Working as a Waitress in South Korea: Vocab

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 donโ€™t want to deal with a foreign employee โ€“ 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 canโ€™t get away with not knowing at least basic Korean. And so, without further ado, letโ€™s learn some waitress vocab!

Foreigner Working as a Waitress in South Korea

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.ย 

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.ย 

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.ย 

Letโ€™s start!

Waitress Vocab

Entering the Restaurant

์–ด์„œ์˜ค์„ธ์š”. X์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค
Eoseo-O-sae-yo. X -ib-ni-da
Hello, Welcome to X

๋ช‡ ๋ถ„ ์ด์„ธ์š”?
Myeot boon e-say-yo.
How many people are in your party?

์—ฌ๊ธฐ ์•‰์•„ ์ฃผ์„ธ์š”
Yogi an-ja ju-sae-yo.
You can take a seat here.

ํŽธํ•˜์‹ ๋ฐ ์•‰์•„ ์ฃผ์„ธ์š”.
Pyeon-ha-shin-dae an-ja ju-sae-yo.
Sit anywhere youโ€™d like.

๋ฉ”๋‰ดํŒ ์—ฌ๊ธฐ์— ์žˆ์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹คย 
Menu-pan Yo-gi-eh iss-seub-ni-da
Hereโ€™s the menu.


๋ญ ๋“œ๋ฆด๊นŒ์š”?
Meo teu-ril-kka-yo?
Can I take your order?

X๋ถ„ ๊ฑธ๋ฆด๊ฑด๋ฐ ๊ดœ์ฐฎ์Šต๋‹ˆ๊นŒ?
Xboon kol-lil-kon-dae Kwen-chan-seub-ni-kka?
It will take X minutes, is that ok?

์ฃ„์†กํ•œ๋ฐ ์˜ค๋Š˜ X ์—†์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค
chwae-song-han-dae o-neul X ob-seum-ni-da
Sorry, but we ran out of X for today.

Sometimes the customer doesnโ€™t know what to order and you may be asked what is popular or sells the most.

X๋ฅผ ์ถ”์ฒœํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.
-reul Chu-cheon-hab-ni-da.
I recommend X

X ์ธ๊ธฐ๊ฐ€ ๋งŽ์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.
In-gi-ga man-seub-ni-da
X Is popular

์ €๋Š” X์„ ์ข‹์•„ํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.ย 
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.ย 

Food Coming Out

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 ๋” ๋“œ๋ฆด๊นŒ์š”?
Deo Deu-ril-kka-yo?
Would you like some more?

๋‹ค๋“œ์‹ ๊ฑฐ ๊ฐ€์ ธ๊ฐ€๋„ ๋ ๊นŒ์š”?
da-deu-sin-geo ga-jyeo-ga-do doel-kka-yo?
Can I clean up your empty plates?

์ฃผ๋ฐฉ ๋งˆ๊ฐ ํ• ๊ฑด๋ฐ ๋” ํ•„์š”ํ•œ๊ฑฐ ์žˆ์œผ์„ธ์š”?
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?


์˜์ˆ˜์ฆ ํ•„์š”ํ•˜์„ธ์š”?
Yeong-su-jeung pil-yo-ha-say-yo?
Do you need a receipt?

์‹์‚ฌ๋ฅผ ๊ดœ์ฐฎ์•˜์Šต๋‹ˆ๊นŒ?
Siksa-reul Kwen-chan-ass-seub-ni-kka?
Was the meal okay?

Communicating with Coworkers

ํ™”์žฅ์‹ค ๊ฐ”๋‹ค์˜ฌ๊ฒŒ์š”
Hwa-jang-sil kat-da-ol-gae-yo
Iโ€™ll go to the bathroom and come back.

X์ฃผ๋ฌธํ–ˆ๋Š”๋ฐ ์•„์ง ๋‚˜์˜ค์ง€ ์•Š์•˜์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค.
X Ju-mun-het-neun-dae a-jik na-o-ji an-ass-seub-ni-da.
They ordered X but it hasnโ€™t come out yet.

Extra Tips

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 didnโ€™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.ย 

Extra Tips

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.ย 

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?ย 

Looking for higher-paying part-time jobs in South Korea? Click Here to learn about working in Koreaโ€™s traditional markets!