility with a guaranteed reservation and there are

- no rooms available, this is a direct result of the hotel overbooking its rooms. Overbooking

- is a common hotel practice to cover for no-show guests. When the guest is walked, they

- should be sent to a similar lodging facility at the expense of the facility that did not honor

- the reservation. The guest should be given free transportation to the facility and one free

- long-distance phone call to notify someone of the change in where they will be staying. If

- the guest had a reservation for more than one night, every effort should be made to move the

- person back to the property the next day. The key to minimizing the negative impact of

walking a guest is preparation. The front desk should make arrangements at a similar

- property prior to the guest’s arrival and messages should be forwarded to the displaced guest.’

This kind of situation is definitely a challenge. The key thing to point out to your students is that the guest will inevitably be angry to some extent.

Set it up

Write Walking the Guest on the board and elicit the meaning. Alternatively, give them a choice of possible definitions (number 3 is correct):

1. The duty manager goes walking with the guest around the hotel.

2. The concierge accompanies the guest around the town.

3. The guest has to be transferred to another hotel due to overbooking.

Ask your students how they would feel if they were ‘walked’ to another hotel. Pose these questions as well for them to consider:

– What kind of hotel guest do you think would be selected for a ‘walking’?

– Would it be a late arrival?

– Or would it be a guest who isn’t on the loyalty program?

– Or would it be a guest who had used a third party reservation system?

– Which member of staff do you think should deal with the guest to be ‘walked’?

Give your students these vocabulary cut-ups to match in pairs.

Show the class this model script and ask them to complete the gaps.

Let it run

Your learners role-play the situation in pairs or groups. Allow the class to be creative and enact their own variations. You monitor, provide support where necessary and make notes or even a recording if necessary. Use a prompt like the one below.

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Jane didn’t offer a free telephone call.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the role as the member of staff – as you’re preparing them for the industry).


Option 1: Ask the students to write up the role-plays they had in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Option 2: Students research ‘walking the guest’ on the internet in order to help them answer the following questions:

– Is ‘walking the guest’ an ethical practice?

– How might guests prevent it from happening?

– Is there an alternative to ‘walking the guest’ that a hotel could use?

– What do you think would happen if a guest refused to be walked?

– Would you offer the ‘walked guest’ any additional complimentary services?

Option 2 could also be used as a class discussion in the next lesson.



KISS – Keep it Short, Stupid

When I worked at my uncle’s hotel in Kenya, I noticed by chance that the managers were very bad letter writers. It surprised me as they were fluent speakers and some even had university degrees (English is also an official language in Kenya). The main problem was that they wrote long complicated sentences and chose awkward wording. Their writing was simply difficult to understand, as the letter-writing functions weren’t clear and the spelling and grammar didn’t help either.

Train your learners to take out the words they don’t need. Get them to practise writing simple paragraphs with a topic sentence followed by support and description. A question to ask oneself whilst writing is what exactly is the purpose of this paragraph?

Know who you’re writing to

How should the recipient be addressed? What tone? You wouldn’t write in the same way to your Mum as you would to a prospective employer.

Most students, regardless of their level, will be able to distinguish between formal and informal correspondence. So the real challenge lies in getting them to distinguish between the formal and the semi-formal. A case of yours sincerely vs. with best wishes for example. One way of approaching the concept of semi-formal is to regard it as ‘business casual’. A business email is typically semi-formal as it has both formal as well as informal features. Below is an example of correspondence endings to illustrate this.

Show the learners examples of each and have them distinguish the features. You could also present them with cut-up phrases to separate and put in order.

One thing that I always try to clarify is the difference between ‘yours faithfully’ and ‘yours sincerely’. You only use ‘yours faithfully’ if the recipient is not addressed by name (when you write ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or ‘Dear Sirs’). I suppose the idea is, as you don’t know who you’re writing to, you write in faith, believing that the appropriate person will receive your letter and act accordingly.

‘Dear Sirs’ is North American English and used more for Business English.

A lot of students have difficulty knowing how to address the customer (which should always be by surname and with the appropriate title). Also, clarify the usage between ‘Ms’ and ‘Mrs’.

Should vs. If

There is a distinctive difference between:

1. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

2. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The writer in sentence 1 does not expect you to receive any questions whereas in 2 they are uncertain as to whether you may have a question or not. The whole concept of using if in English grammar is to do with uncertainty. If equals unsure.

I’m afraid

This is a polite way to say ‘bad news coming’ and a very useful phrase to learn in Hospitality English. Keep in mind that Hospitality English has to be polite, professional and objective. I can think of no better phrase to use when informing an English-speaking guest/prospective guest of bad news. It is polite and it is professional. However, it might be wiser to use a more direct approach when communicating with a non-native speaker. The sentences below will give you an example.

1. I am afraid we have no rooms available.

2. I am sorry to inform you that we have no rooms available.

3. I regret to inform you that we have no rooms available.

4. Sorry, we have no rooms available.

Which sentence would you use with a non-native English speaker? I would still choose the first. Even if the recipient would not understand I am afraid, the rest of the sentence communicates the meaning. It is shorter than sentences 2 and 3, and sounds more polite and professional (formal) than 4.

Writing the date

Learners should be aware of the two ways of writing the dates. In America it’s the month followed by the day as in 08.25.2014. In Britain it’s the other way round, 25.08.2014. I always get my students to write out the date in full to prevent any confusion. E.g. 25th September 2014


There is a popular saying that email stands for ‘evidence mail’. It actually stands for electronic mail but an email serves as proof when there is miscommunication or when something goes wrong. Point this out to your learners as a warmer (and as a trick question!) for your lesson on correspondence. E.g. What does email stand for?

Set it up 1

Elicit why good, accurate written communication is important in the hospitality industry:

Suggested answers:

- It might be the first contact between the guest and hotel, so it is important to make a good first impression

- It avoids miscommunication

Brainstorm the different reasons a hotel may email or write to a customer:

Suggested answers:

- Confirmation of a reservation

- Change or cancellation

- Apology

- Important and useful information

Set it up 2

Give these cut-ups for your students to match in pairs.

Set it up 3

Here is the same beginning of an email and a letter. The idea of this activity is to give your students a good idea about the differences between writing semi-formally (usually when writing an email) and writing formally (usually when writing a letter).

1. Write the email version on the board (or give it as a handout with the letter version folded and hidden at the dividing line) and ask your students to write the same paragraph but as a letter this time.

1. Write the letter version on the board (or students unfold their handouts) and elicit the differences.


1. Elicit the appropriate ways to start and end the email and letter. Give these cut-ups or elicit the answers.

Let it run

Ask your students to rewrite this email in a more professional manner. The prospective guest is Robert Nilsson.


Round it off

Ask your students to swap and correct each other’s rewritten emails with the person next to them. Write the following checklist on the board:

- Is the email professional? How?

Apart from greetings and contractions, nominalisation (forming nouns from verbs or adjectives) is a key difference between formal (professional) and informal writing.

E.g. The hotel manager handled the problem. (no nominalisation)

The manager’s handling of the problem was not successful. (nominalisation i.e. formal)

You could therefore say that professional, formal writing is quite ‘noun heavy’. Point this out with a strong class if you see it in any of their work.

- Is the email short and simple?

- Does the email have an organized structure?

Go around the class, monitoring and supporting. Provide a model answer and point out these 10 basic tips on how to write an effective business email:

1. The subject should be informative, concise and relevant.

2. Use the formal greetings and endings.

3. Keep sentences short and simple.

4. Use spaced paragraphs for different topics.

5. Write numbers in emails (4 nights) and write out the numbers in letters (four nights).

6. Don’t SHOUT in capital letters.

7. Don’t use acronyms or abbreviations which may be confusing for customers.

8. Proofread your email for spelling, punctuation and tone.

9. Your tone should be formal or semi-formal (‘business casual’) if you know your guests well.

10. Use a signature that includes your full name and your position in the company.


Option 1: Students write an email confirming a reservation for three nights for a guest called Mrs Jones.

Option 2: (with stronger students) Students write an email to inform the guest that they will have to be ‘walked’ (See Challenging situations – this homework option is for students who have already done this chapter):

- Apologize on behalf of the hotel that there has been an overbooking.

- The affiliate hotel is called International Hotel and is only five minutes from the one the guest reserved at.

- Inform the guest that free transport to the affiliate hotel will be provided, either from the airport or from the overbooked hotel.

- Inform the guest that a free phone call will also be provided

Dealing with complaints

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In my experience of the hospitality industry, a complaint does not come spontaneously but through a course of events. In many cases it is do with emotions and how the guest has been made to feel. In other words, complaints often arise due to a ‘soft skills’ problem.

The member of staff who has to deal with an angry guest will need to have certain qualities and a well thought-out plan on how to proceed. He or she must:

- Stay calm! Be polite, professional and objective

- Show that the complaint is taken seriously (listen carefully and learn the facts without interrupting, ask questions afterwards, jot down notes – some establishments might even have a complaints form).

- Have a sense of authority and be active (the guest wants to see a capable character who will take the necessary action) – and enlist help if need be.

- Apologize, be sympathetic and show understanding

- Follow-up the complaint with the other members of staff and the customer, and review the issue

The structure is the same when it comes to dealing with written complaints: the text has to show the same sort of features. Even if the disgruntled customer is not objective, the member of staff’s response should be.


Knowing how to apologize will not be easy for your students (or for many people!) They will have to be able to make a sincere, down-to-earth and heart-felt apology.

Here are some guidelines:

- Use the first person (regardless of whether the apology is written or oral)

- Avoid using the conditional if and the modals may and might

- Avoid using the words apologize and inconvenience (if the guest has to complain, it is most probably more than a mere inconvenience)

- Avoid using the passive – as people often used it to avoid claiming responsibility

To give you an idea of what I mean, compare these two examples:

1 I’m sorry wine was spilled on your suit.

2 I’m sorry our waiter spilled wine on your suit.

Sentence 1 implies that maybe it wasn’t the waiter or the waiter’s fault.

As Jason Fried and David Heinemeier advise in their book, Rework (2010, P.176):

- ‘So what’s the perfect way to say you’re sorry? There’s no magic bullet.

- Any stock answer will sound generic and hollow. You’re going to have to

- take it on a case-by-case basis.

- The number-one principle to keep in mind when you apologize: How would

- you feel if you were on the other end? If someone said those words to you,

- would you believe them?’

I’m very sorry is simple, effective and the way you would say it to someone on the street. There is no ‘defence mechanism’ in the words. A golden rule in Business English is KISS – keep it short and simple, and this is very applicable here.

If you’re apologizing for a silly mistake that should never have been made, try promising that it won’t happen again. That could also be a way to follow-up on your apology. Try getting your learners to use it. And of course, the mistake must never happen again! Remind your learners that their apologies should never include excuses or justifications.

A simple phrase like ‘Sorry, it was a misunderstanding.’ can sometimes be very effective in dealing with a situation where there was some confusion on either the employee or guest’s part.

Taking action

Have your students brainstorm possible scenarios. Perhaps they have experienced some problems in hotels and restaurants. Have them brainstorm the solutions. This would be a good opportunity for teaching some vocabulary like upgrade, discount and compensation.

Have role-plays and have them watch sitcoms like Fawlty Towers, so even if you can’t fully prepare your learners to handle any situation, at least you could show them what not to do.

We are here for you

I remember a particular incident when a food journalist came for dinner at a five-star hotel where I worked. She ate alone and didn’t seem impressed with the food or service. Our maitre d’, probably sensing that she would make a complaint (or write about it), approached the journalist, as she was about to leave.

- ‘We are here for you,’ he said at one point during their conversation.

I can’t remember much of the dialogue, but I certainly remember the way she reacted. And I don’t think I have to tell you if she complained or not.

What my maitre d’ meant was that we are always there for the customer; we are there because of the customer.

You should not only teach this phrase but also make sure your learners internalise the psychological weight it has.

Set it up 1

Write Dealing with complaints on the board. Ask students to discuss their experience of customers complaining (or of themselves complaining if they don’t have work experience) in pairs, and then to share the best stories with the class. It would be a chance to prepare and filter out the dull stories.

