National Waiters Day

National Waiters Day is a holiday that’s observed annually on May 16th and honors the men and women who work in diners, bars, restaurants, or sometimes in people’s homes to bring them food and drink as requested. Often known as food runners, these professionals ensure 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, and they are frequently dependent on tips to earn a living wage. That’s why it’s important for all of us to take the time to show them some appreciation (and preferably a generous 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 either. What did exist were taverns and inns across Europe. In Austria and Germany, these establishments served sausages, pottages, and brewed wine, while in France, soups and stews made 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 today to serve patrons. Sure, there were servants known simply as “slaves” or sometimes “wenches,” but they normally didn’t receive 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 become a form of entertainment. It was during this time that the role of the waiter came into prominence.

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

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

It didn’t matter if the employees were maître d’s, waiters, bartenders, or busboys. They all deserved credit for the hard work they put into making the restaurant a success. This holiday has since spread beyond the borders of the UK and is now celebrated around the world.

Observing National Waiters Day

Okay, anyone and everyone who eats at a restaurant at any time during the rest of the year should take the time to celebrate this holiday. This can be done by showing 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 (2024)
May 16 Thursday
Next year (2025)
May 16 Friday
Last year (2023)
May 16 Tuesday
Work & Occupation