What do you say when you order food at a restaurant?

This post is not quite on my usual topic. It’s about a little linguistic issue that’s been bothering me of late – though it’s been around for a little while now. It’s this …

Cake with Cream

Albion Hotel, Braidwood

When you order food at a restaurant or cafe, what do you say? “May I have a long black please” or “I’d like the steak, medium rare, thanks”? Both of these sound reasonable to me, with the former being more formally correct. I did a little Google search, as you do, and I found English lessons for ordering in restaurants. At maltalingua.com, the recommendation is “I’d like the …” or, perhaps, “I’ll have the …”. Another site, elementalenglish.com, also suggests “I’ll have the …”. A third site, speakenglish.co.uk, suggests “I’ll have the …” too. “I’ll have the …” sounds a fair enough response when a server asks you what you’d like from a menu, though I’d prefer “I’d like the …”. But …

Where do the expressions that I seem to be hearing frequently now come from? The expressions I’m talking about are “Can I get …”, “Can I grab …”, or, less common, “I’ll take …”. Who is going to do the “getting”, “grabbing”, and “taking”? The customers? No, they are going to be sitting at the table or standing at the counter waiting for the staff to bring the items to them. So, why this form of ordering? It sounds less polite to me (though tone of voice can modify this). Does it matter? Am I being too pedantic?