-- What was the complaint about?

- Were you apologetic and understanding?

- Did you solve the problem?

- If not, what other solutions were available to you?

- Was the guest satisfied?

Give these cut-ups for your students to match in pairs. The objective is to enable your students to categorize the complaint if they have to inform (orally or written) a line manager or write it in a log book. It could also help with writing a subject line in an email.

Ask your students to give appropriate replies to the complaints.


Introduce a scenario: a customer orders a cup of coffee but complains because it is cold. How would your students deal it? Ask them if they could come up with a procedure for (a way of) dealing with complaints.

Draw this diagram on the board and quiz your students on how they could come up with a generic procedure on how to deal with complaints, and then apply it for the customer who has complained about the coffee.

List the following words as prompts if the students have difficulty:

discounts, solve the problem, apologize and show understanding, compensation satisfied customer, guest complaint, upgrades



The complaint about the coffee could then be written as follows:

Let it run

The students role-play ‘dealing with complaints’ (in pairs) using the cards below. With a large class, write out one of the cards on the board and each pair can customise the information. Encourage stronger students to improvise without the use of cards.

- Monitor and check pronunciation and intonation (a higher intonation indicates friendliness). Make a note of mistakes for feedback later.

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Angela didn’t apologize.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the role as the receptionist – as you’re preparing them for the industry).


Option 1: Students, in the role of food and beverage manager, write a letter of apology to a regular hotel guest who has complained about the food and service.

Option 2: Students watch the episode ‘Communication Problems’ from Fawlty Towers (on Youtube or on a DVD if available) or a similar sitcom/video/programme and they complete the handout below:


BACKGROUND INFORMATION: In case of fire, your students need to internalise the simple procedure:

1. Sound the alarm

2. Save a person (if need be)

3. Extinguish the fire (if not out of control)

They have to know that they shouldn’t run, panic or use the elevator/lift (because it will get stuck if the electricity is cut off).

This will be a good opportunity to teach the imperatives such as don’t run, don’t use the lift, call 911 etc. I often use international symbols http://www.iso.org/iso/graphical-symbols_booklet.pdf in class for my students to match. And when I teach imperatives I always make sure to include my favourite from Monopoly, ‘Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect £200’. It often brings a smile…

This would also be an opportunity for your learners to stretch their legs and investigate how their establishment is prepared for emergencies. Get them to show you where the emergency exits, fire escapes (usually the stairs), fire extinguishers/fire blankets and first-aid kits are after pre-teaching them the vocabulary. You could hold a demonstration on how to use a fire extinguisher, have fire drills, and role-play scenarios. Some establishments already have their own emergency procedures, so by all means use them if they’re in English!

Try to get English fire safety pamphlets (including emergencies numbers) from the regional governmental office to give your class.

It’s good if your students know what a ‘first-aid kit’ or ‘fire extinguisher’ is and what the emergency numbers are, but even better, they should know what to say if they have to make the call (only if they are in an English-speaking country).

1. The caller should first say where he or she is because the call could easily be interrupted, under the circumstances. In this way the fire brigade or whoever, will at least know where to go. E.g. We are at xxxxxxx, Please come to xxxxx.

2. Describe the situation, e.g. My teacher has collapsed! We need an ambulance! My friend has cut himself! etc. Notice here that the main verbs deliver the essential meaning (and notice also the use of the present perfect), and you could use try pre-teaching (such as brainstorming) relevant verbs before a practice drill, role-play etc.

3. Answer the question(s). Learners will need to have good listening skills and be able to give prompt answers. You could use a training video (Youtube, in-company…), or recording with ‘pause-and-predict’ or ‘sound-off-and-predict’. I find these listening/watching activities used with these techniques of prediction very engaging and memorable for the learners.

Set it up 1

Give these cut-ups for your students to match in pairs. The objective is to pre-teach key ‘emergency’ vocabulary that will be needed for later in the lesson.

Set it up 2

Give these cut-ups for your students to match in pairs. The objective is to pre-teach key ‘emergency’ vocabulary that will be needed for later in the lesson.

Set it up 3

Below is a template you could get your learners to complete in class, and then cut out (from card paper) and keep with them at all times.

Try first eliciting the emergency procedures and then you could give them an example like the one below.


Adapted from the Glion Institute of Higher Education (Switzerland) ‘Emergency Student Procedure Card’.

Your learners should be aware that in case of a fire/fire drill there should also be a meeting place where everyone will have to go. The procedure in this situation is to get there without panic and without running. Everyone should form groups according to their classes and there should be no talking, as there will be a role call and important information to be shared.

Let it run

The students role-play ‘emergency’ scenarios (in pairs) using the cards below. These will be telephone conversations. With a large class, write out one of the cards on the board and each pair can customise the information. Encourage stronger students to improvise without the use of cards.

- Monitor and make a note of mistakes for feedback later.

- Check that students speak loud and clearly.

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Wong didn’t give his location…

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the role as the waiter/bartender – as you’re preparing them for the industry).


Option 1: Ask the students write up the role-play they performed in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Option 2: Students write about what they would do if there were a large fire in their building.

Interviews and Internships

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Every course on English for hospitality should include practice for interviews and internships. The word intern (also interne) is used for a student or recent graduate getting practical experience in a job or a chosen profession. Synonyms for intern include trainee and apprentice.

Set it up

1. Students brainstorm words and/or phrases relating to interviews and internships on the whiteboard / IWB. Check afterwards for understanding and spelling.

2. In order to consolidate their vocab learning, below are some keywords and their definitions (cut-ups) that you could use for students to match. For example, intern can be a verb or a noun. Try eliciting the kind of soft skills your students think they will need in order to be successful.

Revise or clarify the structure of WH-questions & Yes/no questions.

1. Students try to predict the kind of questions they would expect in an interview (for an intern in the hospitality industry). E.g. Why should we hire you? What can you bring to our company?

If your students raise the ‘salary question’, I advise you to consider what Arlene Taich (2008) has to say about it:

No matter what kind of interview you are dealing with, sooner or later the dreaded salary question will come up. More than likely, it will come up during the initial screening in order to eliminate applicants who are out of the salary range being offered. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Answering this question with an amount is a no-win proposition. If you answer too high, you will be eliminated. If you answer too low, that is what you will be paid.

The best approach is to tell them your salary is negotiable. Express your excitement about the opportunity to work at this organization and emphasize that you are excited to learn more about the position. Don’t be bullied into giving a dollar amount. (p.7)

In any case, I do not think the salary question would be suitable to an intern. The best answer for an intern to give would be that they would expect the standard salary that is paid to interns. The intern would have to emphasize that the experience and on-the-job training is of the utmost importance.

According to Bravo & Whiteley (2005, p.126), the Top Ten [most popular] Interview Questions are:

- Tell me something about yourself.

- What are your career goals?

- Why would you like to intern [serve as an intern] at our company?

- What will you bring to the internship?

- What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

- What course work, jobs, activities, or interests qualify you for this position?

- Give me an example of a time you displayed strong leadership skills [for interns applying for assistant manager positions].

- Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team to reach a common goal.

- Tell me about one of your proudest accomplishments.

- If you could have any job, what would it be?

For the interviewee, Bravo & Whiteley (2005, p.126-127) also list ‘Questions to Be Sure to Ask’:

- What would my duties and responsibilities be?

- Will I earn an hourly wage or receive a stipend?

- How many hours will I work?

- Are there special experiences your company offers interns?

- Will I receive training for the position?

- What is appropriate work attire?

- Will my work be reviewed at regular intervals or not until the end of the internship?

- When will I hear if I’m being offered the internship?

Encourage your students to consider likely questions they could ask. One very suitable general question I find is What do you expect from me as an employee?

Let it Run

1. Divide the class into pairs, with one interviewer and one interviewee in each pair. Select about three typical interview questions and write them on the whiteboard. Provide a demonstration if necessary. Inform the class that they will also have evaluation forms to complete.


i) What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

I am creative, resourceful and very flexible. I sometimes have trouble being punctual but I am working on that. I also think I am sometimes a little unorganized.

ii) What are your career goals?

[_ I want to become an F& B manager, and then hopefully a hotel manager one day. _]

iii) What will you bring to the internship?

I think I have good soft skills, and I will definitely try to be proactive and hard-working.

1. Give the pairs some time to prepare for the interviews. Discuss possible interview questions and answers with the class. Remind everyone to be aware of their body language.

2. The students role-play the interviews. The interviewers select a question from the board; and the interviewees give their answer(s), imagining they are at the establishment of their choice. They should also swap roles after a couple of questions have been asked and answered.

3. Monitor and provide on-the-spot feedback.

Round it off

Use the candidate interview evaluation form below for every student to complete about his or her partner’s performance as an interviewee. You give feedback to the class in plenary afterwards.

Telephoning – answering & reservations

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I was actually trained to answer the phone with quite a lot of expressions:

Good morning! This is the XXXXX Hotel. My name is Huwyler. How may I help you?

This is quite a lot of information, and I remember when I once answered the phone like this and the caller said ‘wrong number’ and hung up on me!

A much better approach would be to train your learners to use a three-part answer (tripling) which is shorter and sounds more effective. Here are two examples:

1. Good morning – XXXXX Hotel – How may I help you?

2. XXXXX Hotel – Huwyler – How may I help you?

Set it up – answering the telephone

- Draw this simple gap structure on the board:

- Tell your learners that this is a three-part system on how to answer the phone and have them guess the words.

Let it run

Each learner takes their turn answering the phone with their own customized three-part system. It would be more effective if you could record the class.

Check that their phrases are simple and concise. Check also for intonation (a high tone indicates friendliness).

Round it off

Play the recordings and give feedback where necessary. Make sure to clarify any points on pronunciation that may lead to misunderstanding.

Spelling system activity

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Americans usually say zero for the number 0 and the British, oh. The letter z is pronounced [ziː] in American English and [zed] in British.

Set it up

Revise the alphabet with weak learners. Hangman is an enjoyable way to memorize words and improve spelling.

Let it run

- Present one copy of the spelling system below to each learner.

- Demonstrate how it can be used to check the spelling of difficult words and names.

For talking about email addresses: uppercase/capitals, lower case, @ (at sign) which is also used in bills, . (dot), .com, no space, all one word, hyphen (-), underscore (_)

- Have your learners spell out their email addresses to one another.

- Monitor and check pronunciation.

Round it off

Some letters can be difficult for students, letters such as J, Y and E. As the spelling system is normally stuck somewhere near the landline telephone (and difficult to remember), it might be better to make more memorable connections for ‘difficult letters’ such as Y for YMCA, D for DJ and E for Elvis.

Taking reservations on the restaurant telephone

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Accuracy is the key word here, not only in terms of grammar but also in accordance with specific details such as the spelling of names, credit card numbers, dates etc. Many establishments will require your credit card number if you want to make a reservation for a large group of people or on special occasions such New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day.

Set it up

Elicit from the class what kind of details a restaurant manager would need to have in order to confirm/take a reservation.

Answers should at least include:

- Name and contact details (sometimes even payment details such as credit card number) of the host/guest making the reservation

May I have your full name and your telephone number, please?

I’ll also need your credit card number, please.

- Number of guests

For how many people, please?

- Anticipated arrival time

At what time would you like to come? Our restaurant is open from 6pm to 11pm.

Other details can include:

- The occasion, such as a birthday dinner, wedding etc.

Is it for a special occasion?

- Any other helpful details (dietary concerns, for example), particular preferences (the corner table next to the window)

Do you have a preference of where you would like to sit?

- Confirm any important details (such as credit card number or telephone number)

Is that 0-7-9-0-5-4-5-0-0?

Let it run

The students role-play ‘taking reservations’ (in pairs) using the cards below. With a large class, write out one of the cards on the board and each pair can customise the information. Encourage stronger students to improvise without the use of cards.

- Make the role-plays/simulations more interesting by filming or recording the learners. If you teach at a hotel school, get them to perform at the desired locations.

- Monitor and check pronunciation and spelling. Encourage students to use the spelling system. Make a note of mistakes for feedback later.

