Restaurant Industry Resources Edizeven Blog

60 Spanish Terms Every Restaurant Kitchen Staff Must Know

You love working in the kitchen and you want to do your best to have a good relationship with your work team, but you are surrounded by Spanish-speaking cooks. It’s no secret that immigrants especially from Mexico are a big part of the hospitality industry in the US, and even more in restaurant kitchens. While English may be a second or third language for them, they know their craft! They can cook very well and that’s all that really matters.

I remember the story of a cook who said that one of his worst days at work was when one of his coworkers told him that the order should not have “cebolla” in it, he didn’t understand what that word meant and the customer sent the dish back. What a terrible situation! 

There is no doubt that in restaurants, the kitchen staff uses their own language to maintain good communication. Then, being empathetic with your Hispanic co-workers can be a solution to incorrect orders, miscommunication problems, and other problems caused by staff members who every day try to improve their English communication skills.

So, how about we walk through some of the most useful Spanish terms that you can easily learn to help your restaurant kitchen co-workers feel more comfortable working with you?

Here are 60 key restaurant Spanish words and phrases that will help you improve communication with your team:

Essential Spanish words and phrases

1. Hola – Hi/Hello

2. Por favor – Please

3.    Gracias – Thank you

4. Perdón – Sorry

5. Espera – Wait

6. Listo – Ready

7.    Rápido – Quickly  

8.    Aquí – Here

9.    Atrás de ti – I’m behind you

10. Limpio – Clean

11. Sucio – Dirty

12. Caliente – Hot

13. Cuidado – Careful, be careful 

14. La alergia – Allergy

15. Desayuno – Breakfast

16. Almuerzo – Lunch

17. Cena – Dinner

18. Pásame ___ – Pass me ___

19. Donde está ___ – Where is ___

20. Ahí viene – It’s coming

21. Se acabó ___ – We’re out of ___

22. Me tengo que ir – I have to leave

23. Suelo mojado –  Wet floor

Some useful verbs

If you are looking to give some instructions in the restaurant kitchen, these verbs will be very useful.

24. Preparar – to prepare

25. Cocinar – to cook

26. Freir – to fry

27. Cortar – to cut

28. Picar – to chop

29. Hervir – to boil

30. Hornear – to bake

31. Mezclar – to blend

32. Servir – to serve

Kitchen Utensils

Looking up the word for some ingredients and utensils can be tricky for your Spanish-speaking co-workers in your restaurant kitchen. Help them by recognizing some of these terms.

33. Olla – Pot

34. Sartén – Frying pan

35. Espátula – Spatula

36. Cuchillo – Knife

37. Cuchara – Spoon

38. Tenedor – Fork

Main Ingredients and Spices

39. Sal – Salt

40. Pimienta – Pepper

41. Perejil – Parsley

42. Albahaca – Basil

43. Canela – Cinnamon

44. Jengibre – Ginger

45. Cebolla – Onion

46. Ajo – Garlic

47. Tomate – Tomato

48. Zanahoria – Carrot

49. Harina – Flour

50. Fruta – Fruit

51. Verdura – Vegetable

52. Patata – Potato

53. Leche – Milk

54. Huevos – Eggs

55. Aceite de oliva – Oil


Various meat products

56. Carne de res – Beef

57. Pollo – Chicken

58. Carne de cerdo – Pork

59. Pescado – Fish

60. Mariscos – Seafood

If you are looking to create a comfortable work environment and a cohesive team, we recommend memorizing some of the above phrases and words to show empathy towards your staff.

Now that you’ve learned some Spanish terms, are you ready to use them with your employees in your restaurant kitchen? Struggling to hire restaurant staff? Let us help you out. Get Staffed, Guaranteed!