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Celebrating a fantastic industry at National Waiters’ Day 2018

Posted on Thursday 17 May 2018

This week the 6th National Waiters' Day took place with support from hospitality businesses right across the UK. It's a national campaign which celebrates the food and service industry and is an event which everyone at Bunzl Lockhart is proud to support as a headline sponsor. It truly puts the spotlight on the dedication, skills and hard work of front of house staff, and showcases what a rewarding career the hospitality industry has to offer.

The inspiration behind the event

National Waiters' Day was founded by Fred Sirieix in 2012 and when talking about his thoughts on choosing a career in hospitality on the National Waiters' Day website:

"I was never interested in following a classic school curriculum and decided to join a catering college instead at 16 years old. The thing that attracted me the most towards the hospitality industry was that it was very different and I felt I was going to do a special-something that most people could not do… and I did! I love the fact that I can travel, work late, meet so many different exciting people and work in an industry where I am able to give pleasure to others, be creative and most importantly be myself."

"At 20 years old I arrived in the UK in 1992 and worked as a waiter for two years at La Tante Claire and Le Gavroche. From there my career took off because if you do well and show potential you get recommended to others. It has always been my philosophy to work with the best and to do my best always (it does rub off). I believe in hard work and in the beauty of discipline to achieve one's goal. There has never been a more exciting time to join the hospitality industry – there are opportunities everywhere for those who want them and those who are prepared to do what it takes. For me my job is not a job because I truly enjoy what I do and have tremendous fun and pleasure doing it."

The Waiters' Race

One of the highlights of National Waiters' Day is the race through Hyde Park. What's special about this event is how it brings together businesses and talented job seekers – with both a waiters' race and careers fair together. It's like watching a huge egg-and-spoon race, with a fun hospitality twist. Money raised from the event goes towards the fantastic Springboard Charity. We supply the engraved presentation salvers for the winners and provide all the bar trays for the waiters and waitresses to run with their drinks on. It's a fantastic spectacle to see so many waiters running through such an iconic London location.

Austin Ventour

We spoke to Austin Ventour, best known as a Waiter in Channel 4's First Dates, which also features Fred Sirieix. You can follow Austin on Twitter here.

Why is NWD important to the industry?

"It's fun! It brings all the budding waiters & waitresses out and gets them to race with each other, have some fun, and a bit of competition is always a good thing."

Any advice for people thinking about hospitality as a career?

"Yes, definitely be yourself. I think you need to follow your steps of procedure, but you always need to be at the top of your game, and always on the ball. You need to make sure you're being the best you can be."

And we guess this comes down to representing your establishment?

"Exactly, you need to make sure you're doing your job to the best of your ability. Because you're in front of people every shift, it differs from an office job for example, as you need a smile on your face every day. Even if you're hungover!"

Do you see many events like this within the industry?

"Fred (Sirieix) has done a good job as this is the only one I've heard of repeatedly. This is definitely the biggest in the industry as far as I'm aware, and the turn out today has been really good. I'm just a bit worried about the race though as I'm racing soon and I need to be at the front, I can't be tripping over people from the back."

Confident then?

"100%!"

Spreading The Word: @WaitersDay_UK

There is also a huge social media campaign around National Waiters' Day with employers, colleagues and waiters from all sectors of hospitality sharing their love for the industry using the hashtag #NationalWaitersDay. We picked out ten of our favourite tweets which really sum up what makes this @WaitersDay_UK and our industry so special.

Visit the National Waiter's Day website to find out more, alternatively you can read all the tweets from the day by following #NationalWaitersDay, and check out our Live Feed from one of the races below...