- Check that students use please and thank you.


- Learners swap roles after each role-play.

- Make the role-plays/simulations more interesting by filming or recording the learners. If you teach at a hotel school, get them to perform at the desired locations.

- Use a reservation form similar to the one below for your students to use.

Restaurant Reservation Form (Dinner) Date:

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Tom didn’t ask for the credit card number.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the role as the receptionist – as you’re preparing them for the industry).

- Remind your students that addressing guests by surname is essential, or by Sir or Madam if the names are not known.


Option 1: Ask the students write up the role-play they performed in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Option 2: Students develop and write a 3-part telephone answering dialogue.

E.g. ‘Huwyler, Highway Hotel, how may I help you?’

Option 3: Students keep a Pathbrite e-portfolio by writing notes, uploading pictures and videos taken in class.

Food & beverage service

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Students learn how to take customers’ orders, and explain menus and dishes using classical hospitality vocabulary. If possible, take your students to eat at a restaurant.

Set it up 1

Ask your students about their experience of going to bars and eating out.

1. What do they like to drink and eat?

2. Have they always experienced good food and service?

3. What kinds of food and beverage can they name? Encourage them to come up to the board and write.

4. Ask your students to at least name the kinds of food and beverage that comes from their country. They should also try to describe and explain them. Alternatively, draw a very simple map of the world on the board and invite your students to write the local dishes next to the relevant country.

5. Demonstrate with your own country of origin.

Kenya, where I’m from, has a dish called nyama choma which is grilled meat. It is often served with ugali, which is a stiff Indian maize porridge – a kind of white polenta. The nyama choma and ugali is served with a fresh tomato salad called kamchumbari.

Give your students the handout below. I have included a model answer.

- The students complete the handout.

- Tell the students to exchange their handouts with a person next to them.

- The students take it in turns to tell the class about their national dishes E.g. “My dish is from Thailand and it’s called ‘coconut chicken’ and it consists of chicken, vegetables and coconut milk…”

- At this stage, the students will probably not be very good at describing food and using ‘food adjectives’ – so give them as much as possible. The phrase it consists of should be repeated and stressed to them. Use your own answer or the model answer to give them a good idea of what you mean.


Set it up 2

Now that your students have tried naming and describing their dishes; give them these essential ‘food & drink adjectives’ cut-ups for them to match in pairs or small groups.

Set it up 3

Give a copy of the ‘menu items’ to your students or write them on the board.

- Get your students to research these items on the Internet. They then discuss what the items mean and how they’re made.

- Elicit what guests would drink before starting the meal (an aperitif: orange juice, dry white wine, dry sherry etc.)

- Tell them to sort the items under the following: starter, main course, and dessert.

- Draw columns on the board and get the students to write their answers in the correct columns.

- Elicit what is usually served after dessert (cheese & crackers/bread, tea/coffee, digestifs etc.).

- Ask your students what they would order if they had these menu items to choose from.


Set it up 4

- Write Are you ready to order? on the board.

- Divide the class into two groups. One group brainstorms all the expressions that a waiter would need. The other brainstorms all the expressions a guest would need.

- A member from each group then comes to the board and writes down their answers.


Let it run

Ask your students to now role-play/simulate a restaurant scenario. Use the cards below to designate the various roles.

1. The whole class becomes a ‘restaurant’ – tables and chairs may need to be rearranged.

2. Divide the class into small groups.

3. Every group should have one waiter.

4. There should be one headwaiter for the ‘restaurant’.

5. Students use the cards as guides/prompts. Make sure there are plenty of menus to go round.

6. Remind the ‘waiters’ that if a ‘guest’ orders the pepper steak, they have to ask for ‘meat doneness’ (rare, medium, medium-well, well done).

7. Students rotate their roles.

8. Monitor and check that the correct expressions are used.

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Lukas didn’t ask about his dish.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary (he or she should play the role as the waiter/headwaiter – as you’re preparing them for the industry). Refer to the Part 2: Language focus if you need any guidance on grammar and language.


Option 1: Ask the students write up the role-play they performed in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Option 2: Students complete the dialogue example 1 as a gap-fill task (see below).

Part 2: Language focus


BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Your learners will have to study and practice grammar and pronunciation like in any English programme. However, there are some ‘common issues’ in hospitality.

Wait for vs. wait on… (prepositional verbs)

To ‘wait on’ means to be a waiter, to serve. If I were to say I waited on Mr and Mrs Jones it means I was their waiter. I served them food and drink at the table. Notice the preposition at – many learners will get this wrong as well.

‘To wait on the table’ means to be in charge of the table as a waiter.

The Present Perfect

The Present Perfect is another classic area of distress. Train your learners to see the implications. For example:

I’ve eaten, thank you. (The guest doesn’t want any food. His belly is full.)

The taxi’s arrived. (So let’s go)

My wife’s collapsed! (Help her!)

Modal verbs

Your learners will have to practice their use of modal auxiliaries and their functional purposes. E.g.

I’ll have the chicken = ordering food (instant decision)

I’ll take your bags for you = offering help

The correct use of modals is very important for Hospitality English.

Modal verbs

Set it up 1

1. Draw a ‘modal circle’ on the board as shown below.

2. Tell your learners to imagine they’re all in a restaurant, either as guests or as staff. They have to try and construct or brainstorm likely sentences / expressions with the modal verbs such as Could you please pass me the salt? and You must try the fish – it’s very tasty! (‘must’ for enthusiastic recommendations)

3. As prompts, give them slips of paper with the functions such as making a request, making a recommendation etc. Or give them the cut-ups below to match in pairs.

4. Revise the use of modals and have them do practice tests if there are weak learners.

Let it run

It would certainly help if you could bring in some realia (real objects) and place them on the tables!

- Split the class into groups of four or five per table/desk.

- Monitor and check pronunciation. Be aware of common mistakes like the use of won’t that stands for will not and not would not.

- Add more modals if necessary to the ‘modal circle’.

Round it off

- Write on the board, I noticed that… Students complete the sentence with their own feedback. E.g. I noticed that Pedro didn’t use ‘could’.

- Give your feedback, clarifying meanings, modelling answers etc. Give a demonstration with the strongest student in your class if necessary.


Option 1: Ask the students write up the role-play they performed in class – as accurately as they remember. They should pay attention to the feedback that they have been given and write accordingly.

Option 2: Students research ‘modal verb expressions’ on the Internet and then give mini-presentations about their findings (for the next lesson).


BACKGROUND INFORMATION: It is common knowledge about how Norman French and Anglo Saxon make up the English language. As Professor Hurley (n.d.) explains on one of his university course websites:

‘One example is the names of animals and their meat. Whereas the names of the animals remained the same, their meat was renamed according to the Norman custom. This correlated to the sociological structures: the farmers that raised the animals were predominantly English natives and could afford to keep using their own vocabulary while farming – those serving the meat at the dining room table to the mainly French upper classes had to conform to the French language.’

Language not to teach

As the famous saying goes, ‘No words, no language.’ But you will also have to teach your learners what not to say. They should never say no problem as the guest does not expect to hear of any problems. The paying customer does not come to listen to problems and they shouldn’t be made to feel that they cause them.

In my opinion, learners have to be cautious when using free when referring to a transport service or product as it could suggest that the service or product is of little value. Courtesy as an adjective is a much better choice. A courtesy car for example is something supplied free of charge to people who are already paying for another service. Complimentary is also a good choice.

‘House-made’ vs. ‘home-made’

There is some debate as which to use. But both are troublesome and misleading. For example, if a restaurant were to describe its salad dressing as ‘house-made’ then what about the rest of the food? Factory made? ‘Home-made’ is even worse and you aren’t fooling anyone. I suppose the best way would be to announce that is ‘everything is made in-house’.

A word on brainstorming

I think brainstorming words and expressions in class plays a vital role in teaching lexis. Its usefulness and effectiveness should not be underestimated. It is all about creativity, motivation and memorization. I like to get the class to write (and draw!) up on the whiteboard. With just a little prodding, some learners can take to it very enthusiastically. You can use brainstorming for:

- Pre-teaching lexis, and as a general warm-up for a particular activity

- Recycling lexis from a previous lesson

- Encouraging learners to teach one another by sharing their ideas and knowledge

However, there are three challenges that you will have to be aware of:

1. The learners will only produce the language they already know – not necessarily a problem, if they all know different things, but important to be aware of and to plan for. Do the activity beforehand. Brainstorm all the likely language and do some research. There is also a glossary at the back of this book.

2. Learner generated content is very good but it needs to be managed carefully (and well planned in advance) so you already know plenty of items that you want to teach through this technique.

3. It could be risky in that it might generate questions you can’t answer. “What’s the difference between a cappuccino and a frappuccino?” “How do you pronounce “…”?” You need to be ready (both in terms of pre-planning and expectation-management) for questions that your learners can’t answer.

Below are examples of what I have done in class. In these particular lessons, I elicited most of the lexis. Notice how I helped in the second versions; by encouraging them to draw images, to consult their dictionaries and use the Internet.

British English vs. American English…

In order to avoid confusion and misunderstanding, and to sensitize your learners to cultural differences, your learners should be aware of the kind language that is most appropriate when dealing with international customers. For instance, the Japanese tend to use American English, but many Europeans use British English.

Below is a list showing selected British English words and their American counterparts.

Set it up

Have the class brainstorm all the differences between American and British words (within hospitality as much as possible). Provide a few examples for a warm-up:

What is American English for:

– sweets (candies)

– taxi? (cab, taxi cab)

– tin? (can)

You may also need to pre-teach some of the words.

Let it run

- Your learners complete the grid (below) in pairs, so they can share and discuss their ideas. Weaker learners can consult their dictionaries and thesauruses.

- Alternatively, you could use the second grid below as cut-ups for the class to put in order (pair-work).

Round it off

Give the class the completed grid. Try to bring some realia of the words to present to the class (a bag of crisps for example) or give a PowerPoint presentation. Check for:

– understanding (What are potato chips in the States?)

– pronunciation/phonetics – also make learners aware of the rhotic ‘r’ that is typical of American accents.

- Furthermore, words like fillet and salmon are pronounced differently. In American English fillet (often spelled as filet) is pronounced [fɪˈleɪ], and in British English [fɪl.ɪt]. It is probably more helpful to teach the British or American English meaning of words, rather than simply as being one or the other. The word biscuit for example, is a bread roll that is eaten with gravy in the States; and in England it is a (sweet or savoury) flat dry cake… Make your learners aware of this.

‘Kitchen vocabulary – essential items’

I recommend Jamie Oliver’s website www.jamieoliver.com and his video on essential kitchenware: [+ http://www.jamieoliver.com/videos/jamie-oliver-on-essential-kitchenware-30-minute-meals/#d86vmrQ8hvbRlsVJ.97+]

Set it up

- Write Jamie Oliver on the board and ask the class who he is (He’s an internationally renowned British chef).

- Write Essential kitchenware on the board and have your learners brainstorm the kind of kitchen utensils they think they would really need.

- Correct and model any errors.

- Check pronunciation.

Let it run

- Tell the class that you will now play a 4-minute video of Jamie Oliver showing his essential kitchenware.

- The learners should listen and jot down the items.

- Use a pause-and-predict or sound-off-and predict method in order to get your students more active into the naming of the Jamie Oliver’s essential kitchenware.

MODEL ANSWER (taken from the video):

Liquidiser, food processor, kettle, pots & pans, griddle pan, trays, sieve, colander, cake rack, wooden chopping board, scales, measuring jug, pestle & mortar, graters, blades, tongs, spoons, whisks, speed peeler, bottle openers, knives, spatulas

- Draw this grid on the board and have your learners complete it with these useful words as they now watch the video a second time.


Round it off

Download a two-page printable PDF of Jamie Oliver’s kitchen equipment list from the website below and distribute it to your learners:

[+ http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Jamie-Olivers-Kitchen-Utensil-List/2+]

The lists have pictures which are very helpful.

