Skip to main content

Life Stories

Room Service Riddles: Hilarious Encounters with the Hotel Menu

This lesson is designed to build your critical-thinking skills in English as you read, listen, and answer different types of comprehension and discussion questions.

Pre-Listening Activities for Teachers

Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.

  1. Visual Activity: Display images related to hotel room service, such as fancy food plates, room service menus, hotel rooms, and hotel staff. Ask students to observe the images and make predictions about the story and the challenges the main character may face with room service.

  2. Discussion Activity: Divide students into small groups and provide them with a list of discussion questions related to hotel room service, such as “Have you ever ordered room service? What was your experience like?” or “What challenges do you think people might encounter when ordering room service in a luxury hotel?” Allow students to share their thoughts and engage in a verbal discussion.

  3. Vocabulary Matching Activity: Create a list of key vocabulary words related to the story, such as “room service,” “menu,” “front desk,” and “grilled cheese sandwich.” Write the definitions of these words on separate index cards. Distribute the definitions randomly among the students and ask them to match the vocabulary words with their corresponding definitions.

  4. Role Play Activity: Assign students different roles, such as hotel guests, hotel staff, or the main character from the story. Encourage them to act out various scenarios related to hotel room service, such as placing an order, dealing with a complaint, or recommending menu items. This hands-on activity will engage students kinesthetically and help them understand the challenges faced by the main character.

  5. Mind Mapping Activity: Provide students with a large sheet of paper. In the center of the page, write the topic “Hotel Room Service.” Ask students to brainstorm related ideas, challenges, and possible outcomes around this central topic. Encourage them to connect and organize their thoughts visually, creating a mind map representing their understanding of the topic.

room service


Listen and read the story and answer the questions. 


Ah, hotel room service – the pinnacle of luxury and convenience, unless you’re Steve.

Steve found himself in a fancy hotel in the heart of New York City, feeling overwhelmed and confused by the menu and the room service system. He decided to call the front desk for some help.

Steve: “Hello, this is Steve in room 1234. I’m having some trouble with the room service menu. Can you help me out?”

Front Desk: “Of course, sir,” replied the polite front desk attendant. “What seems to be the problem?”

Steve: “Well, I’m not sure what to order. Everything looks so fancy and expensive. Do you have anything simple and affordable?”

Front Desk: “Certainly, sir. We have a grilled cheese sandwich on our menu. It’s only $25.”

Steve: “$25 for a grilled cheese sandwich? Do you put gold flakes on it or something?”

Front Desk: “No, sir. But it is made with sourdough bread and organic cheese.”

Steve sighed and decided to give it a try. He placed his order and eagerly awaited his grilled cheese sandwich. After an hour, he called the front desk again.

Steve: “Hi, it’s Steve in room 1234. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich over an hour ago, and it still hasn’t arrived. Is everything okay?”

Front Desk: “I’m terribly sorry for the delay, sir. Let me check with the kitchen and see what’s going on.”

A few minutes later, the front desk attendant returned with some news.

Front Desk: “I’m sorry, sir, but the kitchen has run out of sourdough bread. We can offer you a regular bun instead. Is that okay?”

Steve was at a loss for words. All he wanted was a simple grilled cheese sandwich. That was it! With so much trouble for just a sandwich, he decided to cancel the order and go out for pizza instead.

So, what do we learn from this situation: Well, when in doubt, stick with pizza or bring your own bread.

Comprehension Questions: Self-Grading Quiz

Comprehension Questions in Text Format

1. What is Steve’s issue with the room service menu?
a) He can’t find anything he likes.
b) Everything is too fancy and expensive.
c) He doesn’t understand the language on the menu.
d) He can’t figure out how to order.

2. What does Steve order from the room service menu?
a) A hamburger
b) A grilled cheese sandwich
c) A steak
d) Fish and chips

3. Why does Steve call the front desk again after placing his order?
a) He wants to know the status of his order.
b) He wants to change his order.
c) He wants to complain about the price.
d) He wants to ask for a discount.

4. What is the reason for the delay in Steve’s order?
a) The kitchen is busy.
b) The hotel is short-staffed.
c) They ran out of sourdough bread.
d) Steve’s order was lost.

5. What does Steve decide to do instead of waiting for his order?
a) Order room service from a different restaurant
b) Cancel his order and go out for pizza
c) Ask for a refund
d) Complain to the hotel manager


  1. What is Steve’s issue with the room service menu? Answer: b) Everything is too fancy and expensive

Explanation: In the story, Steve finds the items on the room service menu to be too fancy and expensive. This is evident when he expresses his confusion about the high prices and the presence of extravagant ingredients.

  1. What does Steve order from the room service menu? Answer: b) A grilled cheese sandwich

Explanation: Steve decides to order a grilled cheese sandwich from the room service menu. This choice is mentioned in the story as he seeks something simple and affordable amidst the fancy options available.

  1. Why does Steve call the front desk again after placing his order? Answer: a) He wants to know the status of his order

Explanation: Steve calls the front desk again to inquire about the status of his order. This happens after a significant delay, as mentioned in the story. He wants to understand why it is taking so long for his grilled cheese sandwich to arrive.

  1. What is the reason for the delay in Steve’s order? Answer: c) They ran out of artisanal bread

Explanation: The story states that the reason for the delay in Steve’s order is that the kitchen ran out of artisanal bread. This leads to a change in the ingredients offered for his grilled cheese sandwich and ultimately results in Steve canceling his order.

  1. What does Steve decide to do instead of waiting for his order? Answer: b) Cancel his order and go out for pizza

Explanation: Frustrated with the delay and the change in ingredients for his grilled cheese sandwich, Steve decides to cancel his order and opt for going out to eat pizza instead. This choice is mentioned in the story as a humorous resolution to his room service woes.

