How to Order Take-Out in Japan (お持ち帰り) – Japanese Essentials
Looking to Order Takeout in Japan?
In Japan, many chain restaurants offer a takeout option on their menu. When almost everyone’s busy working, ordering takeout can be pretty convenient for the vast majority who’d like to grab a quick meal. In this article, we will learn how to order our food in a natural-sounding way.
I’d like Take-out!
持ち帰り translates to takeout. It comes from the verb 持ち帰る, meaning “to bring back” or “to carry home”.
The prefix お makes the noun sound more polite. As for the particle で, in this context, indicates a mean or a method. This particle literally translates to “by”, “with”, “by means of” or “in”. It implies that you make a choice from a series of options. Here, you’ve opted for a takeout instead of dining in at the restaurant. Adding “お願いします” makes you sound more polite. However, this phrase is often skipped by the Japanese themselves so time’s wasted when ordering food! Click here for more phrases that make you sound more polite!
What to Expect When Entering the Restaurant
When entering a restaurant you’ll often be asked:
いらっしゃいませ、こちらでお召し上がりですか。(Waiter: Welcome. Are you eating in?)
いらっしゃいませ、店内でお召し上がりですか。(Welcome. Would you like to eat in (the restaurant)).
召し上がり is a noun coming from the verb 召し上がる a very formal/honorific way to say “to eat”. Using honorifics is one of the ways staff show respect for the customer they are serving. Here again, お is added to the noun so as to sound more polite. If you are confused with the difference between お and ご, click here
How to Communicate In Japanese to Order Take-out
If you want to order a takeout you can answer the counter staff with a いいえ、お持ち帰りで（お願いします）(No, takeout please).
If you’d like to eat in instead, you can say はい、ここで (Yes, here) or はい、店内で (Yes, here).
At a fast food restaurant, the waiter might ask directly if you’re ordering takeout:
Waiter: Welcome, would you like a takeout?
You can then answer : はい、お持ち帰りで（お願いします）(Yes, takeout (please)).
The waiter will follow up asking you for your order: ご注文をどうぞ. (May I take your order?)*
*The literal translation would be closer to “place your order”. However, the phrase here is a polite way to ask if the customer is ready to order their food.
Ordering your food is the easy part. Even if you can’t really speak or read Japanese, simply point on the menu to indicate what you want. You can use the counter つ (ひとつ (one of…)、ふたつ (two of…) etc.) to indicate the amount you want. Sizes in Japan can also be known as エス (S for small), エム (M, medium) or エル (L, large).
Food Portion Sizes
Some restaurants might use the Japanese sizing system too:
Big Sizes: 大盛り
Regular Sizes: 普通 (normal) or 並盛り
Small Sizes: 少なめ (small) or ミニ (Mini)
Sounds simple, doesn’t it!
Waiter: May I take your order?
John: I’ll have a cheeseburger and a cola, please.
Waiter: What size would you like for the coke?
As the context matters a lot to the Japanese, sentences can often be omitted. For example, the waiter asked for the desired size of coke, without specifying it in the sentence. In this case, he merely mentioned “サイズは?” (Saizu wa?) which was only asking for the size. As such, the intonation is raised on the sentence’s ending and we’d assume that he’d be referring to the size of coke we’d like. Check out this blog for more food sizes in Japanese!
Check out some other commonly used words below!
- ホット ー Hot (for drinks)
- アイス ー Cold (for drinks)
- ポテトフライ ー French fries
- ケチャップ ー Ketchup
- マスタード ー Mustard
- ハンバーガー ー Hamburger
If you would like to find out more about how you can make a purchase in Japanese, check out this blog!
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