A word on French loanwords

As David Crystal (2012, p.50) points out of French in the English food vocabulary:

‘Why does fois gras sound so much more palatable than goose liver, or boeuf bourguignon more romantic than beef stew? The tradition of preferring French words to English ones in menus has a history which dates from the Middle Ages. The Anglo-Saxons would have eaten sheep, pig, cow, and calf; but these words were evidently too crude to satisfy the fastidious manners of the newly arrived French court.

During the early Middle English period, a new set of words became established as the gourmet’s norm. People now ate mutton, pork, beef, and veal. The recipe books of the period are full of French words.’

So many technical words in the hotel industry are derived from French, such as mise-en-place, maître d’ and en suite. So if you don’t have a background in hospitality (or like staying at hotels!) you had better start learning them. You might think it’s not necessary but many first-class hotels and restaurants in the UK (and worldwide) still use a lot of French. A classic example is petit four(s) (in French it literally means ‘little oven’) which are very small decorated cakes, biscuits or chocolates served with coffee or tea at the end of a meal. They are often translated as ‘fancy biscuits’ but I have yet to see that on an English menu! Another term often used instead of petit four is mignardise, which are slightly bigger ‘fancy biscuits’ in comparison.

Another example is how people like their meat done:

Steak can be a complicated subject. There are also different expectations between France, the UK and the US.

There are numerous blogs on French cuisine that you and your learners can subscribe to. My favourites include Paris by Mouth, Francois Simon and My French Cuisine. Other very useful blogs include French Cooking for Dummies, Foodie Froggy and Easy French Food.

A very interesting blog that could be used with The Shakespeare Cookbook is 18th C Cuisine. I particularly like the way that everything is also subtitled in French. But the dishes themselves are simple, inspiring and healthy!

As Cousins and Lillicrap (2010) point out in their glossary of Food and Beverage Service, 8th Edition:

Many cuisine terms are derived from the classic European cuisine. French terms are mostly used because it was in France that cuisine terms were codified through, for instance, the development and publication of the Le Répertoire de la Cuisine. This is much the same as the use of Italian terms for music (musical terms being codified in Italy), French terms in ballet (dance terms being codified in France) and English being the international language for aviation traffic control. (p.1344)

A word on sales

So how do you make a recommendation? How can a waiter sell an expensive meal and a bottle of château wine? How can a receptionist sell a room? The first thing to make them aware of is passive vs. active selling. The concept of presenting bottles behind the barman is an example of passive selling. But when the barman pulls one down, shows you the label and gives you some to try, that is active selling.

The best sales people I’ve seen have always thought outside the box. A lot of waiters I knew used to offer guests something that was not actually on the menu (but readily available from the kitchen). They made the guests feel like they were doing something special for them. And that is it – guests want to be treated specially and they want to be entertained. And did these guests take the recommendations? I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Another way to sell effectively is to give some interesting information about the product and combine it with a story or anecdote. Maybe not at a fast food restaurant, but in a lot of situations the guests would like to hear your ‘recommendations’ and in a first-class restaurant they’ll expect it.

Here is an idea:

- Does the establishment have a history behind it? What is the establishment’s selling point? Does it have a theme? Does it have a story?

A psychological aspect of selling is not to ask questions that could be easily answered in the negative.

For example, what do you notice about these two sentences?

1 Would you like some coffee?

2 Would you like coffee or dessert?

Sentence 2 offers a choice, which plays against getting an answer in the negative.

Part 3: Resources


A reliance on the coursebook IN the classroom does not really equip learners for self-directed learning OUTSIDE the classroom, since nothing in the outside world really reflects the way that language is packaged, rationed and sanitised in the coursebook.” – Scott Thornbury

I tend to use coursebooks more as supplements. What I like most about coursebooks is that I can always supplement and compliment the lesson with ideas of my own. I also don’t have to spend hours and hours planning a lesson from scratch (but I sometimes find myself doing it anyway!). I always try to bring the lesson out of the page by trying to personally involve my learners with the topic. Some of the questions I ask myself before the lessons are:

– Does the topic in the coursebook really reflect the possible situations that my learners would be confronted with in the hospitality industry? If not, how could I adapt/improve it to suit them better?

– How could I make the lesson more active and creative, and encourage learner autonomy?

Here are some points you might want to consider when choosing a coursebook:

- Is it up-to-date?

- Does it come with a workbook (ideal for homework and consolidation) and a teacher’s book?

- Does it come with resources?

- Is it interactive – can you use it with an interactive whiteboard (IWB)?

- Is it user-friendly – is there space to write the answers? Easy to follow?

- Does it cover all the areas you need to teach?

You also have to be aware that coursebooks are teaching methods in themselves. As Scott Thornbury (2013) points out when speaking of methods and coursebooks in Big Questions in ELT, “A major reason why the notion of method persists, I would argue, is that methods are now embodied in coursebooks. It used to be that coursebooks were reflections of the methods that spawned them. Now the coursebook is the method. (Interestingly, in the Spanish-speaking world, the concept of coursebook and method are conflated into the one term: método.)” (Thornbury, 2013, p.146). And you will therefore have to ask yourself if this method is appropriate for you and your learners.

Many English language learners like to have coursebooks, whether they are part of the teaching method or not. And this is basically because the learners want something ‘dependable’ in their hands; they like that sense of security.

I can recommend Trish Stott & Alison Pohl’s Highly Recommended series. The series is up-to-date and covers a lot of fundamental areas.

If there is one book I think every Hospitality English learner must have, it is the workbook from the Highly Recommended series (Highly Recommended comes in two levels: 1 (pre-intermediate), 2 (intermediate).

Workbooks can offer the learner a lot of consolidation, and are in any case, excellent for self-study. Many publishers also offer apps and free online resources to complement their coursebooks (as well as using social media).

Resources and Recommendations

As a trainer, your learners themselves (especially the job-experienced ones) can be a very good resource. And if you’re teaching Hospitality English, you’re most probably in a hotel school or in an actual hotel where you should have all the realia and visuals you need.

Effective Hospitality English teaching should be performance-based, service-orientated and dynamic. Ideally, keep classroom teaching to a minimum (for clarification, tests etc.), and use the course book only as a teaching supplement. Consider online teaching or blended learning, as working professionals might not always have the opportunity to attend class.

Selected further reading

Ayto, J. (1993). The Diner’s Dictionary: Food and drink from A to Z. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Dalby, A., & Dalby, M. (2012). The Shakespeare Cookbook. London: The British Museum Press.

Erlacher, M. (2013). Restaurant-Service: Skills – Training Book, 1st Edition, Bern, Switzerland: ReNovium GmbH.

Lillicap, D. & Cousins J. (2010). Food and Beverage Service, 8th Edition. Oxon, UK: Hodder Education.

Pizam, A. & Holcomb J. (eds) (2008). International Dictionary/Encyclopaedia of Hospitality Management. Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Pohl, A. (2002). Professional English: Hotel and Catering (2nd ed.). Essex, UK: Pearson Education Limited.

Stott, T. & Pohl, A. (2010). Highly Recommended 2: Workbook. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Useful websites





Part 4: Course Design

Assessing needs

Another way of looking at needs is to think about them in terms of what and how we might teach. Can we translate needs into a list of products which we as teachers deliver to the learner?” – Evan Frendo

Consider the following:

- What are the overall aims and specific objectives? What will your learners be able to do by the end of the course?

- What are the logistics? Intensive or extensive course? Blended learning?

- What are the learning needs and styles of your learners?

- How will you test your learners? Continuous assessment as well? What criteria?

- How will you obtain feedback?

Needs analysis…

When we talk about needs, we should first be clear about whose needs – the sponsor’s or the learner’s? (Frendo, 2005) Think of the needs as products, which you can give the learner, such as a list of skills like taking orders at the guest’s table, answering the telephone or describing wine.

There is no perfect needs analysis but as long as it gets you all the necessary information (which is interpreted and used) then you’re onto a winner. Try to make them easy to fill in and quick too. Nobody wants to spend hours completing lots of open questions.

Below is an example of a needs analysis I might use. You will notice that I have included a section asking for the date and the applicant’s signature. I feel that asking for signatures adds a dimension of accountability.

Hospitality English NEEDS ANALYSIS (]for the [+learner+]]) Part 1

Please complete this questionnaire so I can assess your level and learning goals.

Hospitality Englishv ORAL NEEDS ANALYSIS (for the assessor) Part 2

Reasons for studying Hospitality English:

Placement test score if taken:

Any relevant job experience?

Is English required at work?

Use of English outside work?

Student’s comments:

Learning aims and objectives:

[Hospitality English NEEDS ANALYSIS – Placement test (writing)
Part 3]

Consider the situation below:

A returning hotel guest, Mrs Jones, has complained about her noisy neighbours. She has booked a room for three nights.

How would you handle this situation if you were the hotel manager?

Please use a pen and write clearly.

Hospitality English NEEDS ANALYSIS – Placement test (electronically completed evaluation) Part 3b (optional)

Consider the situation below:

Mr Louis Otieno, a first-time hotel guest, has written an email praising the accommodation, food and service at your five-star hotel.

As you are the Food & Beverage Manager,

– write him an email in return to thank him for his compliments, in which you encourage him to become a returning customer.

Keep your email short and simple. Send your email to

Performance-based testing…

Ideally, the true test would be to see how your learners perform out of the classroom. Simulations are good but the real thing (work shadowing, for example) is always best. It would be more useful to think in terms of performance-based testing. For example, if a prospective learner comes to you and wants to improve their telephoning skills for Hospitality English, test their telephoning abilities based on all the micro-skills of telephoning. Naturally, you as the teacher/trainer will have to either create a simulation or observe the learner at work.

On the following page is an example of a performance-based assessment for telephoning that might be used:

Lesson planning

Here are a few suggestions on what to include in a lesson plan for teaching Hospitality English:

- Include a section in your plan for performance as Hospitality English is very ‘hands on’.

- Include a scheme of activities / lesson procedure / lesson structure (lesson run) that shows the individual activities that the lesson will entail.

- Include an indication of time for each activity.

On the following pages are lesson plan templates that might be used.

Lesson structure

Course Design/Planning

A course on Hospitality English will inevitably need to be performance-based. So apart from considering the objectives, learning outcomes and syllabus components (which are all very important), you will have to plan and manage the logistics such as room/venue allocation well in advance. A big challenge when teaching Hospitality English is obtaining a suitable room or area for my course and individual lessons.

Also, keep in mind that you will have to be flexible and be able to change and adapt as the course progresses. It might even be a good idea to incorporate a well thought out contingency plan in your planning!

Here is the first page of what a 30-hour course plan (empty) might look like:


‘I have to say at the outset that I have an almost pathological horror of testing and assessment. All my worst teaching and teacher training experiences relate directly to issues of assessment. I don’t mean assessment of me (although negative assessments of my capacity to teach may well have resulted from my incapacity to ‘do’ assessments effectively). I mean my assessment of my students. Things can be going along just swimmingly until the day of the test, or the day when I’m required to post a grade. Then all hell breaks loose. The cosy relationship I had built up with my class or with individual students is shattered irreparably. Often this has to do with failing a student, but just as often it has to do with a student not getting the A grade they had always got in the past. Or, worse still, not getting the one percentage point that will make all the difference between continued funding or having to leave the program for good.

I don’t deny that testing – like death and taxes – is unavoidable. As Johnston (2003: 77) puts it, testing is a necessary evil. It is necessary because learners and other stakeholders need feedback on progress. (Or arguably, they have a right to feedback). And this is what testing does: it provides feedback, in accordance with principles of validity, reliability and fairness.

But, at the same time, testing is evil. Why? Because it assigns a value to the learner, and, since the value is almost always short of perfection, it essentially de-values the learner. Worse, testing typically involves measuring students one against the other, thereby destroying at a blow the dynamic of equality that the teacher might have judiciously nurtured up until this point.

Testing is evil because it is stressful for all concerned, and because the conditions under which testing is conducted (separated desks, no mobile phones, etc.) imply a basic lack of trust in the learners.

