Empowering occupational therapy practitioners with a playbook of functional tasks to use with their geriatric clients

Takeout Menus

Takeout Menus

A few weeks ago, I had a colleague ask me how I came up with functional activities to do with my clients. I told her that I pay attention to the functional activities that I do myself, especially the ones that require a lot of cognitive work. For instance, have you ever tried to place a takeout order for a group of people with three different allergies or intolerances? One night, while I was attempting to do it myself, I realized that this would be a fantastic activity to do with clients.


Assess and develop executive functioning skills


Great for 1:1 treatment – Good for Group/Concurrent treatment

Time Frame

10-45 minutes

Materials Required

  • Menus
  • Magnifying glass
  • Calculator
  • Paper
  • Pencil


  • Gather takeout menus from the local area or from online


  1. Ask the client to select a takeout menu.
  2. Instruct the client to choose a meal for themselves including a drink, appetizer, entrée, and desert.
  3. Tell the client what you would like to order.
  4. Ask the client to calculate how much the food items cost.
  5. Ask the client to calculate the total that will be due, including tax and tip.

Special Notes

As part of this activity, the therapist could simulate having the client place a takeout order by calling someone else in the facility who is prepared to take the call.

This activity can be graded to increase the challenge by ordering for a larger group of people or by giving the client a budget. This activity could also be graded to include ordering for a party which requires dietary restrictions such as diabetic, cardiac, renal, gluten free, lactose intolerance, vegetarian or vegan, or texture restrictions such as puree, chopped, or soft foods.

This activity can be graded to reduce the challenge by simplifying the order or not requiring the client to calculate tax or a tip. If further downgrading is needed, the therapist can use the menu to ask the client simple questions to develop client’s ability to read and understanding the menu. Depending on the restaurant, simple questions could include:

  • “What flavors of ice cream are available for dessert?”
  • “How much does the cheapest appetizer cost?”
  • “Which of these is not on the menu? Soup, hamburger, or taco?”

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