National Waiters Day

National Waiters Day is a holiday that’s observed annually on May 16th and honors the men and women who work at a diner, bar, restaurant, or sometimes in people’s homes to bring them food and drink as they request it. Sometimes known as food runners, these professionals make sure that food and drinks are brought out to patrons.

That money is collected for the meal, and that the tables are cleared properly to be ready for other customers. Their job often requires them to stand for long periods of time, and they are often dependent on tips to earn a living wage. And that’s why it’s important that all of us take the time to give them some appreciation (and preferably a fat tip) on this holiday.

The History Of National Waiters Day

Throughout most of the Middle Ages, restaurants didn’t exist, so waiters/waitresses didn’t exist. What did exist were taverns and inns that were located all across Europe. In Austria and Germany, these establishments served sausages, pottages, and brew wine, while in France soups and stews would make up the majority of their menus.

These establishments served common food that could be enjoyed by travelers, but there weren’t waiters as we know them to bring patrons their food. Sure, there were servants that were known simply as “slaves” or sometimes “wenches,” but they normally didn’t get paid a regular salary and were usually members of the family running the establishment.

It wouldn’t be until the 19th century that the concept of “dining out” would actually become something that people would do as a form of entertainment. It was during this time that the waiter came into prominence.

Over the past couple of hundred years, the duties of waiters may have changed slightly, but it has always included the delivery of food to a table and accepting payment on behalf of the restaurant.

National Waiters Day would begin as a holiday in the United Kingdom and it was created by the General Manager at Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the London Hilton, Fred Sirieix. He thought that it was important to celebrate the serving staff at the restaurant to ensure that everyone was appreciated for the work they did.

It didn’t matter if the employees were maitre-ds, waiters, bartenders, or busboys. They all deserved credit for the hard work they put into making the restaurant the success that it was. This holiday has since spread outside of the borders of the UK and is currently celebrated around the world.

Observing National Waiters Day

Okay, anyone and everyone who eats at a restaurant anytime during the rest of the year should take the time to celebrate this holiday. This can be done by showing some appreciation to a server and giving them a big tip. It can also be done by giving thanks to ALL servers across the world by using the hashtag #NationalWaitersDay.

When is it?
This year (2023)
May 16 Tuesday
Next year (2024)
May 16 Thursday
Last year (2022)
May 16 Monday
Work & Occupation