It is evil because it pretends to be objective but in fact it is inherently subjective. Why is it subjective? Because, as Johnston (op. cit: 76-77) points out, ‘the selection of what to test, how it will be tested, and how scores are to be interpreted are all acts that require human judgement; that is, they are subjective acts.’ Ultimately, it is the tester – not the test-taker – who decides what counts as knowledge, and how you count knowledge.’ – Scott Thornbury

When it comes to Hospitality English, you have to keep in mind the fact that the test-taker has to be tested in various ways in order to create validity. In other words, the testing in Hospitality English has to be multifaceted. It has to take into account the learners’ performance, as well as the four general English skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening), vocabulary and grammar. In this sense, you could say that their hard skills as well as their soft skills should be tested in realistic ways.

Here are some suggestions on how to make your testing as ‘objective’, valid and effective as possible:

- Make sure you use standardized assessment criteria, which is not only tried and tested but also peer-approved and reviewed.

- The test-takers should perform in real or real-like situations i.e. taking an order at the restaurant with real guests (who have been informed of the test).

- Do you really need to inform your learners that they are being tested? Spontaneity is important. Isn’t that how we operate and achieve results in our working lives?

- You might want to think about how you will give the grades after formal testing. Privately or in plenary? (I find that presenting marks privately helps to avoid the condition my colleagues like to call ‘class rage.’) On paper or electronically? If you do use paper, try marking with green ink instead of red. However you choose, keep in mind that your system should be as transparent as possible, and hopefully accompanied with lots of positive, helpful feedback. And you should, of course, be able to justify your decisions.

I have to say that I make no friends on ‘Judgement Day’. But over the years I have learnt how to make the process of giving grades a lot more bearable. Here are some of the things I do:

- If formal testing is part of the course, my learners will know about it from day one and will have a copy of the grading criteria. As a teacher I’m always open and direct. I explain the testing process and even give them a little lecture on it.

- I do aim to achieve excellent rapport. But my learners know very well that I always keep a professional distance from them. They know that I am serious and will stand my ground if I think they deserve the grades I give them.

As an example of grading criteria, below is a sample grading grid and rubric for assessing the English of food and beverage service.

Food & beverage service grading grid & rubric

(English language performance)

Creating exams

Ideally, you should create tailor-made exams for your learners. You will probably have to anyway as Hospitality English isn’t very well established as yet. Below are a few tips for creating exams for Hospitality English:

- Make sure you have a professional-looking cover page (in colour if possible) indicating the following:

1. School name and logo

2. Class name and code

3. Course name and number

4. Name and type of exam

5. Semester / session / term

6. Date and time

7. A section on the marks available and the marks to be awarded

8. Name of the faculty member(s) / lecturer(s) / teacher(s)

9. Name of the examinee (and possibly his or her student number)

10. Rules and instructions (write clearly in pen etc.)

11. Number of pages

12. A section on special allowances due to learning disabilities.


Rules and instructions: Please remain polite, pro-active and professional manner at all times.


[Interview with Mr Andrew Keohane
Program Manager at Glion Institute of Higher Education
September 2015]

1. What would you define as Hospitality English?

It’s the specific English needed by staff in the hospitality industry. It comprises of certain vocabulary and technical jargon. It’s quite a broad term. English for hospitality is very functional which actually merges into Business English.

2. What do you think is important about learning English in regards to hospitality?

It has to remain functional, focused, and very active – it is interactive in the sense that it is not academic English. Hospitality English is related to real life situations – think of the use of modal verbs for example… I think it’s important that it’s taught in performance and that it’s taught to be used in a polite way.

3. Is there a particular word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think of English for hospitality?

Politeness, service, and oral communication.

4. How important do you think English for Hospitality will be 10 years from now?

It will increase due to more travel and tourism. English for hospitality will continue to be the lingua franca. The spreading of English through the history of British colonialism will still be felt.

5. I know you can speak foreign languages. In what way would you like to have learnt them?

If I think about learning French… It was slow in school and I never really progressed. But when I went to France I learnt quickly. Learning by doing would be my advice about learning a language, and there’s no substitute for learning one other than being in the country and spending time there.

[Interview with Mr Carlo Giardinetti
Program Manager at Glion Institute of Higher Education
September 2015]

1. What would you define as Hospitality English?

It’s a common language for travellers, which enables them to get the basic needs – terminology like check-in, checkout. If you go to Italy, this kind of language helps the traveller immensely.

2. What do you think is important about learning English in regards to hospitality?

For the traveller or tourist it is a ‘survival kit’.

I think one should keep in mind that hospitality English doesn’t really consist of long conversation [dialogue] but of short, pre-constructed sentences. On the other hand, it should also empower the learner to construct his or her sentences. In a sense, it is a kind of ‘mind training’. I think it’s a lot about learning Q & A dialogue. Hospitality English is very transactional in this sense.

3. Is there a particular word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think of English for hospitality?

Well, English in general has a very precise structure – especially noticeable in the questions forms. Take the ‘do-support’, for example. So right now these question forms come to my mind. They initiate a ‘discovery-dialogue-journey’ kind of process. And it has to be a dialogue – it has to go both ways. Both parties raise questions, and hopefully everyone can give answers to one another!

4. How important do you think English for hospitality will be 10 years from now?

It will be important. It will be different. To some extent, there will be basic interactions against robot [computers] with artificial intelligence. I think accent is very important and I picture a standardised, uniform accent. I think EFL will have to adapt largely to technological innovation such as voice and translation.

5. In what way would you have like to have learnt your English (As a native – or non-native speaker)?

I wouldn’t change the way I learnt. I learnt a lot of my English by watching movies. Scriptwriters are geniuses with their use of English.

I used a grammar book for clarification and watched movies in English and with English subtitles – I never used Italian subtitles because I would push my brain to thinking in two languages.

[Interview with Mr Michael Cubbin
Lecturer at Glion Institute of Higher Education,
September 2015]

1. What would you define as Hospitality English?

It’s English that is based on the professional terminology used in hospitality areas such as hotels. Actually, French terms form a large part of English for hospitality. Think of words such as ‘concierge’ and ‘chef de rang’, for instance.

2. What do you think is important about learning English in regards to hospitality?

The conversational aspect is important, which is often a repetitive process. So learning phrases, expressions etc. When we [English teachers] teach English for hospitality, we should also soften our accents.

3. Is there a particular word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think of English for hospitality?

French words! Words like ‘mise-en-place’. Actually, I’ve only heard them used in hospitality contexts.

4. How important do you think English for hospitality will be 10 years from now?

It would still be vital in English-speaking countries, but not so in non-English-speaking countries. American English will spread even more.

5. In what way would you like to have learnt your English (as a native-speaker – or non-native speaker)?

Well, if I consider learning a foreign language, I would like to have learnt with role-plays and performance rather than using textbooks. I would want to learn all the useful words and phrases.

[Interview with Mr John Potts
Freelance English teacher
September 2015]

1. What would you define as Hospitality English?

Chiefly, the English used in the hotel and restaurant industries. Would also include cafes, bars etc. A sub-category within ESP.

2. What do you think is important about learning English in regards to hospitality?

In no particular order: frequently-used fixed expressions; frequently-used exponents of a range of functions (e.g. greeting/making welcome, apologizing, responding to requests etc. etc.); appropriacy of register/style etc. with a focus on politeness; lexical fields relating to the sub-topics within the industry (e.g. vocab of restaurants, hotels, services etc.); pronunciation features that are especially relevant to specific functions (e.g. intonation and stress patterns for apologising etc.); good command of industry-related grammar (e.g. conditionals, polite use of will/would, have s/t done etc.). Plus lots of “real-life” practice (situations, simulations, role plays, realistic writing tasks etc.).

3. Is there a particular word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think of English for hospitality?

No, not really.

4. How important do you think English for hospitality will be 10 years from now?

It won’t be less important than now, I shouldn’t think.

4. In what way would you like to have learnt your English (As a native – or non-native speaker)?

Essentially, I had little or no choice about the way I learnt English, in the sense that it’s my mother tongue. I am glad that my parents encouraged me to read from a very early age, and that my teachers at primary and secondary level explicitly taught me how to spell, some grammar and rhetorical terms, how to write an essay etc. – all in the “old-fashioned” or traditional way.

[Interview with Graham Workman
Freelance English teacher
26th July 2016]

1. What would you define as Hospitality English?

The kind of English used by professional people who meet tourists and visitors from other countries, e.g. Hotel reception staff, hotel managers. porters, waiters/waitresses, bar staff, tourist guides.

2. What do you think is important about learning English in regards to hospitality?

The use of polite forms, how to make requests, how to give information clearly, how to check understanding, how to give directions, how to deal with problems, how to apologize, how to show you have heard what the person said/complained about.

3. Is there a particular word or phrase that comes to your mind when you think of English for hospitality?

Good day, sir/madam. How can I help you?

4. How important do you think English for Hospitality will be 10 years from now?

Probably more important because more and more people are travelling and have more leisure time.

5. In what way(s) would you like to have learnt your mother tongue?

The way I learned it – it was a natural process. Through interaction, in everyday contexts while grasping an understanding of social norms and the culture.

Miscellaneous grids for practicing vocabulary


Recommending and offering:

Teacher’s glossary of hospitality terms


à la carte It literally means ‘from the card’. Guests can choose individual food and drink items from an à la carte menu to suit their needs and tastes.

à la minute this is used with food that can be cooked within a minute, such as a thin steak.

al dente an Italian term to used to describe pasta (and sometimes potatoes) when it is slightly undercooked to give it a firm bite.

amuse-bouche (French) another term for amuse-gueule. Amuse-bouche literally means ‘amuse mouth’ and it is a savoury, bite-sized appetizer, which is often served as a welcoming start to a meal in a fine dining restaurant.

antipasti (sin. antipasto) the Italian version of hors d’oeuvre (starters other than pasta and rice dishes)

àpart French term for separate (like side dishes, sauces served separately on a side plate).

apéritif a drink served before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite. Aperitif comes from the meaning ‘to open’. Typical aperitifs include bitters like Campari and non-alcoholic beverages like orange juice.

apprenticeship involves on-the-job training and work experience while in paid employment, with formal off-the-job training. Traditionally, formal apprenticeships (membership in Guilds) started in Europe during the Middle Ages. These were restricted to trade occupations (i.e. tailors, blacksmiths, etc.) and were of multiple years’ duration. Hospitality apprentices can learn in fields such as front office, housekeeping, food and beverage, or culinary. Apprentices enter into formalized agreements with employers known as ‘training agreements’. In some countries apprentices are paid a training wage adjusted to reflect the amount of time spent learning off the job and employers have access to public training funds to assist with training apprentices. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008) During my apprenticeship as a waiter, I would work for four days and then go to ‘waiter school’ on the fifth. My learning was both theory and practise based.

at sign the symbol @) – this is used in England and some other English speaking countries when writing up a bill (price quote) to indicate the singular price per item consumed. For example:

4 x Coca Cola @ 50p = £2.00

In a French restaurant it could be written up as:

4 x Coca Cola à 50p = £2.00


back of the house An archaic term that has survived over the centuries. It was first used in the Middle Ages in England to describe the area of an inn where food was prepared, which was normally located outside to the rear, and therefore was called the back-of-house area. Its modern interpretation is similar, as it is commonly used to describe the areas of a hotel or restaurant, which are normally off-limits to the guests (e.g. the kitchen). The modern application lies with the delineation of back-of-house employees such as cooks, laundry operators, cleaners, etc., from front-of-house employees such as front-desk clerks, concierge, or restaurant servers. (Pizam & Holcomb 2008)

bain-marie a hot water bath (in a kitchen) in which a container of food is cooked or warmed slowly.

bake do not confuse baking with roasting, as roasting is done (primarily with meat) to add flavour and taste (often basting with oil or fat). Roasted chestnuts would therefore be more appealing than baked chestnuts.

barista (Italian for ‘barman’) A barista prepares and sells different types of coffee in a coffee bar/coffee house. Professional baristas often prepare Italian coffees in very artistic ways.

béarnaise a rich butter sauce made with egg yolk, reduced wine vinegar and tarragon. It accompanies grilled fish and meats.

beefsteak a thick slice of beef fillet. It is either grilled or fried.

beer-clean glass a beer glass that has been cleaned with a special detergent. Beer glasses need to be very clean as the taste and foam can easily spoil.

bien cuit French for ‘well done’ – used to describe meat that is cooked through.

billfold (American English) a wallet used to present the bill to the guest.

blanch to place food in boiling water (for a very short time). This is done not only to pre-cook food but to also stop food from decolouring (oxidizing).

