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Hotel and Restaurant Employment: Basic Spanish Phrases You Will Need

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: Rebecca Scudder • updated: 8/2/2012

The hotel and restaurant industry is vast and always expanding. Are you thinking of applying for a job there? Having knowledge of a foreign language, especially Spanish, can be very useful if you wish to work in that field.

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    The People Who Work There

    When you are seeking employment at a hotel or restaurant, it's important to know the proper name for people's job titles. As in any industry, the employees like to be referenced by the job titles they officially hold. If you are supervising specific categories of individuals, it's absolutely necessary to understand the Spanish names for the jobs people hold. Here are the job titles for some of the positions that may interest you:

    • cleaning staff - personal para limpieza
    • cooks - cocineros/cocineras
    • dishwashers - lavaplatos
    • kitchen staff - personal para la cocina
    • laundry workes - lavanderos/lavanderas
    • chef - el cocinero/la cocinera principal

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    Useful Expressions

    You need certain basic words and phrases to be able to communicate with your employer, your Spanish-speaking co-workers, and your customers and hotel guests. Knowing the right vocabulary will ensure that both you and the other party understand the information that is necessary to carry out the job not only correctly, but also efficiently and safely.

    Armed with some useful phrases, and making a conscientious effort to learn more while you are on then job, you will develop a stronger working relationship with your employer and all those involved.

    Communicating effectively will remove misunderstandings which can lead to bad feelings and unfortunate mishaps. At this stage of your Spanish studies, you should be familiar with basic vocabulary relating to the industries, including numbers from 1 to 1,000.You will know how to describe, for example, a five star hotel – un hotel de cinco estrellas- and you can say that the hotel has four hundred guest rooms - cuatrocientas habitaciones para huéspedes.

    Here are some more useful expressions:

    • A garage with three- hundred parking spaces: Un garaje con trescientos espacios para estacionamiento
    • Our guests expect courteous service: Nuestros huéspedes exigen servicio con cortesía
    • efficient service: servicio eficiente
    • clean rooms: habitaciones limpias
    • good food: comida buena
    • privacy: privacidad
    • VIP service: servicio especial

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    Helpful Instructions

    • Help me - Ayúdeme
    • Help him - Ayúdelo
    • Help them - Ayúdelos
    • Help us - Ayúdenos
    • Do it like this - Hágalo así
    • Do not do it like that - No lo haga así
    • Watch me - Míreme
    • Leave it like that - Déjelo asi
    • Show me - Muéstreme
    • Tell me - Dígame

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    Expressions About Safety

    Safety is an important watchword in any industry. Memorize the following phrases to ensure the safety of your co-workers and others.

    • Safety/security - la seguridad
    • Danger - ¡Peligro!
    • Do not touch that. - No toque eso
    • Be careful - ¡Tenga cuidado!
    • Careful, it’s hot! - ¡Atención/Cuidado, esta caliente!
    • Careful, it’s heavy. - ¡Atención/cuidado, es pesado!

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