Phrases for service workers

I know there are guidebooks that have phrases for customers to use in restaurants, but I’m looking for the reverse – phrases for servers to use. What do people say, besides いらっしゃいませ, when you’re working with customers?
I would also settle for a Lawson’s training video… though not this one:


After the customer orders something: 畏まりました (かしこまりました) = certainly/thank you for your order
When the server brings the food: お待たせしました (おまたせしました) = thank you for waiting/enjoy your food

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It has been many years since I worked as a waitress in Japan, but I remember that there was a lot of 敬語

何名様ですか - How many people in you party?
ご注文はお決まりですか - Are you ready to order?
少々お待ちください - Just one moment
お待たせいたしました - Thank you for waiting

This Berlitz blog has some good examples - although it’s written to teach Japanese speakers the equivalent English vocabulary and phrases.


Query: how do you ask something like “would you like to sit in a smoking or non-smoking area?”

I went to a びっくりドンキー famiresu basically immediately after arriving in Japan on my previous trip last year, and the waitress greeted us at the door with a fairly long string of Japanese which went completely over my tired head, but I thought I caught 喫煙 and/or 禁煙 in there somewhere, so I replied 禁煙ください. She didn’t particularly seem to bat an eye at that, so it was probably the correct response, but in hindsight, it felt a bit too long to be just “smoking or non-smoking?”

Japanese bookstores often have a fairly substantial set of shelves on 敬語 usage, this is something that Japanese people have to work at Just a quick search on amazon reveals a lot of books.

I rather like the look of this one

“Fighting Honorifics - The weapons of Work”

And of course you can get a book where Doraemon will teach you 敬語, because it is possible to get Doraemon to teach you absolutely everything.


おタバコはお吸いになられますか? Do you smoke?
吸いません。禁煙でおねがいします。No we don’t smoke. A non-smoking table please.

(I copied this from the Berlitz Blog in my post above).

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I worked at Lawson and Costco Japan (which is not exactly known for keigo excellency, but well) during college.

The other major one that no one said is またお越しくださいませ

After that it starts becoming quite specific, like Costco’s 社員証のご提示をお願い致します or レシートを拝見しております。ご協力お願い致します。

But other than the set phrases, just put everything into passive, throw some お and ご here and there and hope for the best. Works 95% of the time.


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