Blended whiskey whiskey made from different grains.

bleu (of meat) French expression for very rare

bottomless cup (American English) a drink with free refills.

bouillabaisse a popular French fish soup

bouillon French expression for a meat or vegetable stock

bouquet (of wine) a French-derived expression for the pleasant smell (aroma) of wine

braise (from French) to fry meat or vegetables lightly, and then stew very slowly in a closed container (braising pan / bisière). It literally means ‘live coals’ as that was originally done.

brasserie a typical restaurant in France. A brasserie was originally a brewery and comes from brasser ‘to brew’.

breakout room a room where delegates / meeting attendees can go to relax and have refreshments during a break

breakout session a gathering where attendees / delegates in a meeting or conference discuss specific subjects other than what is discussed in the main meeting (in the plenary). Also referred to as a breakout meeting.

breathe to expose wine to air in order to improve the flavour and bouquet. A good restaurant will put the wine into a decanter instead of just simply removing the cork and letting the bottle sit.

bus (verb, American English) to clear a table of dirty dishes. A ‘busboy/busgirl’ is usually a young person who does this job, as well as serving food.

Burnout a syndrome that represents a state of exhaustion caused by chronic stress, and evidences a number of physiological, behavioural, and cognitive consequences. Physical problems may include chronic low levels of energy, frequent headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, and marked changes in eating habits. Psychological symptoms may include anxiety, fear, emotional liability, and out-of-character signs of defensiveness and heightened sensitivity to any perceived criticism. Within the hospitality industry work context, burnout may frequently manifest itself in concentration problems, physical illnesses, absenteeism, and lack of interest in cooperating with others. Major sources of damaging stress leading to burnout in hospitality industry work life include role conflict and role overload or underload. Disempowerment, diminished social support, and job insecurity are also casual agents. Burnout may also be symptomatic of the hospitality employee’s alienation from their work and from co-workers, and is commonly associated with uninteresting work, as well as unpredictable or unmanageable work levels and might also be engendered by dysfunctional communication processes. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

business centre/center Business centers within hotels provide services to business travellers who require an office away from the office. Depending on the type of guest that a hotel targets, its business center may be open 24 hours a day, and it can provide equipment such as computers, facsimile machines, printers, pager systems, etc.; services are provided, such as audio-visual services, secretarial services, translation services, desktop publishing services; and facilities such as private offices, meeting rooms, lounges and libraries. Hotels and lodging properties are rapidly moving to business centers with free usage of fax, printing, and copying equipment. A slightly higher room rate may be worth it for the traveller who is provided with an efficient working environment. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)


cafeteria service In cafeteria-style service, guests select their meals from food counters, the full length of which is known as a ‘race’, and place these on their meal tray. These meals might be pre-bought or paid for at the end of the race at the cash desk prior to sitting down to consume the meal. Usually, cutlery, napkins, additional crockery, and beverages are collected at the end of the race before proceeding to the cash desk. Cafeteria-style service can be found in on-site foodservice, which – depending on the venue – may also serve gourmet-style food. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

chambrer (French for ‘to room’) to bring wine to room temperature. There are basically two methods: the wine bottle is placed in a container of warm water, or it is decanted.

changeover the process of preparing a hotel room for a new guest after the previous one has checked out.

characteristics of service The following are 15 characteristics that are unique to the production and delivery of services by hospitality firms where success is achieved through differentiation from their competition:

1. Service is an experience for the customer.

2. Service is a performance by an employee or product.

3. When service is delivered, the guest and service provider are both part of the transaction.

4. Service quality is difficult to control and evaluate.

5. The customer and the organization often measure quality of service differently.

6. After service is delivered, there can be no recall of the guest’s experience.

7. Estimating the cost of service delivery is difficult.

8. Excess production of service cannot be placed in inventory.

9. Service delivery and demand can be individually customized.

10. Successful service delivery can be achieved with different viewpoints.

11. The delivery of service is viewed as a series of tasks.

12. Service is a strategy.

13. Service is often provided as a value added to a physical product.

14. Service has an aspect of time.

15. When purchasing services there is limited or no ownership.

(Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

checkout the process by which a guest settles his account and leaves the hotel. This is the last stage of the guest cycle and is one of the last contracts that a guest has with a hotel. The main objective here is to settle the guest account, to update room status information and to create a guest history record. Due to changes in technology there are other check out options available, namely express checkout and self-checkout. Express checkout is the process by which the guest authorizes the hotel to charge his/her credit card without stopping by the front desk to physically checkout. Self-checkout involves the (credit card) guest actually checking themselves out of the system through terminals located in the lobby area or via in-room systems which may be connected to the front office computer.

chef de rang (from French) an experienced waiter who is in charge of a number of tables in a restaurant. He or she may have a commis de rang (junior waiter/trainee/apprentice/busboy/girl) to assist him or her.

compôte the French term for stewed fruit (cooked/poached in syrup)

concierge (American English) – A hotel functionary that assists the guest with most problems concerning accommodation, handles their mail, and facilitates special requests with the front desk agent and other hotel personnel. Typically, the concierge reports to the front office manager. The concierge assistant, bell captain, and doorman report directly to the concierge. The concierge establishes policies and procedures and writes job descriptions, training manuals, and procedures for all areas of guest services, including bell service, doorman service, guest paging, baggage and package handling, guest tour and travel services, and special guest requirements. Additional responsibilities assisting guests with the many unscheduled guest service needs (theatre tickets, car rentals, sight-seeing tours travel information etc.); coordinating with the assistant manager, the senior assistant front office manager, and other departments; supervising and coordinating the parking of guest cars, and the coordinating with the laundry manager to ensure quality laundry and valet service.

condominium hotel buildings whose suites are individually owned but are collectively marketed and operated as a hotel. Typically, condominium hotels offer housekeeping, front office and security services, and full or limited food and beverage facilities. In some condominium hotels the units are rented for a minimum stay of one week. Typically, investors in condo hotel suites are motivated by tax write-off opportunities, personal free use of their unit during a limited period of time each year and the potential profit share derived from the yearly rental of their unit to tourists. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

conference a meeting characterized by its participatory nature, designed for the discussion of subjects related to a specific topic or area that may include fact-finding, problem-solving, and consultation. It is an event used by any organization to meet and exchange views, convey a message, open a debate, or give publicity to some area of opinion on a specific issue. No tradition, continuity or specific period is required to convene a conference. Although not generally limited in time, conferences are usually of short duration with specific objectives. Conferences are generally on a smaller scale than congresses and/or conventions and do not have exhibits. Conferences may be held in a variety of venues, including conference centers, universities, and resorts. A conference may be organized by an association, a corporation, a for-profit company, a not-for-profit organization, or any other entity. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

conference center a facility dedicated as an adult learning environment and designed for the comfort of the meeting participant. In order to conform to the ‘universal criteria’ of best practices as established by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) it should provide ergonomic furniture, state of the art audio-visual and computer equipment and, leisure time activities and it should offer unique and plentiful food and beverage choices. Most conference centers are also residential and provide guest rooms although this is not a requirement of the IACC. In addition to companies like Marriott and Hilton, conference centers may be owned and operated by corporations for in-house staff training and education, managed by a university, or privately owned. Often the fees for a conference center are based on a CMP or Complete Meeting Package. This is usually a per person/per day fee, covering the cost of the sleeping room, food and beverage, meeting space rental, and audio-visual equipment.

continental-breakfast a breakfast basically consisting of coffee/tea, bread, butter and jam and/or marmalade. There may be other accompanying items such as orange juice, cheese and yoghurt. It is essentially a ‘light, sweet breakfast’.

corkage a charge made by a hotel or restaurant if the customer brings their own beverage (usually wine) and has it served at the table.

cover-charge (in a restaurant) a flat fee paid for admission

crema (Italian for ‘cream’) the white-brown foam at the top of espressos and coffees made from an espresso machine. It is now quite trendy for baristas to ‘draw’ designs (etching) on the crema using milk foam or chocolate syrups/sauces.

crumb down to clean a table at a restaurant (with a napkin or ‘table crumber’) after the main course to prepare for dessert.


decant to slowly pour wine from its original bottle into a decanter. This is done primarily for three reasons: to separate the sediment (lees) from the wine; to allow the wine to breathe more efficiently; and to bring the wine to room temperature.

departing the guest typically involves at least three members of a hotel’s staff, front desk, bell, and airport courtesy van driver and/or doorman when a guest is ready to checkout of his/her room at a hotel. The front desk: enquiring about the quality of products and services that have been provided to the guest; the guest returning room keys to the hotel if the hotel is still utilizing hard keys rather than electronic keys and locks; both the guest and front desk: (a) reviewing a hard copy of the guest’s folio for completeness and accuracy; (b) the guest determining the method of payment and the front office receiving the payment; © inquiring of the guest the need for additional reservations; (d) preparing a copy of the folio and related documents for the guest and for the night audit; and (e) the front desk communicating the guests departures to housekeeping and other departments in the hotel if necessary. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

digestif an alcoholic after dinner drink. Typical digestifs include brandy and kirsch.


economies of scale a term used to express a firm’s ability to reduce the cost of producing one unit of goods or services as the volume of production increases. Mass production and economies of scale were central concepts in the development of modern economic theory. In the hospitality industry economies of scale can originate from different sources. For example, economies of scale can result from the ability to share marketing and sales infrastructure for increasing capacity. A Central Reservation System (CRS) might serve as an example for economies of scale. Economies of scale in the hospitality industry can also result from the utilization of central management teams, acquisition of raw materials and production, and labor utilization. Improving profitability has been a key issue in the hospitality industry, and economies of scale are an important component in that effort. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

eighty-six the number ‘86’ is fundamental to the rich food-service vernacular. The numerical expression was made popular by short-order cooks to inform food servers they were out of a specific dish. Hence, after the last slice of cherry pie was served, the cooks would yell, ‘86 cherry pie!’. The term is also applied when customers are asked to leave a bar or restaurant. Typically as the result of behaviour associated with intoxication, a manager may tell the bartender to ‘86’ the guest in question. The term has extended to use in other sectors too. The military, for example, uses the term to mean eliminate or destroy (‘86 the enemy’s headquarters’). It is also evident in contemporary colloquialism where it is used as a slang term to denote the end of a relationship (‘My girlfriend just 86’d me’). (Ibid.)

en suite (of a bathroom) an en suite bathroom is one that is joined to a bedroom and only to be used by the guests in the bedroom.

entrecôte a steak from the boned out sirloin

entrée this is usually understood as the main dish of the meal, or the dish that precedes the main dish.

entremets (derived from French meaning ‘between dish’) this is often a sweet course served between meals. In French, it actually means dessert.

espresso (derived from Italian) technically speaking, an espresso has 50% less water than a cup of coffee; it is made by forcing steam through a ‘puck’ of ground coffee. Espresso literally means ‘pressed out [coffee]’. The common spelling of expresso is now acceptable.

