It is difficult to get a job as a foreign student in South Korea. There are all kinds of visa restrictions, and a lot of managers just don’t want to deal with a foreign employee – more paperwork. However, you are most likely to find a welcoming position working as a waitress in South Korea. Being a waitress will put some extra cash in your pocket, but you can’t get away with not knowing at least basic Korean. And so, without further ado, let’s learn some waitress vocab!
As a foreign student living in Korea and wanting to get a job for some extra cash. It is difficult to find a job, and even more so if your Korean language skills are so-so.
In my case, when I landed my very first job in Korea, as a waitress, I totally panicked. I did not know how to talk with the customers or what I should say to my coworkers. Therefore, I went to the internet in search of help and realized that there are little to no tips for foreigners in this specific job.
Now, almost a year later, I am a bit more confident in my skills. I gathered the sentences I use the most and decided to share them to help others who may need them. It is not perfect but these phrases have saved my life more than once.
Eoseo-O-sae-yo. X -ib-ni-da
Hello, Welcome to X
몇 분 이세요?
Myeot boon e-say-yo.
How many people are in your party?
여기 앉아 주세요
Yogi an-ja ju-sae-yo.
You can take a seat here.
편하신데 앉아 주세요.
Pyeon-ha-shin-dae an-ja ju-sae-yo.
Sit anywhere you’d like.
메뉴판 여기에 있습니다
Menu-pan Yo-gi-eh iss-seub-ni-da
Here’s the menu.
Can I take your order?
X분 걸릴건데 괜찮습니까?
Xboon kol-lil-kon-dae Kwen-chan-seub-ni-kka?
It will take X minutes, is that ok?
죄송한데 오늘 X 없습니다
chwae-song-han-dae o-neul X ob-seum-ni-da
Sorry, but we ran out of X for today.
Sometimes the customer doesn’t know what to order and you may be asked what is popular or sells the most.
I recommend X
X 인기가 많습니다.
X Is popular
저는 X을 좋아합니다.
Jeo-neun X -eul joh-a-hab-ni-da.
I like X
Same as the previous one, when I get asked what is good at the restaurant I like to tell my personal recommendation of the menu.
The food has arrived.
Often, the food can be hot, or the table can be crowded. At many restaurants, people say this phrase as they put the food down to announce their presence and reduce accidents.
It is hot.
X 더 드릴까요?
Would you like some more?
다드신거 가져가도 될까요?
da-deu-sin-geo ga-jyeo-ga-do doel-kka-yo?
Can I clean up your empty plates?
주방 마감 할건데 더 필요한거 있으세요?
ju-bang ma-gam hal-geon-de deo pil-yo-han-geo iss-eu-se-yo?
The kitchen is going to close, do you need anything else?
Do you need a receipt?
Was the meal okay?
I’ll go to the bathroom and come back.
X주문했는데 아직 나오지 않았습니다.
X Ju-mun-het-neun-dae a-jik na-o-ji an-ass-seub-ni-da.
They ordered X but it hasn’t come out yet.
For more tips, check out this video of Talk to Me in Korean. It is useful in some ways, although when I tried to use them in real life, I was told it didn’t sound natural. It is useful in the sense of combining it with the Korean used in the region you are in. In my case, I had to mix it with some Busan dialect.
If your Korean is a bit basic like mine or intermediate yet with some difficulties. But you want to get a part-time job as a student. I recommend checking out the international areas of your city or the restaurants owned by foreigners.
Ask coworkers for tips and also pay attention to the waiters you encounter when eating out, take notes, and listen carefully for the expressions they use often.
What other tips do you know to practice or study Korean? Or if you have also worked in the service industry in Korea, what can you share with us to improve your skills?
Looking for higher-paying part-time jobs in South Korea? Click Here to learn about working in Korea’s traditional markets!