Discussion Questions

Easy (Recall and Comprehend):

  1. Did Steve enjoy his experience with hotel room service? Why or why not?
  2. What did Steve decide to do instead of waiting for his order? Why do you think he made that choice?
  3. Can you think of any reasons why the hotel ran out of sourdough bread for Steve’s grilled cheese sandwich? How might they prevent this from happening in the future?

Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. How do you think the high prices of the items on the room service menu affected Steve’s perception of the hotel? Do you think luxury hotels should have affordable options for their guests?
  2. What challenges do you think hotel staff face in providing room service? How might they improve the overall experience for guests like Steve?
  3. Have you ever had a confusing or frustrating experience ordering food at a restaurant or hotel? How did you handle the situation, and what lessons did you learn from it?

Advanced (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. Discuss the concept of luxury and its relation to hotel room service. How do luxury hotels create an image of exclusivity and high-end experiences through their food offerings?
  2. In your opinion, what are some possible reasons why hotels charge high prices for basic food items like grilled cheese sandwiches? How does this pricing strategy impact guests’ perceptions and experiences?
  3. Reflect on the cultural differences that might exist in hotel room service experiences. How might the expectations and preferences of guests from different cultures influence their satisfaction with the service provided by luxury hotels?

    Class Activities

    These post-listening activities add visual (seeing), auditory (listening), kinesthetic (moving), and tactile (touching) elements to engage students in meaningful ways based on their learning styles.

    Visual Activity (Seeing):

    1. Create a Storyboard: Ask students to create a storyboard illustrating the key events and challenges faced by Steve during his room service experience. They can use drawings or images to depict each scene and include captions or speech bubbles to explain what is happening.

    Auditory Activity (Listening):

    1. Role-Play Dialogue: Divide students into pairs or small groups and assign them roles from the story, such as Steve, hotel staff, or other guests. Ask them to create a dialogue or skit based on a specific scenario, such as Steve complaining about the delay in his order and the hotel staff trying to resolve the issue. Encourage them to use appropriate tone and expressions to convey emotions effectively.

    Kinesthetic Activity (Moving):

    1. Room Service Obstacle Course: Set up a mini obstacle course in the classroom, including different stations representing challenges faced by Steve in the story (e.g., navigating a confusing menu, making a phone call, carrying a tray of food). Divide students into teams and have them navigate the obstacle course, taking turns to complete each task as quickly as possible. This activity will engage students physically and reinforce their understanding of the story.

    Tactile Activity (Touching):

    1. Menu Redesign: Provide students with materials such as paper, markers, and craft supplies. Ask them to create a tactile version of the room service menu that would be more user-friendly for guests like Steve. They can use textures, raised elements, or different materials to make the menu more accessible and engaging to the touch.

    Language Game

    Here’s a possible classroom language game based on the story and topic:

    Title: “Menu Madness”

    Objective: The objective of the game is to match hotel room service menu items with their corresponding descriptions or prices within a time limit to earn points and win the game.

    Materials Needed:

    1. Menu Cards: Prepare a set of menu cards with various hotel room service menu items written on them.
    2. Description Cards: Prepare a set of description cards with corresponding descriptions or prices for each menu item.
    3. Timer
    4. Scoreboard or scoring sheets

    Game Instructions:

    1. Divide the students into teams (two or more teams).
    2. Shuffle the menu cards and place them face down in a stack.
    3. Shuffle the description cards and place them face down in a separate stack.
    4. Each team selects a representative to start the round.
    5. Start the timer for a designated time (e.g., 1 minute).
    6. The representative from each team takes turns drawing one menu card and one description card from their respective stacks.
    7. The representative must quickly match the menu item with the correct description or price.
    8. If the representative makes a correct match within the time limit, their team earns a point.
    9. After each turn, place the matched menu card and description card aside.
    10. Repeat steps 6-9 for each representative on each team.
    11. Once the time limit is up, count the number of correct matches for each team and record their scores on the scoreboard or scoring sheets.
    12. Start a new round with new representatives from each team, and continue playing for a designated number of rounds.
    13. At the end of the game, tally up the scores from each round to determine the winning team with the highest overall score.


    • Increase the difficulty by adding more menu cards and description cards to the stacks.
    • Introduce bonus cards that allow teams to earn extra points or switch their menu items with other teams.
    • Create a timed challenge where teams have to match as many menu cards and description cards as possible within a set time, earning points based on their correct matches.

    Here are some possible menu cards and corresponding descriptions for the “Menu Madness” game:

    Menu Cards:

    1. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
    2. Caesar Salad
    3. New York Strip Steak
    4. Margherita Pizza
    5. Chocolate Lava Cake
    6. Club Sandwich
    7. Lobster Bisque
    8. Vegetable Stir-Fry
    9. Fruit Platter
    10. Chicken Alfredo Pasta

    Description Cards:

    1. A classic sandwich with melted cheese on toasted bread.
    2. A fresh salad with romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and Caesar dressing.
    3. A juicy steak served with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables.
    4. A traditional pizza topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
    5. A decadent dessert with a warm, gooey chocolate center.
    6. A triple-layered sandwich with layers of turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato.
    7. A creamy soup made with tender lobster meat and flavorful broth.
    8. A medley of assorted vegetables stir-fried in a savory sauce.
    9. A platter of sliced seasonal fruits, perfect for a refreshing snack.
    10. A pasta dish with creamy Alfredo sauce and grilled chicken.

    These cards can be mixed and matched during the game to create various combinations for the players to match. Feel free to add or modify the menu items and descriptions to suit the vocabulary and concepts you want to reinforce in the game.

    Different AI technologies, including ChatGPT and an AI voice generator, were used in a collaborative way to prepare the content for this lesson.
    Try More Free Listening at