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IN PICTURES: National Waiter's Day 2017

Posted on Wednesday 17 May 2017


Waiters’ races have been run throughout the world for over a century! While the most famous is the French "Course des Garçons de Café", the earliest race on record appears to be the one held in London in 1901. Their origin is still uncertain, but what we do know is that they were aimed at improving the recognition of the waiting profession, with participants racing against each other, tray in hand and some even calling, "COMING SIR!"

About National Waiter's Day

National Waiters’ Day is the brainchild of Fred Sirieix and it was designed to celebrate all front of house staff. Whether a waiter in a fine dining restaurant like Galvin at Windows, or a mixologist, bartender or barista, this is a day for all front of house staff!

The day aims to change the perception of front of house and service roles as an unskilled job with long working hours to one that offers great skills. Front of house careers can lead to rewarding careers with great progression routes and amazing rewards on offer! The day demonstrates the values of the profession with a range of activities and events.

2017 marks the fifth anniversary of National Waiters’ Day, celebrating front of house staff and inspiring people about careers in the hospitality. The day will celebrate the excellence, dedication, hard work and discipline of the 2.9 million people working in the UK hospitality industry.

All funds raised from the day will help to support Springboard's FAB (Food & Beverage Programme). The programme has been created to inspire and educate students about careers in front of house food and beverage roles. Anne Pearce, Springboard CEO, talks more about the that further down the article.

Visit the National Waiter's Day website for more information.

Careers Fair

The day started out from 2pm with support from the event's main sponsors and other industry-leading companies coming together at the Hyde Park bandstand to showcase the many versatile careers you can have within the hospitality industry to the hundred's of students, front of house staff and management that turned up on a day that produced some ideal weather for some competitive races!

Students, Fastest Waiter & Best Dressed

The races officially started at 3:30pm with the student races, whereby the competitors had to run around 100m carrying a glass & a bottle of water on a service tray, provided courtesy of Bunzl Lockhart Catering Equipment. You can view our wide range of table service trays and other table service items.

The event then continued onto the main event of Fastest Waiter & Fastest Waitress, which consisted of 2 heats and a final. You can watch the live stream from the finish line of the races, from Lockhart's Facebook page below.

The Importance Of National Waiter's Day

Bunzl has supported The Springboard Charity for many years and it's purpose to achieve the following:

The advancement in life and education of young people under the age of 25 by the provision of advice, training and skills courses.
To relieve unemployment for public benefit in such ways as may be thought fit, including the provision of assistance to unemployed people seeking employment in hospitality, leisure and tourism.
The relief of poverty caused by disability, social or economic circumstances, by the provision of advice, training skills courses and support.

The Springboard Charity carries out many events around the UK and global challenges, have a read of this article we put together last year to showcase the fantastic work they do, and find out more about another event that we sponsor, Springboard's FutureChef - helping young adults further their career as budding chefs, as well as provide training & support to schools & food education groups.

FAB Programme

A new initiative launched this year was the FAB (food and beverage) programme. You can read what Anne Pearce, Springboard CEO had to say about it below, and learn more online here:

"...promoting the professionalism of food and drink service in the hospitality industry in the UK.
As Fred said earlier, the main reason we are doing National Waiter's day is to promote waiting and food & drink service as an industry of choice.
The proceeds from National Waiter's Day from around the UK have gone to invest in a schools programme that Springboard is now running in secondary schools in the UK, called the FAB programme, designed to help young people understand all of the careers in food and beverage and front of house.
So it's an amazing legacy from National Waiter's Day."

Industry Skills Shortage

As we've identified in the past with our interview with previous National Chef of the Year winner, Russell Bateman, there is a skills shortage in the catering & hospitality industry.

Fred Sirieix, the man behind National Waiter's Day and General Manager at Galvin At Windows, was speaking after the races at the event and also identified with the shortage we are seeing in the Hospitality industry as well as why the work #NWD2017 is so important.

You can watch Fred Sirieix talking at the event on Lockhart's youtube channel below:

"We are so short-staffed all the time, and you all know, like I do, how difficult it is to recruit people, but not just to recruit people, but to recruit people who know the job.
We are really a forgotten profession, its not that people dont want to do it anymore, its that people dont realise how many opportunities there are and how far they can go, and how good a career prospect it is.
And if they knew, then certainly they would join the industry. I'm sure you'd all agree with me, that we suffered from a lot of long hours and low pay, but things are evolving and it has never been as good as it is now.
At the end of the day, it's never perfect, and so we have to make it better and it's our job to market and promote this profession and tell everyone its fantastic.
Also, when people come and join our organisation, it's our job to make sure they are welcome. We have a great opportunity... it's 2017 & the industry is growing at a rate we couldn't have predicted 20-30 years ago, but we always need local talent and to make a big noise in the industry.
If you are good at your job, if you are determined and you want to make a career out of it, the cream always comes to the top."

And The Winner Is

The event wrapped up at around 4:30pm with the announcement of the day's races winners. Including Fastest Waiter, Fastest Waitress, Fastest Student / Job Seeker & the all-important Best Dressed Team. Congratulations to all the participants on the day and see you all next year!

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