How To Teach: How to Behave in a Restaurant

functional life skills how to teach life skills special education teachers teacher experience transition May 09, 2022
Importance of Having Manners When Eating at a Restaurant
Besides the grocery store, restaurants may be the community environment your students will visit the most. Therefore, it is important that they know what restaurant manners are expected of them in that setting. There are endless unwritten rules of being in a restaurant, from ordering to getting your drink to sitting and eating to cleaning up and leaving that need to be taught! Restaurant etiquette or manners is a must!
-What behaviors to have when ordering
-How to use the expected amount of dining supplies
-How to talk at your table
-Expected behavior when entering and leaving
Why Focus On These Skills
Every meal should be enjoyed and when a student enters a restaurant space everyone around them wants the same thing. Explicitly teaching them how to interact and what is appropriate being both a diner and a customer in a space will help them to have positive experiences in all restaurant settings.
When To Teach
If you can work it in your schedule, you should pre-teach as many restaurant manners as you can before your class ventures to a restaurant. If this isn’t possible, then be sure to help students recall their most recent restaurant experience when going through the lesson so they can determine if they met expectations or if they could improve the next time they go out to eat.
Consider teaching Ordering at a Restaurant and Sit Down Restaurant and Tip around the same time.

I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!


Lesson Objective

Students will enter a restaurant and identify and maintain expected behavior for the environment.

Students will eat a meal at a restaurant and identify and maintain expected behavior for the environment.

Students will exit a restaurant after a meal and identify and maintain expected behavior for the environment.


Lesson Vocabulary

Advocate, attention, eat, enter, exit, manners, quiet, ready, refill, wait


Resource Perks

  • Pre and Post assessment

  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)

  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills

  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)

  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment

  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)

  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)

  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)

  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics

  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement

  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills

  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting

  • Word search of key vocabulary terms

  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics


Ultimate Goal

Helping students to see the 3 different parts of their dining experience may allow them to see when to execute different behaviors. If they can determine when different behaviors and expectations will occur throughout their meal, they may be more successful and have another positive experience in the community.


Link sto Curriculum

Restaurant Manners Lesson Unit

Restaurant Meal Budget Lesson Unit

Order Food at a Restaurant Lesson Unit

Sit Down Restaurant and Tip Lesson Unit

Going to a Restaurant Lesson Unit Bundle

Life Skills Curriculum Bundle

Restaurant Manners Life Sikills Lesson Unit


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