I was at a cafe just yesterday and the waitress asked me: “Were you after a coffee?”
Then her colleague came a few minutes later and asked me: “Were you after some food as well?”
You can see they used ‘were‘ here when asking me what I’d like to order. In short, past forms can be used as a polite way of making a request or ordering:
eg “Were you interested in our lunch menu?”
You yourself might say: “I was wondering if you do smoothies?”
“What Are You After Today?”
The word ‘after’ here is used to mean ‘looking for.’ I believe ‘after’ is used more in this way in the UK and Australia than the USA (if you’re in the USA, let me know if they say anything different).
You can use ‘after’ just like in the following examples:
What are you after? = What are you looking for/What do you want? You hear this sometimes in shops.
I’m just after a coffee, thanks
Were you after anything in particular?
Do you have any favourite phrases that you’ve heard in cafes in your town? If so, please add them below.
Here are a few more. If you’re in an English-speaking country, see if you can use a few of these today!
Kicking Things Off
Hey how’s it going?
How are ya?
How’s your day been?
Have you had a good day?/Had a good day?
Are you having a good day?
In an English-speaking country these kinds of questions are part of the social transactions that go on in society, which might be different to where you live. Of course there will be slight differences depending on which city you’re in.
Talking About The Day
Great day out isn’t it?
Glad the sun’s out at last.
Did you catch/see the big match?
Glad (the Hawks) won//Shame about (the Swans)
So how was your weekend?
So what are your plans for this evening?
Small talk is a normal thing in English-speaking countries. However, if you’re not used to it, you can just mention how nice the weather is or say something about the football or anything else which is in the news. I included the questions about your plans because I’ve been asked that sometimes in Melbourne. In the Czech Republic, well, they just don’t ask.
Asking You What You Want
Were you after a coffee?
What can I get you?
Just a coffee today?
Were you looking to eat as well?
Can I bring you a menu?
I’ll just grab a coffee, thanks
Can I have a latte?
Could I just get a short black, please?
Sorry there seems to be a problem with..
Sorry, this seems a bit off (if something such as milk is ‘off’ it is no longer fresh, and tastes bad)
Sorry, could I get another one?
Sorry, I ordered a (latte) but this is a (cappuccino)
Responding To Your Complaint
Sorry about that..
Sorry, let me fix that right up for you.
Let me bring you another one.
I’ll just bring you another one.
I’m afraid there’s not a lot I can do because..
What I can do for you is…
Paying And Leaving
So how was (the latte/your meal)? – Quite often a waiter will ask you how your meal or drink was. Sometimes it’s just a polite question and they expect you to say ‘good, thanks’ 🙂
Could I get the bill?
That comes to $10 thanks
Thanks a lot, have a great day
Catch you later!
Inviting Your Friend
I’ll get these.
Oh, please let me get these.
It’s my pleasure.
It’s on me.
Other Phrases And Vocabulary
Can I get an extra shot in my latte..? = An extra amount of coffee
What time does the kitchen close? = What time do you stop cooking?
What flavour would you like, strawberry, chocolate or vanilla?
Do we need to order at the bar or is there table service? – In many cafes in the English-speaking world you order at the bar and then the waiting staff will bring your order to you. Alternatively you might even have to collect your order at the bar.
Is it gluten-free? – A new trend in Australia is for some people to buy products which are gluten-free
I’m lactose-intolerant – This means you can’t have milk products
I’m allergic to..(nuts)
Can we smoke? Could I have an ashtray?
To have here or to go? – In Australia we say ‘to take away’