European plan (American English) when you book only the room without any meals.

express checkout a common hotel pre-departure activity that involves producing and distributing guest folios to guests expected to checkout. To ease front desk volume during peak periods of checkout, a hotel might initiate checkout activities before guests are ready to leave. Hotel staff may quietly slip printed folios under the guestroom doors of expected checkouts before 6 a.m., making sure that the guest’s folio cannot be seen or reached from outside the room. By completing the express checkout form, the guest is authorizing the front office to transfer his/her outstanding folio balance to the credit card voucher that was created during registration. Once completing the form, the guest deposits the express checkout form at the front desk when departing. After the guest has left, the front office completes the guest’s checkout by transferring the outstanding guest folio balance to a previous authorized method of settlement. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)


family service also called Service à la Française, is a simple method of serving food in which serving dishes are placed on the dining table (on a carrousel in the middle of the table for Chinese service and Chinese dim sum service), allowing guests to select what they wish and to serve themselves. Family service style is predominantly used in Oriental, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean countries. (Ibid.)

fast casual a type of restaurant which is similar to a fast food restaurant in that it does not offer full table service, but promises a somewhat higher quality of food and atmosphere. Food here is usually ‘hand crafted’ as in fine dining, but customers are responsible for some portion of their limited service. In particular, they wait in line to order and pay in advance, and often carry their own trays to a table. This new hybrid offering has fast service, is casual in style and ambience with generally more complex menu items than the quick service segment, but is offered at a price premium. (Ibid.)

first-in, first-out this inventory valuation method calculates the value of ending inventory and cost of goods sold (COGS) based on the principle of ‘first-in, first-out’ (FIFO). In a foodservice establishment, FIFO is a favoured rotation method because it helps a kitchen use products before they deteriorate. When using the FIFO method, older products are used first, leaving newer products in inventory. This means that when valuing ending inventory, a manager will use the prices for the most recently purchased items. In contrast, because older products are used first, the value of COGS will be based on the prices of the older products. In times when prices are increasing, this method yields a high value for ending inventory and a low COGS. Since COGS is an expense, a lower COGS means that the operation will show a higher profit. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

flûte a stemmed glass used to serve Champagne and other sparkling wines like Prosecco. The bowl is tall and narrow.

French service another term for family service.

friandises another term for petit fours

front-of-the house a hotel or lodging enterprise’s divisions or departments may be grouped in many ways. One such classification is front-of-the house and back-of-the house. In front-of-the house departments employees have extensive guest contact. The rooms division has many such employees including reservationists; front desk agents; key, mail, information specialists; uniformed services; and other guest services. In addition food and beverage employees have extensive guest contact through restaurants and lounges and are thus part of the front-of-the house. In restaurants the term used to describe the public areas of a restaurant that are accessible to guests (e.g. dining rooms, bars), hence the areas that are not accessible to customers are considered back-of-the house. Front-of-the house restaurant employees are ones that have guest contact. These employees include food servers, bussers, bartenders, and hosts. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)


garde-manger (literally means ‘keeper of the food’ in French) this is the cold part of the kitchen, where cold foods (vegetables, terrines, cold cuts etc.) are prepared and stored.

garnish a very small amount of food which is used to decorate a larger portion of food; the sprig of parsley in a meat soup or the cooked cherry tomato on a portion of risotto are examples of garnishes. They can be quite elaborate.

grosse piece the main course with meat which is cut/portioned after preparing.

guéridon service (side-table) one of the most elegant service methods, which suits à-la-carte service or small banquets. For this service method, the side-table (guéridon) should be prepared with a hotplate (plate warmer) and a chafing dish, service cutlery, plates, and carving or flambé equipment. The platters (of food) arranged by the kitchen, are presented to the customers, and then the food is arranged on plates at the side table. (Erlacher, 2013)

guest cycle the hotel guest cycle consists of four stages, namely: (1) pre-arrival, (2) arrival, (3) occupancy, and (4) departure. Pre-arrival is the stage where the guest chooses the hotel and makes the reservation. Important information is gathered at this stage, which allows the next stage to run smoothly. The arrival stage is when the guest actually arrives and registers at the hotel (check-in). Here the guest verifies the information gathered previously at the reservation stage, confirms method of payment, signs the registration card, and collects their key. The occupancy stage deals with security of the guest along with the coordination of guest services to ensure satisfaction and try to encourage repeat guests. At this stage the front desk needs to keep guests accounts up to date so that the final stage of the cycle runs smoothly. The final stage of the cycle is departure, which is when the guest is ready to check out. The main objective here is to settle the guest account, update information, and to create a guest history record. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

guest ledger the guest ledger in a hotel is made up of all the folios of in-house guests. In accounting terms, the guest ledger is part of the accounts receivable balance sheet. The front desk collects payment for the guest ledger. Once this payment is collected, the balance of the folio is closed out and is removed from the guest ledger. (Ibid.)


hands-on learning often in the hospitality industry individuals learn by experience, practising, and displaying certain behaviours. For example a new bartender will learn the mix of cocktail ingredients and then practice how to blend theses together whilst a room attendant will practice the various steps involved in making a bed. Many companies now identify key skills for all jobs within their organization to support and target learning. Hilton (UK) for example has defined the technical and behavioural skills (TBS) required for all operations roles and designed the learning experiences around these. This is known as behavioural learning and is best suited to skill development. Attitudinal development is better achieved cognitive learning. In this process learning is stimulated by explanation and understanding of concepts and theories which will then allow the learner to adapt their attitude to a given situation. (Ibid.)

haute cuisine Literally ‘high (or superior) cooking’ in French. A term that refers to the finest food, prepared in an elegant manner. In the French traditional school context, the term is often used to describe the classical French cuisine – cuisine classique. Haute cuisine often requires an elaborate and skilful manner of preparing food. Most chefs today define haute cuisine as a culinary practice following a high standard that requires detailed, artistic, and expert preparation and presentation of food. (Ibid.)

hospitality tray (BrE) a tray with everything one needs to make hot drinks for guests in a hotel room. They can be quite elaborate depending on the hotel.


junior suite a deluxe hotel room that includes a sitting room (living room) area


late arrival any hotel guest arriving after a designated hour of the day, typically 6:00 p.m., is considered a late arrival. At that time a guest who did not guarantee his/her reservation may have it cancelled. Without a guarantee payment, the hotel may not hold the room for the guest and may not have a room available when the guest arrives. Most large hotel chains in the USA and other countries do not allow non-guaranteed reservations. Some reservations require advance payment of one or all room nights. This is done in an effort to ensure payment of rooms that do no-show, as well as to ensure better ability to fully book all hotel rooms. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

lees another term for dregs or sediment. Wine lees (together with the wine) are considered by a minority of guests and sommeliers to be the best part of the drinking experience; however, most fine dining restaurants decant wine (mostly aged Bordeaux red wines) in order to separate/remove them.

les clefs d’or Literally, means keys of gold in French, the crossed gold keys are the international symbol of the organization. The keys displayed on a concierge’s uniform lapels assure travellers they are dealing with a seasoned professional, one who is dedicated to serving the guests’ every need. In October 1929, three of the more prominent concierges met in Paris to exchange service tips and ideas. They found that, together they could more effectively network and enhance guest services throughout their cities. As a result, many countries created national concierge societies. The ‘Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hotels “Les Clefs d’Or”’ (UICH) is the international organization that represents the hotel concierge occupation throughout the world. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)


maître d’ (maître d’hôtel) literally means ‘master of the house’. Nowadays, a maître d’ is usually understood as being the headwaiter of a restaurant. Classically, it means the manager of a hotel. A maître d’ at a five-star hotel (in Europe) is usually in charge of not only the restaurant, but of all food and beverage service outlets such as the bar, restaurant and room service.

manger on duty in hotels, during the absence of the general manager, an assistant is typically identified as the manager on duty. The manager-on-duty fields concerns, questions, and issues that may arise from guests and employees. Since hotels operate 24 hours 365 days a year, it is essential that the hotel staff have a person who they can go to with issues or concerns at all times particularly when their department supervisor or manager may not be available. Because of its central location and focal point in a hotel or lodging enterprise often the manager on duty is an assistant who is located at the front desk or reception of the hotel. The key demands facing the manager on duty are in large part short term. They include day-to-day operational issues of quality and controlling costs and revenue. The manager on duty, like all operations, is under tremendous pressure to produce short-term positive results. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

mise en place (French for ‘putting in place’) It is the preparation of dishes and ingredients before the beginning of service. Most people in the industry simply use the term as a synonym for preparation.

moments of truth the interaction that occurs between a service provider and the guest is one of the key elements of service that define a guest’s service experience. Richard Norman, of the Service Management Group, developed the term ‘Moment of Truth’ for any moment when an employee and customer have contact in a service operation and the guest determines his or her impression of the service quality. During a service encounter, the employee and guest both exhibit behavioural cues that allow them to form impressions and choose their reactions. A positive Moment of Truth occurs when the service provider has the ability to monitor the guest’s behavioural cues and react in a way that promotes guest satisfaction along with delivering the service. In order to develop positive Moments of truth, service operations support the staff members that have direct customer contact. By turning the organizational structure upside down, the employee with direct guest contact will be empowered to react appropriately to the customer’s behavioural cues. (Pizam & Holcomb)

motivation the process by which people seek to achieve certain goals, which in turn satisfy a need. The word motivation is used to describe the things that motivate people, the process through which a goal satisfies a need, and the social process by which a manager seeks to influence the performance of a subordinate to increase productivity. Motivation is a key aspect of hospitality management and one of the mechanisms for tackling the high levels of labor turnover within the industry in developed countries.

The academic discussion of motivation has been dominated by a dichotomy between the study of the things that motivate – content theories – and the process by which people are motivated – process theories. Content theories are Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory. Process theories of motivation seek to explain the reason why people might be motivated and the individual differences evident in people’s choices of goals and behaviors, rather than identifying the things that are motivators. Examples are theories such as Equity Theory, Expectancy Theory, and Goal-Setting Theory all of which seek to describe the cognitive processes that people follow in evaluating motivational drives. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)


night audit during the night audit, financial activities are used to review and check the accuracy and reliability of the hotel’s front office financial transactions. The night audit occurs during the last shift that begins at night and ends early in the morning, called the graveyard shift. A special desk clerk called the night auditor performs the night audit.

The night audit function can be described in a series of steps that encompass the night audit. The basic steps of the night audit are as follows:

- Complete outstanding posting and reconcile front desk discrepancies.

- Reconcile departmental activities.

- Verify room rates and post-room and tax.

- Prepare cash receipts for deposit.

- End the day by clearing out the day’s activities and backing up the system.

- Prepare the night audit reports

One report in particular, called the Manager’s Daily Report or just the Daily, is a snapshot or financial picture of all hotel revenue and operation for the previous day. (Ibid)

no-show This refers to people who have made a reservation with a hotel but fail to show up on the day of arrival or have not cancelled the reservation. No-shows create a problem for the hotel in that it makes it difficult for them to maximise their occupancy. It represents a loss of revenue for the hotel. However, guests who have guaranteed their reservation (either by paying a deposit or giving credit card information) and failed to show up on the day of arrival will be charged for the first night of the reservation. Most hotels calculate the percentage of no-shows to help make decisions on when (or if) to sell rooms to walk-in guests particularly in busy periods. Different types of travellers – corporate, group, or pleasure – have varying no-show rates. (Ibid)

nouvelle cuisine a French term meaning ‘new cookery’ which is a culinary movement that owed its momentum to two food critics, Gault and Millau, in the early 1970s. Practitioners of nouvelle cuisine revised much of the classic food preparation methods by doing away with complicated preparations, overly rich sauces which masked the true flavour of food, rigid recipe formulae, and pretentious and elaborate rituals and service arrangements.

To counter the rigidity and obsolescence of some of classical cuisine’s repertoire and to counter an increasing use of processed foods, nouvelle practitioners embraced authenticity and simplicity in preparation and cooking methods; freshness of ingredients; lightness and use of natural flavours; greatly reduced use of fat; doing away with flour-based sauces; use of rapid cooking methods, natural flavourings, grilling, steaming, and slow cooking; doing away with elaborate garnishing; and use of natural juices, stocks, and essences to make sauces. (Ibid.)


on change status the status of a hotel room which indicates that the room is dirty and needs to be cleaned by the housekeeping staff. At check-out along with settling the guest account, the front desk agent must change the status of the guest-room from occupied to on change, or a room from which the guest has checked out but is not ready for the next arrival or is ready for cleaning, and notify the housekeeping department of the departure. With an integrated property management system, departure notification may be forwarded to housekeeping automatically. Because the room is not available until housekeeping is finished with it, the on change status is typically for a short of a time as possible. Thus, an effective interaction between the front office and housekeeping is critical. Housekeeping and the front office must inform each other of changes in a room’s status. (Ibid)


petit four a tiny fancy cake/cookie, biscuit or sweet which is normally served after the meal. In French, it literally means ‘small/little oven’. Petit fours are complimentary and normally served in fine dining restaurants.

personal selling principles a set of eight principles that professionals sales representatives (sales reps) follow which guide their actions:

1. Prospecting and qualifying: This step includes the work done to uncover potential customers (prospecting) who may have the need and the ability to enter a contract and to pay for the product or service (qualifying) that the sales rep offers.

2. Pre-approach: The pre-approach requires the sales rep to gather as much information about the customer, including the ‘decision-maker’ in the household or firm, before setting up a meeting with the customer.

3. Approach: The approach step occurs when initial contact is made with the customer.

4. Presentation/demonstration: This step occurs when the sales rep meets with the customer to present the actual product.

5. Negotiation: The negotiation step occurs once a formal proposal is made. Most sales involve some discussion or alteration to the original proposal.

6. Overcoming objections: The customer often raises objections or questions during the approach, presentation/demonstration, or negotiation phases of sale. The experienced sales rep will use a variety of techniques to undercover, and then remove overcome or address, each objection.

7. Closing: A typical proposal for services is ‘closed’ when the customer says ‘yes’ and signs the proposal, thereby creating a contract.

8. Follow-up/account maintenance: Truly professional sales reps know that it is important to follow-up with the customer shortly after the sale is completed, both to address any lingering doubts or ‘buyer’s remorse’ that the customer may experience as well as to uncover any misunderstandings. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

plate service and silver service Plate service is a type of service in which the food is plated in the kitchen and served to the guest on the plate. This often referred to as ‘American’ service or Service L’assiette. For silver service the food is first presented on serving dishes, which may or may not be silver nowadays, to the guest and is then portioned and transferred from a serving dish onto the plate in front of the guest by using a service spoon and fork, which is commonly referred to as the service gear. This style is also known as ‘Russian’ service if the portioning is performed by the food server or ‘English’ service if the maitre d’hôtel assists. Often, however, a combination of the two techniques can be used. The main food item, for example meat, can be portioned onto a plate in the kitchen and served using the plate service method and the accompaniment can then be served at the table using the silver service technique. (Ibid.)


quick service restaurant what the restaurant industry calls a quick service restaurant (QSR) the rest of the world refers to as fast food. The food itself is not fast; it is the service that adds the quickness, generally taking less than five minutes from the time an order is placed until it is presented to the dinner. Early restaurants in this segment included the dining cars on USA transcontinental railroad trains during the end of the nineteenth century. When retired, these cars became urban diners, where short-order cooks were masters at fixing meals quickly. Then in 1922, the Ingram family created a collection of small hamburger stands called White Castle. The McDonald’s brothers experimented during the late 1940s in streamlined mass production of hamburgers which created a new hybrid form for restaurants, one that also required the customer to provide a significant involvement in his or her own ‘quick’ service. (Ibid.)


resident manager a title that was historically given to the senior management representative who actually resided on property. In today’s hotel environment there has been a movement away from live-in status. The title however has remained, and is most often given to the individual recognized as the assistant general manager of the property. The term resident manager is used to describe the person who acts on behalf of the general manager in his/her absence and sometimes resides 24/7 on the hotel property. The general manager may promote any executive to relieve the general manager of some operational duties; however, a resident manager may take on these duties without being relieved of her/his regular departmental responsibilities. Additional responsibilities of the resident manager may include representing the general manager on various hotel interdepartmental committees, and taking responsibility for important special projects such as major hotel renovations, VIP guests, or operating reports that require in-depth analysis for the regional or perhaps corporate offices. (Ibid)

role playing and simulations an interactive training technique in which participants experience real or exaggerated workplace situations involving the re-enactment of certain parts or roles. This training technique is particularly effective for practicing and developing interpersonal skills such as hospitality employees appropriately responding to guest requests or complaints. In that employees assume the roles of guests, as well as workers, this technique helps in building empathy toward guest needs and perceptions. Simulations also involve interactive training techniques in which there is a scaled-down enactment of reality. Typically this training approach utilizes technology such as CD-ROMs or the Internet. Simulations offer many benefits including providing a realistic learning experience that enhances the transfer of learning to the workplace. The duplication of the working environment also allows for training not to interrupt business operations. Many hotels now have simulated front office training programs involving computer applications in which employees are trained in the process of rooming or checking-out a guest. (Ibid.)

rooms, types of the following are some of the common terms used in relation to room types:

– Adjacent rooms: Rooms that are close to each other (e.g. across the hall). This type of room is possibly suitable for families.

– Adjoining rooms: Two rooms beside each other with a common wall but they do not have a connecting door between them. This type of room is possibly suited for families.

– Connecting rooms: Two rooms beside each other with a common wall and with a connecting door between them, which allows access to each room without the use of a public corridor. Also known as communicating rooms. This type of room is possibly suitable to a family with young children.

– Double: This type of room may have one or two people in it. It may have two singles in the room or one double bed in the room. In American terminology this can also be referred to as a twin.

– Double-double: A room that has two double beds in it. One or more people can be accommodated in this room type.

– En suite: A room that has bathroom facilities included within.

– Family room: a room that can accommodate a family. Can be a double-double, a triple, a quad, or a suite. It depends on the number of people being accommodated. Family rooms can get a child’s cot or a Z-bed added.

– Junior suite: A room that has a sitting/living area and a bed. The sleeping area can be separate from the sitting/living area but this is not always the case.

– King: A room that has a king size bed. One or two people can be accommodated in this room type.

– Mini suite: Same as junior suite above.

– Quad: A room that can be assigned to four people. It may have two or more beds (e.g. double-double).

– Queen: A room that has a queen size bed, which can accommodate one or more people.

– Single: A room that is assigned to one person. It may have one or more beds in it.

– Studio: A single or double room with a studio bed. A studio bed usually converts to a couch during the day. In a studio room there may also be an additional bed.

– Suite: A room that has one or more bedrooms and a living room. All of these rooms are connected.

– Triple: A room that can accommodate three people. It may have two or more beds in it.

– Twin: A room that has two or more beds and may accommodate one or more people. (Ibid.)


saignant French derived term for ‘rare’ (meat doneness).

service charge not to be confused with tips. Service charge is an extra charge for service with which the waiters are paid.

service gear a large spoon and fork (held together in one hand) for serving food or arranging it onto a plate.

silver service see plate service

skipper a guest who leaves without paying. Another term would be ‘walk-out’.

smorgasbord service a type of food service which is similar to buffet service except that the quests are allowed to serve themselves from the smorgasbord. Also, a true smorgasbord comprises dishes from Scandinavian countries and features hot and cold seafood delicacies, which are often smoked or pickled. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

sommelier literally French for ‘butler’. A sommelier is primarily understood as a wine waiter / wine steward. The specific role of a sommelier varies according to the establishment.


table d’hôte The literal interpretation of the French term ‘table d’hôte’ is ‘table or offering of the host’. It seems from a bygone period when nobility and people of means entertained their guests in their homes (see also Prix fixe). A contemporary table d’hôte or ‘set’ menu offers a fixed price for a limited number of courses and dishes. It can also be offered for a set dining period (e.g. lunch). Table d’hôte menus change daily, weekly, or even monthly, and they may be used in rotation, as they are for cycle menus in on-site foodservice. Table d’hôte menus offer a complete meal of three or more courses with or without a choice of dishes in each course. Guest usually pay full price for all courses whether or not they consume all of them.

Some foodservice operators who offer special gourmet table d’hôte menus for events such as Christmas dinner or wedding banquets require a deposit when making reservations. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

tableau de bord a management control system that has been used in French enterprises for more than 45 years. Tableau de Bord literally means ‘dashboard’ or ‘instrument panel’ and was developed to monitor the progress of the business and, where necessary, take corrective action. The approach entails three-dimensional communication between mangers, peers, and subordinates and is described as being ‘nested’ because of the high interaction between different levels of responsibility. The main objective is to give managers certain key parameters to support their decision-making. It does not give a major importance to accounting-based information and is equally important to use operational indicators with the financial indicators. Additionally, the reporting frequency is not limited to a specific accounting cycle; information is provided as per decision-makers’ requirements. (Ibid.)

tipping tips are voluntary payments made to service providers after they have delivered a service product. In American restaurants, it is customary to tip a waiter or waitress 15-20 percent of the check amount. These tips amount to approximately $20 billion a year and represent nearly all of US waiters’ and waitresses’ take-home pay. Even in countries with less generous tipping norms, tips often make up a substantial portion of servers’ incomes. Thus, tipping is an important issue to restaurant servers around the globe. Tipping is also a concern of restaurant managers as well, since it affects servers’ attitudes and behaviors as well as customers’ dining experiences. Thus, it should be managed properly to maximise employee motivation and customer satisfaction. Tipping also affects restaurants’ legal responsibilities with respect to income and social security taxes, therefore it needs to be carefully monitored and recorded by managers. (Ibid.)

turndown service this is when housekeeping enters the guest’s room and prepares the bed and the bedroom (drawing the curtains, for example) for the night. It might also involve placing a chocolate or mint on the bed/pillow. Some hotels can have some very elaborate turndown services. (Ibid.)


understay this refers to a guest who leaves the hotel prior to the departure date that they had originally indicated. It is also known as early departure or curtailment. Pleasure travellers may find their tourist attraction less interesting than anticipated. Urgent business may require the corporate client to return to the office sooner than expected. Like overstays, this situation has to be monitored especially in periods when the hotel is busy. Understays create a situation where the hotel is left trying to sell a room that had previously been reserved and represents a loss of revenue. Understays are lost revenue in that the hotel had not anticipated the departure and thus may be unable to sell the room to another guest to recoup the revenue. To minimize understays upon check in a guest is often asked to initial the departure date and thus may be charged for an early departure. (Ibid)

upscale restaurants the most traditional sector of the restaurant and foodservice industry is fine dining. Historically, the idea of an upscale restaurant (fine dining) included certain key organizing principles: efficiency in the production of freshly prepared food and professionalism in service. Prices are typically the highest of any segment, because the food is almost exclusively ‘hand-made’, not unlike a Rolls Royce automobile or a man’s tailored suit. Fine dining is defined by having a well-trained and professional staff of waiters, usually including a dining room managed by someone in the role of Maitre d’ Hotel. This type of restaurant will almost always have an extensive wine list, as well as a full range of other alcoholic beverages. Meals are most often created by a culinary artist called an executive chef with dishes best described as consisting of elaborate and freshly prepared food. The décor and ambiance of the restaurant is usually distinguishable with a setting to enhance the dining experience. (Ibid.)


waiter’s friend a bottle opener with a corkscrew and a small knife (to cut through the foil on a wine bottle). Laguiole produces the best (and most expensive). My maître d’ used to joke that there are two things one should never give away: your spouse and your waiter’s friend.

walk-in a person who arrives at a lodging facility without a reservation. Walk-in is an excellent opportunity to increase sales and occupancy. Walk-in guests take more time to check-in because all the information that is usually taken during the reservation process needs to be obtained at check-in. The walk-in guest is also an excellent opportunity to practice up-selling and maximizing potential revenue for the property. A person who says they have a reservation but cannot be found would also be treated as a walk-in. (Pizam & Holcomb, 2008)

walking the guest When a guest arrives at a lodging facility with a guaranteed reservation and there are no rooms available, this is a direct result of the hotel overbooking its rooms. Overbooking is a common hotel practice to cover for no-show guests. When the guest is walked, they should be sent to a similar lodging facility at the expense of the faculty that did not honor the reservation. The guest should be given free transportation to the facility and one free long-distance phone call to notify someone of the change in where they will be staying. If the guest had a reservation for more than one night, every effort should be made to move the person back to the property the next day. The key to minimizing the negative impact of walking a guest is preparation. The front desk should make arrangements at a similar property prior to the guest’s arrival and messages should be forwarded to the displaced guest. (Ibid.)


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Teaching Hospitality English

  • ISBN: 9781370319398
  • Author: PJ Huwyler
  • Published: 2016-11-04 16:50:40
  • Words: 26084
Teaching Hospitality English Teaching Hospitality English